Author: Hart Ripley


Some thoughts…

It’s hard to believe it has been 3 months on-board the fast-moving, exciting adventure that is Arctiq. I am awed daily by the sheer number of projects the team has been engaged in, especially by the creativeness and problem solving skills that have been employed across many different customers and requirements. Arctiq is truly a special group of people who are widely respected in the industry - I definitely made the right choice at the right time. The team is dynamic: any one individual can take on a customer challenge, the collaboration is next-level and someone always has an answer, or is at least willing to help!

Month by month:

Month 1: Was daunting, as everything was new - lots of training and WTF moments, but nice to be reacquainted with Linux!

Month 2: Definitely had some “aha moments”, which are refreshing, to say the least, published my first blog Meta Networks and some event planning and lab builds (a bit of everything here at Arctiq!)

Month 3: Using what I had learned and trained on to build automation, API integrations, and solution overviews. We had our first network automation event in Toronto with a great list of attendees and our ecosystem partners, F5 and Red Hat.

Network-Automation-Event

Making a career change, especially to a new field, is no small undertaking. It was clear to me that the automation and DevOps space is a reality and focus for many organizations NOW, but many others still haven’t taken the next step or some are unsure where to start. These are a few of the reasons why I saw Arctiq as an amazing opportunity with a whole new set of tools to learn, customers to build solutions for and a new team with the right vision.

Prior to Arctiq, I had spent my career as an architect; building and maintaining enterprise networks. With a background in infrastructure and operations, I’ve had the opportunity and exposure to many technologies and, of course, challenges to solve along the way. Traditionally, these areas have many manual processes, a lot of copying and pasting, and due to the nature of this approach, definitely some heart-skipping mistakes! I knew there was a better, more efficient and repeatable way to get these tasks done. Now I am seeing exactly how, and executing, by employing a DevOps approach to network automation.

Admittedly, it took me some time to really understand the value and drive for automation. It isn’t always about doing things faster - this is also a benefit and sets you apart - it’s also about performing tasks with consistency AND defining HOW you want configurations to be structured and look in their end state - this is called declarative intent. To make this a reality, the approach ensures standards are enforced within your environment, across ALL infrastructure. Gone are the days of admin errors, uncontrolled ad-hoc changes, and combing through the logs of many disconnected devices trying to track down what happened, when, and by whom. Now we fix errors by leveraging monitoring tools and specifically using event-driven automation to re-configure devices when something breaks, instead of timely troubleshooting and guessing (think self-healing).

Why Arctiq:

  • New challenges, software and tools to enhance my existing experience and foundation
  • A real opportunity to step out of my comfort zone
  • The technology and IT landscape shift is obvious and happening NOW
  • Continuously learning and adapting to change
  • Startup feel
  • New relationships, new clients, new opportunities to network and build credibility

The one question I always ask myself is: How do you get better without challenging yourself?

  • Challenges present a platform for creativity, not to mention learning new things. Becoming agile often means trying many different approaches to reach a solution. At Arctiq, we are constantly solving unique challenges for our clients and pushing the boundaries on new ways of doing things and different ways to approach solutions.

Kick motivation into gear

One of the big reasons for joining Arctiq was to learn new technologies to compliment my existing infrastructure experience. DevOps has been around for many years, however as I mentioned previously, having a background in the networking/infrastructure side is an invaluable foundation upon which to build with new technologies and experiences. Learning new software and methodologies complements my background, and allows me to do the one thing that is an absolute MUST: Add value to projects and solutions, empower the people using and maintaining them to love what they do, and advance in their own right at the same time.

Given that I’ve always avoided programming, who ever would’ve thought this would be a GREAT skillset to have!? Businesses have to innovate to stay relevant. Individuals have to challenge themselves to constantly learn and stay on top of their game. For me, it was getting out of my comfort zone and making a career shift - in this case it was joining Arctiq.

Some early realizations:

  • All these new acronyms! I’ve never heard of this, what is it? My new (but old) best friend: Google (remember by doing, the more often you do, the more it becomes inherent).
  • Automation benefits everyone
  • It isn’t just about DevOps - following the right workflows and automation processes is for everyone. It’s not just about bridging the operations and development teams to create cohesive outcomes - it’s doing the right thing and eliminating the historical error-prone and manual ways.
  • Documentation transformed - just like configuration and code, it’s stored centrally and in a collaborative platform for everyone’s access. Documentation is on-going, constantly being updated and must not become a static, out-of-date state that no one will trust or read.
  • Support tickets are no longer static, unlinked metadata. Configuration changes should all be tied back to central code repositories and be directly linked to ITSM (IT Service Management) systems.

What’s next?

This is why I stepped out of my comfort zone and joined Arctiq. It’s been eye-opening, dynamic, (extremely) rewarding AND always challenging. I’ve touched so many technologies, tools and configurations. Yet for the first time in a long time, I am for sure out of my comfort zone…and couldn’t be more convinced this is the right decision!

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