The Imposter Syndrome Network Podcast

John Capobianco

November 28, 2023 Chris & Zoë Season 1 Episode 70
The Imposter Syndrome Network Podcast
John Capobianco
Show Notes Transcript

In this episode, we chat with John Capobianco, a developer advocate at Cisco.

John has 20 years of IT experience, including network engineering, automation, and artificial intelligence. He’ll share his journey from being a factory worker to becoming a developer advocate and an author.

We talk about how he discovered his passion for network automation and AI, and how he went from barely knowing what AI is to becoming an expert and a teacher in just one year. He also reveals some of the secrets behind his first book, Automate Your Network, and gives us a sneak peek of his upcoming book.

We’ll also discuss some of the problems and errors he had in his career and how he fixed them and learned from them. He’ll share some tips and best practices on how to avoid common pitfalls and improve your network performance.

Join us for this amazing and inspiring conversation with John Capobianco.

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Try something, get your hands on the keyboard, and do things.
The only way truly to learn it is to do it with your own hands and have some failures, some errors, and work it out.
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Machines made this, mistakes and all...

[00:00:00] Chris: Hello and welcome to the imposter syndrome network podcast, where everyone belongs, especially all of you who think you don't. 

[00:00:17] Chris: My name is Chris Grundeman and I'm joined as per usual by the most security conscious of all the flowers. Zoe Rose. Hey. This is the John Capobianco episode, and I think we're all in for a treat.

[00:00:31] Chris: John is a 20 year IT professional who has fallen in love with automation. Those two decades of experience include providing solutions for mission critical servers and network systems, giving John a successful history of leading digital infrastructure deployments and enhancements. That experience also includes a wide range of technologies and solutions from Cisco, Microsoft, Dell, HP, Avaya, Aruba, and many other vendors.

[00:00:55] Chris: And what's that means is over the years, he's acquired quite a raft of certifications to prove it. And as if that wasn't enough, John wrote a book a couple of years back titled automate your network, introducing the modern approach to enterprise network management. 

[00:01:08] Chris: Hey, John, would you like to introduce yourself a bit further to the imposter syndrome network?

[00:01:15] John: Well, thank you so much. Um, it's funny. I have a bit of a, this is a bit of a meta moment for me where I'm having imposter syndrome about being on a show called the imposter syndrome network. So, right. That's flash of, I've seen their other guests and I know who they both are and what they mean in the industry and what they've done personally.

[00:01:32] John: And they want to talk to me now. Oh my goodness. Right. So I actually met Zoe. I hope I can tell this story, but it's Cisco live. I was walking back to my hotel room after something and I ran into a mutual friend colleague, Justin and Justin handed me a room key and said, just go up to this room. There's a little gathering.

[00:01:52] John: You're gonna have some fun. I'm just going to get some snacks. So I, I go and I look in the room keys on like 6829 or something like it's way up there. So I follow the elevator and it's at the second level of the top of this hotel, the Mandalay Bay. And I go in the room and Zoe's there and a bunch of Tom was there and a bunch of people having this wonderful little private gathering.

[00:02:17] John: And I never met most of them in person. So, um, I had a lot of fun there. That was, that was great. But, um, I, it was, it's a circle back to be on a podcast with, with Zoe now is, is very special because I sat right beside her and I listened to her stories and, uh, it was, it was, it was a lot of fun. But in addition to what you said, no, I think you've nailed it.

[00:02:37] John: I've done this for a long time. I was working as an aluminum, heavy gauge, aluminum worker, factory worker. In the early two thousands, I decided after about two years of that, that it wasn't for me, but it was a good stable job and, and, you know, union paycheck. And, but I wanted to go back to school to learn computer programming because I was very good with computers.

[00:03:00] John: I had always loved computers. They were a part of my life growing up. So I went back to be a computer programmer analyst. And through fate or the way the career worked, I ended up working more in I. T. than I. S. meaning I work with more systems and networks and clients and servers than with the software development side of things.

[00:03:23] John: So you mentioned certifications. They were, they've played an important part of my life and my career. I aimed to try to do at least one a year. And this was like an early goal, like out of college, after I got my A plus, I enjoyed studying and what I learned and reading the books and taking the exam itself and achieving it and passing it.

