Disclaimer: This is a fan post, based mostly on the appreciation that I have for the DevNet team and my experience during Cisco Live Las Vegas 2016.
TL;DR: If you go to Cisco Live, stop by DevNet Zone. You won’t regret it.
The first time I went to DevNet Zone was during Cisco Live San Francisco 2014. This, by the way, was the first DevNet Zone ever.
If you haven’t heard of it, DevNet Zone is an area within Cisco Live dedicated to Cisco’s APIs and programming interfaces.
Here is the part where I recommend that you attend these events and visit DevNet Zone; however, for my own peace of mind I have to say this: It is addictive. You have been warned. If you take the decision to go to Cisco Live and ditch other sessions to spend your whole time at DevNet, do not blame me. :) With that out of the way: you should be there as much as you can.
This year, in Susie Wee’s session, DevNet Innovation Talk, she discussed their goals and how her team and she got to them: Learn, Code, Connect and Inspire.
DevNet’s page has great learning resources, labs that guide you through programming exercises and Cisco technologies. It is the best place to start your journey with Cisco APIs.
In DevNet Zone you have computers where you can do those same labs and experts right by your side to help you if you get stuck or have any questions. This year they even improved the whole experience with workshops where you could actually get an expert to guide you through an example and answer your questions.
I was able to attend several of these workshops:
- Finesse with Denise Kwan
- CMX with Matthew Denapoli
- UCCE Task Routing with Sajith Kaimal
They were super helpful and the crowd response was astonishing. Most of these sessions were packed and the speakers were eager to help.
One of the hardest things when you are trying to develop something that integrates with devices of a company as big as Cisco is where to find the documentation. DevNet’s page is a huge help in that effort. Having a site where you can find pretty much everything you need regarding APIs and programming interfaces is a time saver. Not everything is there, but it keeps improving continuously.
However if you are beginning in the learning curve and need more help, at DevNet Zone you can attend several sessions with experts like the amazing Amanda Whaley or gurus like Mike Maas. Their sessions are superb if you need help with your coding skills. No man, woman or child gets left behind.
One of the things I appreciate the most about events like this one is the opportunity to meet the experts, and there are so many of them at DevNet. If you are programming with Cisco technology, attending DevNet is a must.
You can get experts in pretty much everything, just to mention some of them:
- APIC-EM: Adam Radford
- Tropo/Spark: Phil Bellanti, Adam Kalsey, Justin Dupree, Mike Cervantes and even Jose de Castro and Jason Goecke.
- VIRL: Brian Daugherty
- Mantl/Shipped: Ken Owens
And they are just the ones I managed to talk to. They were always willing to give advice and learn about my company’s projects and how they can help.
Also, in these events, it is complicated to get around and with so much stuff going on. Having a group people willing to guide you is marvelous; right at the front desk you are greeted by amazing women like: Kelly Carlson, Ruth Cattell, Stella Hannah, Janel Kratky and Erin Winchester, who are ready to answer all of your questions. They, amongst others, are the ones that keep the show running, and they do it wonderfully. Hats off to them!
If you are not inspired by what I have just described, there are many stories you can listen to and people you can meet that will definitively get you moving.
The passion with which many of them, like Shubha Govil, Ashutosh Malegaonkar or Ashley Roach talk about their work is contagious. They are really working towards changing the industry and the world. Their energy is just something to admire.
Also, there are always great speakers. Most are willing to listen to you and give advice, like:
- Scott Hanselman in San Francisco’14 and San Diego’15
- Adrian Cockcroft in San Diego’15
- Damon Edwards in San Diego’15 and Las Vegas’16
- Whitney Johnson in Las Vegas’16
So the inspire part is very well covered.
With a smile
Finally, to the title of my post. Everything I just talked about is great, but what really makes a humongous impact is that everybody helps, greets, teaches, etc with a smile. It is simply amazing. They have to work long hours and talk to lots of people but they are always ready to do it with a smile.
I can’t write a DevNet related post without talking about Susie Wee: she is the embodiment of with a smile. It is the way she will always greet you. Her accomplishments are astonishing; nonetheless, she is very humble, will always ask for feedback, hear your comments and help you as much as she can. She has influenced my career a lot and I am sure that I am not the only one who can say that. When you talk to her team, it is normal to hear how they love working with Susie.
It is hard to mention everybody or explaining the good vibes that you get by being at DevNet. However, although it is going to become an addiction to you as well, please visit it. You are not going to regret it and I can assure you that when you are leaving, you are going to do it with a smile on your face.
Feel free to reach me on twitter (@josebogarin) if you have any comments or want to talk more about this