A new job role which has recently started to appear in job searches is a Network Automation Engineer.
The big question I get asked all the time is
“What does a Network Automation Engineer do?”
Network automation engineers are just performing the same tasks that network engineers do every day but using tools like Ansible, Salt, Chef and programming in Python. Network changes and deployments are not being done on the command line but via the network automation tools
Most network engineers today are still configuring networks the same way they have done for the last 20 years. Using console cables and CLI, configuring one device at a time with configuration files saved on laptops with random naming conventions depending on what mood they are in.
Things are changing, network configurations are no longer being saved with random names they are being version controlled in Git.
Network changes are being approved with pull requests and implemented via CI/CD pipelines with automated testing in virtual environments before being pushed to production.
There is a new breed of network engineer, the Network Automation Engineer!
Network automation engineer job description
Experience of automation/orchestration using any of the following: Chef, Ansible, Python, YAML. The role will be allow some working from home, between 2 – 3 days onsite each week – API/REST – Automation, Network Automation, Wireless, LAN/WAN – WiFi – Scripting, Coding & Automation of Networks
Network & Automation Engineer – Ansible, Python, API, LAN/WAN Network Engineer with automation/orchestration experience, using tools such as Chef, Ansible, Python, YAML. This role will involve implementing a new office LAN, rolling out Catalyst 3650/4500, Nexus & Juniper Switches and automating. Experience deploying automated Cisco & Juniper switch configurations.
If any of the above appeals to you and you understand that Chef is not a cook and Python is not a snake, then you could be a network automation engineer.
If it means nothing to you, read on and it will all be explained.
Network Automation Tools
The current tool of choice for network automation is Ansible and for good reason, firstly it’s free. Secondly it’s written in Python it is enabling network engineers to start automating networks with very little knowledge of Python.
All that’s needed is some basic Linux knowledge (Ansible can only be installed on Linux) an understanding of YAML and a task that you would like to automate.
Most people start with something simple like configuration backups or vlan creation or just some very simple changes like updating the NTP servers across all the switches in your environment.
So if all this sounds like something you would like to get on board with then get yourself a Linux machine, install Ansible and start automating your network.
Check out my Network Automation Course