[00:03:46] John: Um, that whole thing appealed to me. So I kind of vowed to myself in, in like 2003, that I'm going to try to get a cert a year. And maybe more, maybe some years it will be two or more, depending on how difficult the topic is. If I pass it my first time, et cetera. So over the 20 years, right, I have actually, yeah, I have like 30 or 35 exams that I've passed, and I'm still continuing that kind of vow.

[00:04:15] John: I'm still studying to write more exams and and study and exam and pass them. So, and then now that I actually work for Cisco Learning and Certifications, It is all paid off and I get to evangelize. The benefits of certifications and exams and what it takes to achieve a success with them for a living.

[00:04:37] John: Like it's actually part of my job now. So it's, it's very rewarding to me. 

[00:04:42] Chris: That's awesome. So I don't want to make the imposter syndrome any worse. However, I do want to start just right in here. And, and, you know, over these, you know, 20 year career, you know, progressively more responsibility and, and, and bigger networks and more positions and, and now working at Cisco as a developer advocate, which I think we'll talk a little bit more about what that means, but definitely a really cool position to have in the industry, right?

[00:05:04] Chris: There's not too many of, of, you know, folks who have ever had that title. So very cool. And, you know, writing 30 to 35, you know, exams along the way, all this stuff, you know, in the mix of that, have you ever screwed up at work? 

[00:05:15] John: Oh, absolutely. I, and it's sometimes very, in very bad ways and very large, significant ways.

[00:05:24] John: I don't want to say part of why I left my previous role with the parliament was because of a mistake. That's not where I'm getting at. Don't misunderstand me. Part of the decision to leave was the pressure I was under to maintain six nines for, you know, the parliament of Canada, the house of commons, the Senate, the library, all of the security services.

[00:05:46] John: There was a security incident on Parliament Hill while I worked there. You may remember the incident, there was a shooting on the hill where people were killed in the, right? Everything after that changed. Everything security related became digitized. And now was riding on my infrastructure on top of the phones and the Wi Fi and like everything right so that pressure and then when a mistake does happen, you try to minimize the blast radius, right?

[00:06:14] John: You try to do it in a lab environment. First, you try to have other people look at your code. If it's code or configuration, if it's configuration. Right. Like we really, really took care and we're cautious and safe and move very slow relative to, but maybe, you know, some other sectors of the industry. Right.

[00:06:34] John: Stability was king. That was it. The innovation took a second seat to stability, right? It's what you're, you know, these, this automation craze is sort of where some of these mistakes happen. I guaranteed personally guaranteed the CTO that a piece of code that for the first time we were going to run it was not going to affect the core of the network.

[00:06:56] John: It was not. And it did, and I, I was on my way home when my phone started to blow up and then my phone went quiet because then the, the even communication systems were affected because the core was down. Right? So the, the instant messages switched to phone calls. It went from like instant messages and emails, what's going on, what's happening to silence on email and then silence on SMS and right.

[00:07:24] John: Like it was bad. So I, I went back console cable, reverted, immediately figured out what had happened. And it was like one of those things that like Han Solo, it's not my fault. Like it was like a real weird combination of things that someone else had made a change that wasn't documented. And my source of truth was off from intent.

[00:07:44] John: And then we reverted their change, which had actually fixed the previous problem, which we reintroduced. Something like that. Not quite a career, like a resume generating event, but you know, tense moments when the, you know, when the core is down is bad, that's very, very bad. Right. 

[00:08:06] Chris: Terrible feeling for sure.

[00:08:07] Chris: Especially when it happens on your watch like that, right. Whether, whether it's your fault directly or not. Right. If you're, you're the one, you know, with the finger on the trigger, it's a tough moment. 

[00:08:15] John: I can remember my first time. So my first time is in networking on the console of a device with putty open.

[00:08:22] John: I right clicked in, in config T mode and dumped in a bunch of stuff. And the senior engineer was like, what have you, what have you done? And I don't know. I was like, no, no. Like, did you right click or something? Cause when you right click and putty, it dumps the buffer of what you've got copy pasted. This was as a junior, like I was very young and like 2005 or something, but it was at an insurance company on and I got so lucky because it was HP blade rack that had redundant switches and I nuked one of them, but the other one was still passing traffic.

