Did you know Switzerland used to dominate the world of watchmaking? Back in 1968, they owned around 65% of the world market share and enjoyed 80% of the profits. Yet, about 12 years later their market share had fallen below 10% because they ignored a tech trend. Do you know why?
The number of watch workers in the country had gone from 65,000 to 15,000 in a little over a decade. In a nation as small as Switzerland, this was catastrophic. The watch industry had been turned upside down by a revolutionary invention: the electronic watch. Who invented it? Well, it was the Swiss themselves.
However, when the idea was presented to manufacturers, it was rejected. Swiss manufacturers were so certain that this was a bad idea that they displayed it at the World Watch Congress. A tiny Japanese company called Seiko walked by and only a decade later, rose all the way to the top of the global market.
The Swiss couldn’t foresee a change in the way things were done. This happens very often in the world of business. For example, have you noticed that what used to be an online bookstore, Amazon, dominates the cloud storage market?
Amazon realized that their application engineers, in order to do their jobs properly, needed to have very detailed conversations with their network infrastructure engineers. In order to avoid wasting time, they figured that the data center people could give the apps people a reliable infrastructure that they could build products on top of. They built it and then decided to sell it to everyone that needed web-scale applications. They proceeded to take over a massive market.
It’s not a secret that jumping on a new tech trend can result in a huge advantage. Most, if not all, of the people who have had major success in the IT industry, will tell you that doing so was one of the keys to their success. They would tell you that it could be the difference between rising all the way to a top position in a few years or being stuck in a boring job.
If you are among those who are constantly looking for an edge, you’ll be glad to know that there is a huge shift (yes, another one) starting to happen in the IT world that you can take advantage of. Those who do will probably be able to skyrocket through the industry as if it were easy. Those who don’t will likely regret it since it will affect their ability to land and/or keep senior-level positions in the future.
As usual, what’s happening is quite simple. Networks have become too complex, making companies want to hire fewer IT people. If you read that again you’ll probably think it makes no sense so let me explain. Back in the day, networks used to be very simple. Some networks would consist of a handful of devices and require only one person to manage them. If you had a certification in routing and switching you could easily become a network engineer and make a great living. Nowadays, things are a bit different. There are a lot of technologies integrated into networks and way more devices are connected. This has increased the size of teams, which means higher costs for IT departments.
Companies are starting to realize that their IT teams are too big because they are hiring people to focus on each specific area of IT. Therefore, they are now looking for professionals with cross-functional skills, also known as full-stack network engineers. These people understand networking, security, automation, and cloud and are able to communicate effectively across all of these areas. As a result, they can save companies a lot of money.
However, full-stack network engineers are very hard to find. One of the main reasons for this is that IT education prepares people to specialize in one specific area from the very beginning of their careers. Take Cisco entry-level training as an example. If you look at their CCNA certs, you’ll see there is one for each technology. However, nothing teaches the basics of the full stack of networking technologies.
Usually, full-stack network engineers are people who have built cross-functional skill sets over several years. It could be someone who was into networking but then switched to security and later on learned automation or someone in security who was intrigued by the cloud (anyways, you get the idea). These people learned one skill and one area at a time as they moved through their careers. They could have specialized in one area, but maybe the way their careers unfolded resulted in them learning many things and building some of the most coveted skill sets of today. Lucky them.
Top tech companies are already seeing the benefits of hiring people who understand the full stack. Pablo Espinosa, Director of Network Engineering at Intuit, says that assembling a team of full-stack network engineers allowed him to make better use of company resources. With top tech companies like this one already seeing the benefits of hiring full-stack network engineers, it’s only a matter of time until more companies start to do the same thing. This will certainly increase the demand for full-stack network engineers. You don’t have to be a genius to figure out that there will be a shortage.
If you are thinking about breaking into IT or are in the early years of your career, you’re in a prime position to take advantage of this tech trend. Instead of using your time to specialize in one specific area, you can make sure you get the strongest networking foundation, understand security inside and out, learn a network programming language, and know your way around the cloud.
Later in your career, you will probably need to specialize in one of these areas anyways. However, chances are that IT teams will be looking to onboard people who understand all of these areas since it helps them streamline their operations. Therefore, those who can confidently say they are full-stack network engineers will have an edge over everybody else.
The only training program that can train you on the full stack of networking technologies is called Zero to Engineer. It consists of an online course of over 100 hours that can teach you everything from networking essentials to how to carry out your own full-stack networking project from start to finish. If you think you have what it takes to be accepted into this program, click here to apply.