This spring marked 10 years since I joined the J-NET community hosted by Juniper Networks as a peer-to-peer forum for users and partners.
From the beginning, the internet for me has been a place to find others with common interests and to share that interest in a community. When I first started using Juniper gear in 2009 I went hunting for such a place and found J-NET.
The J-NET community has grown on me over the years. Starting out in the Juniper world the combination of J-NET and the certification program gave me the tools to become familiar and ultimately comfortable with the technology.
In the information technology field we make a commitment to lifelong learning or get left behind and pushed out. Many of us come to network engineering because we love to understand how to make things work and the under the hood details in all the RFCs and protocols.
But in any particular role and company we only touch a small fraction of the features, technologies and protocols that make the networking field as diverse and interesting as it is today.
J-NET continues to be an inspiration for learning for me. Seeing the questions, issues and design challenges posted to the forums helps me see beyond what I can experience in Juniper deployments in my own small piece of the networking world at DQE Communications (a regional Metro-Ethernet & Internet Service Provider). These posts provide fresh perspectives and expand my horizons for what is happening in the network engineering world.
Another benefit is in assisting with troubleshooting and deployment question threads. Nothing is more frustrating than having unexpected network issues or systems not working as expected when we deploy them. We all have been in those situations. Sometimes you just can’t see the tree for the forest and another set of eyes from J-NET gives you the quick fix. Others the details are tricky and the threads go on and on until a root cause or final configuration change is found to get packets flowing freely again.
In all cases I get two great benefits from these forum threads. First, they help me be a better engineer and understanding how Juniper technologies work and how to troubleshoot and deploy them in my own job. Second, there is another engineer that has solved a real issue on an actual network on the other end. It feels good to help. This is not learning for learning sake or to pass a certification test, but real people are helped in the process on real problems.
So here’s to the next 10 years of both continuous learning and helping my fellow engineers one thread at a time in the J-NET community. Think about joining the community of your choice & helping others while growing yourself.