[00:08:54] John: So then we reloaded this one and it came back and he sold me out that senior network engineer. I don't know. He didn't for whatever reason, yeah. I thought he liked me. I thought we were good friends and getting along great and everything. And then we sit down with management and there was no outage. Like there was no problem, but I did make the mistake.

[00:09:12] John: And he's like, Oh yeah, we had to reboot one of the blade switches because John here, um, he like totally misconfigured it by accident. Oh, wow. Just threw you right under the bus. And I, and I just, I remember just turning and looking and like, I didn't even know what to say. I was like a 24 year old young man.

[00:09:29] John: And like, is this really how this industry works? You know what I mean? Like those kinds of thoughts in my head, right? Do people really just go, no, like he almost caused a massive problem by accident. Right. We should, you know, like, and then the manager is sort of in the position of they sort of have to reprimand me or say something about it.

[00:09:47] John: Right. I, in their position, fairly enough to them, they have to go, well, you know, you gotta be more careful, like. You could have caused a real problem in the whole deal. And I didn't get my privileges revoked or anything. But from that moment on, I know that right click and putty will paste it. Like I'll never, ever not know.

[00:10:05] John: Right. 

[00:10:06] Zoe: Yeah. Sometimes mistakes are like the best way to learn, the best lesson. They, they really are. Most memorable because I've had situations like that where somebody is like, Oh, Zoe made the mistake. And the funny thing is. And knowing the person, I don't think it was a malicious intent. I think they just, that's just how their brain works.

[00:10:27] Zoe: They're like, no, it was your fault. No, no, 

[00:10:33] John: I don't think he, I agree. I didn't get a sense out of him that he enjoyed saying that, or that he did it to, you know, any of out of any malice towards me, but, but no, I've, I don't want to make this like, you know, all of a sudden everyone thinks I'm, you know, I've made hundreds of mistakes, but, but I, but I have, so I think it comes with innovation and with particularly trying something new and trying, let's say for moving from CLI and manual operations.

[00:11:02] John: To automation, that journey is going to have a few bumps along that road, right? Like I think... now you try to minimize again the impact in the blast radius and you maybe make your mistakes in the lab as much as possible. I have seen things go wrong. I have seen a simple Ansible upgrade that wasn't regression tested and there was a miscommunication between, well, no, this all works in the lab with the new version, right?

[00:11:30] John: No, so and so did, like, we didn't, they didn't actually test our code in the lab with the latest version of Ansible, which introduced some change. Which then triggered some downhill, like the cascading failure effect, right? Now, other things are starting to have problems because of some problem in the playbook upstream.

[00:11:50] John: So, but I've, I've done fairly well in my career, not to have too many of those major mistakes. It's funny. The ones that stand out are the ones that are really emotional to you. And like over the 20 years of my career, I don't think I've made too many large mistakes like that, but the ones I have made, I've been involved with other outages that weren't really, you couldn't really blame a human, right?

[00:12:15] John: Some piece of equipment fails or something is a bit different, but then it's sort of your plans of H. A. And high availability and resiliency. And then that becomes sort of the question of. Did your plans for when this thing failed kick in and do what they were supposed to do, right? So there's, it's an interesting field that we work in that, that blast radius effect of You know, the single, the problem on an access layer.

[00:12:41] John: Okay, nobody can print or get on Wi Fi on that floor, right? There's 30 workers may be affected. But if you move that just up to the building distribution layer, and now it's 13 floors of people that don't have Wi Fi or email or whatever. It's quite a field that we work in, I would say, in, you know, networking.

[00:13:00] Zoe: Uh, well, I guess, uh, Chris is more into the automation side of networking than I am. But, uh, but I think even from my perspective with security is the goal is always to simplify. It's always to make things much more simple. Mistakes always come because it just isn't, it's not simple. And there's so much complexity and more and more and more complexity.

[00:13:22] Zoe: Even as, as you said, as we innovate, we've got historic situations that we can't change, you know, legacy configurations, legacy equipment, and kind of trying to bridge that gap between them. And then as the tech, you're sometimes in the middle where you can't express to the business that. You know, I'm doing the best I can, but this is the reality of what we sit in.

