For the NRE, How Much Software Engineering is Enough?

by James Kelly - - 2 minutes read - 276 words

In taking one last question for Q&A at the end of my talk on network reliability engineering, a plucky member of the audience shot up his hand. I remember he asked how he could possibly hope to achieve becoming a highly productive NRE. Because my talk had espoused applying the rigors of software engineering to NetOps, he wanted to know if becoming an NRE also meant becoming a master of programming, algorithms and software architecture.

I’d forgotten about this old question and my answer until recently exploring architectural discussions with @mierdin about NRE Labs’ Antidote backend. In building NRE Labs there are material software architecture considerations to be made about drawing the lines in the project itself and its software pieces. Now if you’re an experienced software engineer or architect, you probably know these decisions are painstaking, especially in small software projects with ambitions to scale.

If you’re a network engineer, however, maybe you have the same concern about getting into network automation and the seemingly tall order of software engineering. Will you need to deal with higher-order software design? Do you need to commit to a software engineering degree just to be a good NRE?

It may seem that because NRE implements software engineering methods, that learning software development and architecture is part and parcel. This seems daunting, but luckily it’s not necessary. To read my take on this, check out the blog I published today on Juniper’s channels.

If you have your own questions about NRE or the journey to automated NetOps, please join me or watch this Juniper webinar happening Feb 27th, 2019 and drop your comments below my blog or on Twitter.