My experience in I.T. started with computer repair which extended into a domain admin in Germany for the U.S. Army for two years. The Army taught me many skills and kept me thirsty for more. I have earned an A.A.S. in Computer Information Technology, a B.S. in Computer Networking and Systems Administration, and am currently pursing an M.B.A. at Webster University.
After graduating with a B.S., I earned the Cisco CCNA R&S and VMware VCA-DCV. Next, I worked at Intel Corporation at as a Network Specialist 3 (Sr. Network Engineer) where I was part of a team that was responsible for the entire network in Oregon. This included multiple campus area networks where I had to learn an older Cisco operating system called CatOS for some of the network switches. Most of the switches were using IOS, but some of the older ones were not. Being able to adapt to different environments is easy for me due to my experience in the Army.
During my time at Intel, I was placed on the packet capture team where I had to learn Gigamon network taps. Most of the learning was sefl-taught. This skill on configuring Gigamons and analyzing packets through Wireshark would translate wonderfully into my next job at Lockheed Martin / Leidos.
Up until this point in my career, I haven't professionally been exposed to virtual network concepts. However, I have extensively trained on my own lab equipment to include virtual routers (CSR1000v).
At this point, my career is at a turning point where I got hired as a Sr. Network Engineer at Lockheed Martin (later the contract migrated to Leidos). I worked at DISA (Defense Information Systems Agency) where the entire network was virtualized amongst 20-30 different vendors. The network is called Joint Regional Security Stack (JRSS) and I worked at the point in the network considered a Carrier Supporting Carrier (CSC). Basically, acting as a middle-man between the Internet and JRSS' customers.
JRSS consists of routers from Cisco and Juniper where virtual routers are setup on real routing platforms. This is how data traffic is isolated from each other and controlled. Other devices in use are Cisco, Palo Alto, and Juniper firewalls that also virtualized on real firewall platforms. This same concept is repeated for the load balancers, F5 and A10. Then there is the security side where all traffic will traverse through, Cisco Sourcefire, TippingPoint, Bivio, etc. Additionally, all traffic can be captured with a Gigamon and analyzed with Wireshark. Finally, there are other devices in place that segment traffic and block network intrusions, but I don't want to discuss those due to security concerns.
Not only did I have to monitor the network, but present and implement solutions when devices and traffic failed. The network utilizes multiple routing protocols to include static routes, OSPF, eBGP, iBGP, etc. I learned a lot about BGP while I was there. There are BGP route reflectors configured world-wide that use iBGP to communicate and inside the network, eBGP is used with custom timers. All networks are isolated inside VRFs, which made troubleshooting BGP issues fun. On top of that there are distribute lists to consider and other traffic shaping technologies in use.
Eventually, my role grew within JRSS to include helping build out new network sites. This included making sure every single piece of equipment was configured correctly and operating without any hardware faults. I successfully interacted with multiple teams to accomplish this. Building on my growing role, I would train other engineers and stay after work to help them be successful in their troubleshooting. In order to share this knowledge beyond verbal communication, a friend and I created a Wiki page to document everything we knew. Shortly, after we started it, he moved to another team. I continued on the Wiki page and grew those webpages to massive proportions and even had to redesign the Index page to accommodate the growing hierarchy of webpages.
After I left Leidos, I started working for BJC Healthcare. My skill were immediately recognized by a peer and I was recommended to join the transition team where we upgraded an entire hospital's network infrastructure costing $9.7 million at Missouri Baptist Hospital. All of the fiber cable was replaced along with all the switches and routers. All of our upgrades happened at off-peak hours, usually at night. i had to go around the various departments and determine when would be a good time to upgrade their switch. This involved consulting with nurses, managers, directors, and anybody else that would be affected. There are over 30 networking closets and around 60 switches at the hospital.
After the network was upgraded, I was moved into a different role where I was in charge of two hospitals, Missouri Baptist and Boone Hospital Center, and all the outpatient clinics near them. Now, i keep those networks operating and coordinate any downtime needed to fix issues that arise. Recently, I had to design and build out four outpatient clinics, two of which are set to live in February 2019.
BJC Healthcare is starting to move towards utilizing Cisco Digital Network Architecture (DNA), but only the foundation is being laid right now. Next month I will be installing two 9400 series switches to accommodate the migration towards DNA. Additionally, I have tried to learn DNA on my own by watching all the videos I can and reading Cisco whitepapers. i do have a collegiate programming background and am starting to learn Python for Network Engineers, which is a key tenant to DNA. I also am starting to learn Ansible, for network automation, from a course I paid for.