[00:13:47] Zoe: I'm doing a great job, but mistakes are going to happen. I am human. 

[00:13:53] John: Well, you brought up the business and I think that's, that was a key. You have to have a relationship with them and be a trusted advisor in a way, right? As the networking, sort of the it department, right? The business kind of wants to treat you as hot water faucets.

[00:14:10] John: Or toilets that flush like a utility that look, I just want my email or be able to get to Google or do do my job. Right? I don't care about. So it's hard sometimes to get traction with something like automation to say, well, look, it takes us this amount of time and this amount of change window. We could probably reduce it or minimize it or automate it in a way.

[00:14:34] John: But is it exciting to the business, the stakeholders involved, right? Can they, well, they get behind that effort and understand that there may be some. I don't want to say intentional, but some unintentional disruptions maybe along the way from moving from one model of operation to another model of operation, right?

[00:14:55] John: And there's a lot involved there, even just the change management process and who needs to be involved if you're moving to, you know, just to throw it out there, Ansible playbooks or python scripts or something. Well, now you almost need senior developers involved to review code and to review your pipeline and make sure you're using the tools properly.

[00:15:14] John: Because you're coming from a network engineering mindset, but that's your domain specific knowledge is, is the network engineering and you're new to say software development. So I think I had great success at this because I partnered up with a senior developer at my previous job almost immediately. I learned from their practices and their tools.

[00:15:36] John: They did code reviews with me. They even helped me understand, you know, big technologies like Docker, things like that. Um, that was a big help to me was that I sought out partnerships. I literally went to the software development division and said, you know, we run the network and we're looking to try to automate it.

[00:15:55] John: Are there best practices? Are there tools? And then immediately it was like, are you using Git? Was the first question they asked us. And we were sort of like, what's Git? Because we're network engineers. What are you talking about? Git, like G E T, no, no, G I T, Git. Like GitHub, which was still early then, right?

[00:16:15] John: So anyway, that was sort of the path to adoption was finding partners that I could learn from. I knew the network inside and out, I'm telling you, inside and out, but to then automate the whole thing properly, You know, early days, early, like Python, you know, an Ansible playbook called John's working version underscore version three underscore new final final final.

[00:16:41] John: Yeah, and then they were like, no, no, no, you have to... right? Git is the way and then, then, you know, took six weeks, eight weeks of learning git to become proficient with that, right? 

[00:16:51] Zoe: I think that kind of brings us back to Chris's statement earlier about. You know, you've got quite a unique title, Developer Advocate.

[00:16:59] Zoe: That's a, that's an interesting title and I don't think a lot of people really truly understand what that actually means. So I'd be interested in like a 60 second summary even of what does your normal day look like and. And then on the additional question is, um, how did you get there? 

[00:17:20] John: Well, I saw Cisco, I'll work backwards.

[00:17:23] John: I saw a post from Hank Preston on his Twitter about a new position in the Cisco training bootcamp team to deliver. Automation bootcamps. And in my previous life, a long time ago, when I was working in Kingston, Ontario for an insurance company, I also at the same time was a professor at the local community college, St. Lawrence college, where I also graduated from. 

[00:17:47] John: So I had three years of training or three years of, you know, being a, an instructor, a teacher, a professor. I had that experience in my resume and I thought this was a great fit. The technologies they listed that I, that you had to know, I was very proficient at Ansible and Python and PyATS, A-C-I, N-S-O, Meraki.

[00:18:07] John: Anyway, all of the technologies that we would be training, and I went through the interview process. It was two or three rounds, three or four rounds actually, of interviews. And um, it felt like they made this position for me. That's the mentality I had When I went for this job, they made this for me. I'm auditioning for my own for a position they want me to get.

[00:18:28] John: I think that because I had a relationship with Cisco with DevNet and you know, the Devy bot, I had a relationship with Cisco in a way as a customer and as a developer advocate, even before I joined Cisco, because you asked about what does it mean to be a developer advocate? I told them during my interview, I'm Cisco's biggest developer advocate that doesn't work for Cisco because I sort of was at the time.

[00:18:52] John: Because I was making videos about PyATS constantly and other network automation tools because I wanted to share it with people. Yeah, I wasn't getting paid for any of that. To get paid to do it again, you know, to get actually compensated for it now by Cisco is a dream come true because I was doing most of it anyway.

