3.22.2008

Why I will never be a network engineer

Understand all you who are very creative network engineers in this world (but then, considering that my total audience is probably somewhere between 0 and 1, I don't suppose that's very many people), that I say this as a characterization of my relationship with networking, not with networking in and of itself. But the problem with building a network, at least as it is, is that you can't dream. Building a network has the same allure as assembling a new toy. You build, and build, and build, and your goal is to get it as correct as possible, ad then to keep it that way. I've been taking classes on it all this semester, and oh are they ever interesting! The complexities of the system give me a healthy dose of respect for the geniuses that designed it, and a certain understanding of the people who take care of it. But, the problem with it, for me, is that it reminds me of 'The Machine Stops' - it feels less like creation and more like configuration, like I'm maintaining the genius of someone else, because that someone just needs more hands. Building a particularly grokky Perl Script isn't terribly inspired, of course, and it's not as if I'm not just standing on the shoulders of Larry Wall, but the product of efforts doesn't feel quite so inevitable, it feels more as if it's a new thing that I've willed into being. Wow, that sounds awful, when I say it out loud...