Interview with TopNetPros - Jorge Rodriguez

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Apr 20, 2010 1:41 PM
Apr 20th, 2010

Jorge Rodriguez is a network engineer in the United States. He says that the Cisco Support Community stands out from other forums because of the “knowledge and professionalism of the members.”

BACKGROUND

Q. How did you get your start in the networking industry?

A. I got into IT purely by coincidence, after studying music at the Boston Conservatory of Music. When I bought my first PC, I started a bulletin board as a hobby, and one of the bulletin board’s customers offered me a contract position. Over the years I taught myself more about networking, and worked for Biogen Idec, Fleet Bank (later acquired by Bank of America), and EDS.

Q. How did you get Cisco experience?

A. Fleet Bank, which I joined in 1999, was a Cisco shop. I became a huge fan of Cisco because of the beauty of the support, Cisco IOS Software, and products. The Bank of America IT team supports 160,000 employees, so by necessity the networking department was segmented into specialties, such as firewalls, LAN switching, and so on. I prefer working with a variety of networking technologies, so I decided to join a smaller company. Currently I’m a network engineer for Eze Castle Software, a subsidiary of Bank of New York. Our core business is providing software for trading environments. I truly enjoy my job because of the variety of technologies I get to work with, including WAN and LAN connectivity, security, wireless, and data center switching.

Q.What’s an example of one of your networking accomplishments?

A. At my current company, we migrated our OSPF (Open Shortest Path First) network to MPLS (Multiprotocol Label Switching). Most companies in this situation implement a parallel network and cut over all branches at once. But we didn’t have the manpower to send someone to each of our 10 branches. I met for a few hours with our service provider engineer, and we jointly figured out how to gradually migrate our company to MPLS over the course of a month, with no interruption to the business.

CHALLENGE

Q. How did you get started with the Cisco Support Community?

A. When I worked in large bank IT organizations, I was aware of the Cisco Support Community, but didn’t participate because I had a large group of peers who could answer my questions. When I joined my current company, I no longer had peer support, and reading networking books just wasn’t enough. I tried posting questions in the Cisco Support Community and very quickly received useful answers from knowledgeable people. That inspired to start answering other members’ questions. It became fun!

Q. How do you participate in the Cisco Support Community?

A. I visit whenever I have free time, which often adds up to a couple of hours daily. Typically, I read through the threads. I can often find answers quickly because I’ve collected over 400 reference links on my Outlook Tasks from participating in the Cisco Support Community. I visit the security forums most often.

Q. What motivates you to answer other members’ questions?

A. Solving someone’s networking issue feels great, especially because I’ve been in the same position. Also, answering questions refreshes my memory and helps me keep up with new technology, and I often learn something new in the course of researching the answer.  As an example, recently I answered a post from someone who had two IPSec VPN tunnels for his company’s two branches, and wanted the tunnels to talk to each other. Nobody answered the first day, so I simulated his IP scheme on my own firewalls and developed a solution. I posted the answer, and the member was very grateful. He rated my post a 5, which is always rewarding.

CISCO SUPPORT COMMUNITY

Q. What is your overall impression of the Cisco Support Community?

The Cisco Support Community is outstanding. It’s a fountain of knowledge. What distinguishes it from other forums I’ve visited is the knowledge and professionalism of the members. It’s rare to see such a well-designed site with such comprehensive information about the different aspects of networking.

Q. Which Cisco Support Community features do you find the most helpful?

A. I find the configuration examples the most helpful.

Q. Do you have a message for your fellow community members?

A. In networking, the process of learning never ends.  Be polite when asking a question and be polite when answering. That’s part of the culture that makes the Cisco Support Community special.

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