[00:19:12] John: So my number one priority in my day job is as an instructor if we have a class. So that's, that takes priority over anything else that I do. If I'm booked to do a five day instructor led training, which is 80%, you know, lecture 20 percent lab, or the following four day deep dive lab, which is the inverse it's 80 percent lab, 20 percent lecture.

[00:19:37] John: That's sort of my number one priority. And these are students and customers from all around the world, open enrollments, closed enrollments. It's funny because I mentioned during my interview, and another thing that stands out about my interview with Cisco, why do you want to work for us? And I said, I want to change the world.

[00:19:53] John: And they kind of laughed, but I was serious about that, and I'm still serious about it. That the platform and the respect that I have, generally speaking, as a developer advocate for Cisco, really helps me get the word out about PyATS and network automation, and now artificial intelligence. So, when I'm not in class, I'm developing new class material, so we're working on an enterprise networking module right now, and I'm working on the material for that.

[00:20:23] John: I'm also doing a lot of artificial intelligence evangelization within Cisco. So it's funny, six months, about six months ago, I started a Webex room internally for Cisco employees. Called network GPT and network combined with chat, GPT and AI in general. And there's over a thousand, almost 1100 people inside of it now.

[00:20:47] John: So I'm constantly meeting with. People that want me to show them my AI work and my AI development across the company. There's a lot of interest in that. So it's just such an exciting time for me. I'm doing what I love. I'm doing what I applied for and I get to go to Cisco live and Cisco impact. And I'll be at Cisco engage in New York in a few weeks.

[00:21:10] John: So it's just, it really is. I understand why when you read like, you know, top employer in the world and Cisco wins it over and over for all these different countries. There's a reason for that. They really have lived up to their end of the promise for me joining them as a developer advocate. I also try to share anything I learn that I'm, you know, that I'm allowed to share from other people, like minded people.

[00:21:37] John: So if someone at Cisco is working on some code or working on a project, and I try to use my social media to help share that and evangelize that as well. So we're sort of a liaison between the customers. And the community and the real software developers. And the real engineering team, we sort of sit in the middle to learn about, let's take ACI.

[00:22:02] John: For example, I wrote the ACI exam because I wanted to become proficient enough in ACI to actually deliver it as a course. So that's sort of on us as developer advocates is to master the technologies so that when we deliver the training, the experience is really good for the student. 

[00:22:22] Chris: That makes a lot of sense.

[00:22:23] Chris: Yeah. And so that educational mission is really interesting, I think, and definitely a great way to perform advocacy, right? To get people, folks, you know, trained up, give them new skills, that kind of thing. It sounds like in that role, you are an individual contributor, right? You're kind of focused on doing your trainings and building trainings and studying and things like that.

[00:22:39] Chris: Obviously with. You know, 20 plus years of experience in I. T. That doesn't have to be the case, right? There's definitely probably a path where you could have gone into management at some point along the road, or maybe you have and come back out of it. What do you like about being an individual contributor and why stick to that path and kind of, you know, instead of maybe moving into management or leadership, which so many of us seem to get pushed that way sometimes over years.

[00:23:03] John: Yeah, it's true. So There was a little bit of a barrier because of my, because I'm an Anglophone and because I speak English primarily in my previous role, it was a fully bilingual role and I don't hold that against them. And I did pass certain levels of my French language. To work there, but not at a proficient level to manage people.

[00:23:22] John: And I don't think it would have been fair at the time for me to manage someone who's primary language of French, and I can't communicate with them to mentor them or lead them or manage them, et cetera. So I stayed with the technology path as long as I could for those kinds of reasons, I was there for almost 10 years, I moved into where I am now as an individual contributor, because.

[00:23:43] John: I sort of have reached that point in my own personal journey where I sort of want to give back. Now I have that accumulated that experience and that the certification knowledge and general industry experience and also have. Being very early to adopt network automation. I have, I feel the skills to communicate very well.

[00:24:08] John: People are seem to be drawn to me from my, you know, my presence and the way I communicate material and the way I try to help people. So I thought that it would be a good time for me to leave. You know, it's a pretty senior role as a network architect and move into education and try to train, do more training and more videos and more more content geared towards people who were like me 20 years ago, my primary audience.

