I recently had a fascinating conversation with Rob Whiteley of Forrester. We were chatting about how life is changing for the network professional. How more and more automation is driving the frontline network ops folks to look for new areas in which to build skills, offer innovative solutions, etc. I was surprised by the lengths at which companies are going to automate otherwise "human" tasks today to reduce cost and risk and increase efficiency.

Since then, I haven't been able to get a term (created by my friend Dave) out of my head: "job-hacking".

(courtesy of www.hardwickrecruiting.com)

I can't help but believe - simply from the real stories I've heard from the community - that rolling up sleeves and learning how iRules and iControl work is the fast track to getting closer to the application teams. Maybe scoring some points with the folks in the security group. Using these "job-hacking" tools, maybe you can write an iRule that saves a developer a few weeks of work. Or, maybe YOU can architect how the automation of the data center takes shape with an iControl app that orchestrates application or patch updates. Last time I checked, zero downtime during patches for the business units and no more 2am Saturday maintenance windows (for you?!) is a good thing.

Each day is a choice. Each day is an opportunity to move forward, to add a new tool to you toolbox, that puts you in control of your destiny. Trust me - I've spoken with countless users out there that say, "iRules are cool but... I'm swamped. I can't afford to make time to learn how to use them with everything else I have to do."

To anyone that thinks that... I would argue you can't afford to delay embracing tools and technology that will help you evolve before trends in the industry catch up with you. Your most valued job-hacking tools could be the iRules... or iControl apps... you keep pushing to the bottom of your task list.

Thoughts? Chime in with your opinions...