Show 90 – Talking Career with Todd Lammle

Trainer, author, and long-time network industry veteran Todd Lammle joins Ethan Banks and Greg Ferro for a chat about the good ol’ days, the days ahead, and how to make it in the networking business. Todd’s worked at some legendary companies like Atari and Xerox. He’s been around the industry for a long time, and worked hard to make a go of it. Today, he’s an independent trainer, consultant, and author. And did you know he’s never played a video game?

We have a great chat with Todd, who opines about the state of the book publishing business, e-learning, staying focused, and how to have a successful career. We hit the following topics along the way.

  • Todd, how did you get started in networking?
  • How did you transition into training and writing?
  • Luck vs. self-discipline – which is more important and why?
  • Is blogging a waste of time? What about social media?
  • Physical books vs. e-books & e-learning. Does it matter?
  • A lot of people think certifications are the answer to IT success. Are they?
  • Why has it gotten so much harder to keep up with technology?
  • What are the up-and-coming skills someone in networking should focus on to stay relevant?
  • When it is time to move on to a different employer?
  • What does cloud computing really mean for the networking industry?
  • How does someone manage to earn a certification when they also have a full-time job and a family?
  • What are some techniques to master the information required to pass a certification exam?


Tips On Getting Things Done For The Person Already Stretched (Ethan’s Personal Blog)

Todd Lammle on Twitter, Facebook, and YouTube.


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Ethan Banks
Ethan Banks, CCIE #20655, has been managing networks for higher ed, government, financials and high tech since 1995. Ethan co-hosts the Packet Pushers Podcast, which has seen over 3M downloads and reaches over 10K listeners. With whatever time is left, Ethan writes for fun & profit, studies for certifications, and enjoys science fiction. @ecbanks
Ethan Banks
Ethan Banks
  • Michael Schipp

    you hear the music at the end – keep listening

  • Brandon Mangold

    Wow, Todd sounds like hes been doing too much CCNA and Network+ training. He doesn’t seem in touch with current enterprise and service provider networking trends.

    • Todd Lammle

      Brandon, I do nothing but enterprise networking. 80% of my work is consulting for world-wide networks. My point on training is getting people jobs and pointing them in the direction of enterprise networking.

      • Brandon Mangold

        Todd, a bit of a retraction on my part is probably in order. I own several of your books and found them very useful in my development as a technology professional. I have a lot of respect for you and your work and  I didn’t intend for my comments to sound as negative as they came out. I was just surprised that some of your comments I didn’t totally agree with.

        Specifically your comments around cloud and IPv6. I feel as Greg indicated, that cloud computing is the inevitable evolution of data delivery. To be fair there may also be a disconnect between a network centric view and an application centric view of cloud computing. The cloud does have its downsides though: A) it requires constant connectivity and B) it requires more bandwidth.
        I am a big IPv6 fan as well, mostly for the opportunities it will present me in my career. It is true that the overall architecture is superior to IPv4 as we know it today, in that it presents the opportunity to build true end to end connectivity rather than a hacked up, NATed, proxied and heavily sub-netted, client-server modeled world we know today. The protocol itself is also better put together with header extensions, native IPSec, larger addressing, local addressing, ND mechanisms and so forth but it does have its downsides as well: A) much more discipline is needed in address assignment, the potential exists for routing get unwieldy quickly B) it is much harder for the human mind to deal with 128bit addressing C) header extensions are causing issues for some security devices and the list goes on.

        • Todd Lammle

          Thanks for writing, Brandon.
          I like IPv6 and all the fixes for IPv4 that is has. I am so frustrated wtih IPv4 and it’s limitations, not just addressing, but other simple things. However, I totally agree that although we can see all the fixes, we’re going to have a whole new bunch of issues we’ll have to deal with. You can make a career out of IPv6 alone, that’s for sure!
          Thank you,
          Todd Lammle

  • Big Evil

    Thanks for having Todd Lammle on – i was one of the people who when you asked suggested him.

    I started with Todd’s CCNA 640-801 book, this was the first book on networking i ever read. I read it twice over – got some hands on and passed the exam. Since then Todd has been a mentor and friend to me. I was fortunate enough to to meet with him last year while he was in London and thank him in person for all he has done for me. Truly a great guy.


  • Bep6vaku

    I enjoyed his commentary but way too many “you knows”

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  • Paul Senior

    Very informative podcast.  I am preparing to take my CCNA exam soon and got a lot of good study tips and career advice from it.

  • Sal

    Big fan of Lammle’s books and videos. Just felt that he came off as holier then thou here.

    • Todd Lammle

      I certainly didn’t mean to. Sometimes it harder to express things on a podcast or email as you really mean them.
      I appologize for any offense.
      Todd Lammle

  • John

    My first podcast I heard and wow, what interesting topics you guys talked about! From how to learn to the future of networking. I’m hooked! I love the openness you let take place here. 

  • jt15550

    Made a trip to the garage to pull out my old 640-407 book, read so many times the binding fell apart and pages came out.  My parents had given me a Cisco 2501 for Christmas that year.  Ahh, the good ‘ole days…

  • ktokash

    I’ve noticed a large knowledge and skill gap between what newly minted CCNAs know and what they’re expected to accomplish in junior positions.  It sounds obvious, but I’m not talking about relative inexperience or depth of knowledge about a routing protocol.  I’m talking about people being able to recite the multicast addresses used by OSPF, who don’t know what a patch panel is.  I’m considering developing a course that fills these gaps, not sure how well it’d be received.  I’m just tired of interviewing juniors who know a little bit about things I’d be insane to let them handle, like BGP, and nothing about the things I need them to do.

    Also, I disagree with Todd – his last name is pronounced Lamm-L.

    • Tom Cooper

      As a fairly newcomer to the networking world, I can attest this.
      I believe it’s just a lack of experience, since you do not learn or do anything outside of what colleges and Cisco Net Academy teach.
      Out of school, I knew my OSI basics, Cisco CLI, routing, switching and a little bit of security…But all within the scope of Cisco NetAcad.

      They don’t teach you about your Layer 1, patch paneling, 6500 management, etc, mostly because the equipment isn’t available and it’s not part of the curriculum for CCNA. I’d gladly welcome a course to help the newbies like me fill in those “gaps”. :)