[00:24:41] John: Is people I feel people who are either just getting started in their career or maybe just thinking about moving into it as a career. That's why I really want to help the most obviously if I can help people who are already network engineers, that's great, but I want to help inspire a whole new generation.

[00:25:01] John: It seems to me and Zoe, maybe you could confirm. That I. T. Security is the hot thing. Kids want to be hackers and they want to work with with firewalls and break into things and be, I don't know, like the appeal of the network engineer seems to be a little less than, say, a cloud engineer or a security expert or analyst.

[00:25:22] John: And I'm trying to say, no, like it's still cool and fun. And to be a network engineer and we have fun toys too, like Ansible and Python and now artificial intelligence. Right. So I I'm trying to get, you know, maybe rejuvenate the industry a little bit. 

[00:25:39] Zoe: I will argue and say that a lot of people are like, I want to get in security.

[00:25:43] Zoe: Cause they're like, I want to do the sexist security, the hacking. And they forget that some of the sexy security is business continuity, contract management, the super sexy stuff is making sure this stuff works. But I would agree when I went to college, I was like, I want to be a network manager. I want to take the network management role.

[00:26:07] Zoe: And all of my colleagues in college were like, what we're going into like, um, application. We want to develop. They're like, networks are going away. They're like, it's all going to the cloud. And I'm like, okay, but at the end of the day, you still have a router. The cloud has to go somewhere. It's not actually a cloud.

[00:26:31] Zoe: So I would agree with you. Yeah. It's a, I still think it's a very sexy part of technology. 

[00:26:36] John: I think so. And some of the best security analysts or cloud analysts that I've worked with is anecdotal. I know it was sort of grounded in a networking. They had previously done networking in some capacity and moved on to security or moved on to cloud that I can understand and maybe appreciate a bit more.

[00:26:58] John: That may be thinking you can shortcut or jump to the front of the line salary wise, right? Because you're doing the hot new thing, right? So, you know, I encourage people to still get their, their CCNA certification. The DevNet Associate is a great exam as well on this new landscape of getting started. If you're wondering where to start with maybe network automation.

[00:27:23] John: No. So it's, um, things are good. 

[00:27:27] Zoe: I would say from my perspective, I've known you from Twitter. And then obviously we met at Cisco live in, um, in that sweet Las Vegas. Yeah, it was Las Vegas, but it was like this weirdly fancy suite that was massive, like the shower, I think is bigger than my flat, 

[00:27:46] John: but she's not exaggerating.

[00:27:48] John: It was. They gave me a tour. It was big enough that you needed a tour of the room to really appreciate all of it. 

[00:27:55] Zoe: Yes, honestly. But anyway, um, I'm curious of what your, you know, what's, what's the next chapter for you? I mean, obviously you had just said, you know, your goal, your aspiration is to inspire the next generation of network engineers.

[00:28:09] Zoe: I mean, that's quite a lofty goal. I 100 percent agree that that. Knowing you from social media, knowing you in person, that quite aligns. But I'm curious, you know, what's next? How are you going to continue forward with that quite exceptional goal? 

[00:28:25] John: So I, I think that's, that's a great question. I'm currently writing a second book with Danny Wade, DevNet Dan, uh, called Test Driven Automation with Cisco PyATS.

[00:28:38] John: And this is actually a Pearson Cisco Press book, an actual published book. So it's one thing I'm very proud. I'm not taking anything away from me, self publishing my first book on Amazon, but it's different to actually, actually have a publisher and Cisco Press and the cover and the shape of the book, even then the, it's, it's going to be very exciting to me.

[00:29:01] John: So that's coming out in next year, for sure. We're working on it right now. The other thing is artificial intelligence is sort of dominates. My whole life right now, I can't stop developing with it and trying new things with it. We were talking about how it's become multi modal now, meaning it takes in audio, voice, text, and now images, and soon video.

[00:29:25] John: So, I'm really trying to maybe reinvent myself. As an artificial intelligence developer, as much as I was a network automation specialist for the last X number of years, and before that, just a network architect or network engineer, I think we can all have these phases and different cycles of what interests us and what aligns with our personal goals and even what's popular or what is applicable.

