Almost twenty years ago, I began my career in networking. HP hubs and routers, no VLANs, one router PHY port per subnet. From there I installed an ATM backbone using LANE in the venerable Catalyst 5500 platform, then moved on to GigE in 3750 stacks and finally to 10G Nexuses (Nexa, Nexi?). I’ve seen WiFi evolve from B to G to N to AC, from autonomous to lightweight. Content switching, load balancing, content filtering – I’ve touched on all of those.
In a couple of weeks I’m leaving that all behind. I won a scholarship to study for my PhD in Astronomy full-time, and after a lot of thinking and worrying I decided that it was an opportunity that will never come again – I did not want to look back in ten years and regret not going for it. Of course one of the reason I did worry is that, lets face it, there are very few positions for professional astronomers – even fewer for newly-minted 44 year-old PhDs. Which would mean that my next option would be to return to what I’ve been doing for twenty years – networking – but with three years out of the loop. Will networking fundamentally change in three years? Will SDN make me obsolete when I want to re-enter the field? Will I ever complete that CCIE?
At the end of the day, I had to let go of those worries. That bridge will need to be crossed in three years. In the meantime I’m going to go do something that I am passionate about, and get paid for it (although only at a severely reduced income – scholarships don’t pay even as well as a junior network administrator). I think I’ll keep my network skills up by re-certifying over the next couple of years, but for now it is farewell to networking. Thanks to everyone I’ve met online and in person since I started blogging here, especially Ethan and Greg for their support and encouragement. I’ll keep following and occasionally contributing, but for now, I bid professional packet wrangling goodbye.
PS: For those who may be interested, my study will be looking at the magnetic fields of stars with planetary systems.