[00:29:55] John: I've seen some of the wonderful thing AI can do, and it's. I think it's like penicillin. I think it's like the printing press or the atomic bomb or landing on the moon. I'm really bullish on generative AI. And I'd like to spend the next, I don't know how long, I don't think the, the shine hasn't worn off of me yet, right?

[00:30:21] John: So the next foreseeable future, I'd like to evangelize and maybe help Cisco internally integrate AI with tools and maybe develop plugins. I've had a lot of fun with AI in general. And what's funny is a year ago, about a year ago, I couldn't, I could spell AI. That, that was my extent of it. I'm not a data scientist.

[00:30:43] John: I didn't go to school for this. I don't know much about machine learning or algorithms. But when it became available in November of last year through through open AI chat GPT, and then about a month later, I got API access and started to integrate it with my network automation code. I feel like a child again.

[00:31:02] John: I feel like I'm like, like, really do. It has ignited a childlike wonder in me again. And I just think it's remarkable. 

[00:31:12] Chris: That's awesome. And it's good to get that kind of new spark kind of in the industry and in ourselves again with, you know, just new things to learn and things like that. You know, BGP is a cool protocol, but it doesn't excite that same kind of awe that, you know, the multimodal stuff you just showed us earlier before we started recording, uh, you know, does for me, so.

[00:31:29] Chris: Unfortunately, though, that is all the time we have for today. John, I mean, we've talked a lot about things you're working on here. Are there any additional kind of projects or causes or anything you want to underline for the Impostor Syndrome Network? Before we shut out. 

[00:31:41] John: No, I, I really appreciate this. You know, you having me today and I know I took up a lot of we didn't get.

[00:31:47] John: Maybe it's quite many questions because I rambled a little bit, but I just want to encourage people to start their journey, whatever that goal may be. If it's if it's networks proper, it's network automation. If it's AI, honestly, there is so many opportunities right now. Try something, write some code, you know, spin up a dev net sandbox, just just get your hands on it.

[00:32:11] John: On the keyboard and doing things It's great to watch TikTok videos and YouTube videos and be a passive consumer of this stuff. But the only way truly to learn it is to do it with your own hands and to get, you know, have some failure, have some errors and work it out. 

[00:32:28] Chris: I agree. That's great advice. Thanks, John.

[00:32:30] Chris: Thanks so much for being here and sharing your story with the Impostor Syndrome Network. Thanks also. Uh, of course, to all of our listeners, those of you tuning in for your time, your attention and your support, if you found this episode insightful or interesting, or even just entertaining, please consider paying it forward by letting others know about this show and the great guests we have on. 

[00:32:51] Chris: One last thing before we do close out, john, I am curious, you know, over these years, right, you kind of you did some teaching at the community college, you went back and went more kind of hardcore into network architecture and that kind of stuff.

[00:33:02] Chris: And now you're back in education again. I'm curious, you know, over the course of your life and your career, how did you figure out what you're good at? 

[00:33:10] John: Well, that's, I, it was easy for me to figure out what I didn't want to do with my life or what wasn't making me happy. So I don't want to say that maybe life is a process of elimination, but I think it's, it really is trying something and maybe not settling for it.

[00:33:26] John: So sometimes I get caught up in, in what I'm doing right now is the best and only way to do it. There's old footage of me saying. You'll never need to learn Python because Ansible is the only tool out there. There really is. And I try to learn and grow from those and not be so narrow minded, right? So I think finding what I'm good at really closely aligns with what I enjoy.

[00:33:50] John: I enjoy connecting networks and Figuring out routing and wiring things and racking things. There's certain things that I enjoy. I enjoy being in front of a room full of people, helping them learn a new skill, right? How I figured out I was good at that. Part of it is the feedback. They're, they actually, the things I'm most proud of are seeing former students of mine from my community college days now are senior this and senior that in their own careers.

[00:34:20] John: I see them on LinkedIn. We've stayed connected for 15 years. And to see them having very successful careers reinforced that I think I'm pretty good at, you know, imparting knowledge and helping people get excited and learn about technology. 

[00:34:35] Chris: Fantastic. Thanks again, John. And we will be back next week.