E119 - Rich Martin at Itential

By James Dean & Alex Richford & Rich Martin

On today’s episode of The Route to Networking podcast, we are joined by our Director, James Dean and our special guest, Rich Martin, the Director of Technical Marketing at Itential. During this episode, they discuss Rich’s journey in the Networking space and his transition into the Technical Marketing field. Rich also shares the biggest changes he’s seen since he first started his career in Networking.

During his college years, Rich developed a keen interest in learning how to write code and worked as a consultant doing programming jobs on the side. One of the projects that piqued his interest was writing a device driver on a UNIX system, which set the stage for his future endeavours.

After college, Rich started his own ISP, where he gained his first experience with IP networking. Despite having no prior knowledge of networking, Rich was determined to learn and figure it out as he went along, driven by his passion for technology.

As Rich’s career progressed, he transitioned into a role as a Systems Engineer for a networking vendor. Some in the industry refer to this move as going to the “dark side,” but Rich found the experience to be quite fascinating. He realised that if you have a passion for networking, moving into the vendor section is a breeze.

Rich spent several years in this role, gaining valuable insights into the workings of networking vendors and the solutions they provided. Over time, he observed the rise of network automation and saw that networking vendors were beginning to support solutions and software to support automation.

Rich recognised the potential of network automation to transform the industry and saw that vendors needed to provide tools and solutions to enable their customers to automate their networks. This realisation led him to explore technical marketing, where he could use his technical expertise to help vendors develop and promote their automation solutions.

Most important skills…

Rich also emphasised the importance of effective communication skills in his role as Director of Technical Marketing. He noted that the ability to communicate complex technologies in a way that is relatable to individuals who may not be familiar with the technology is crucial. According to Rich, being able to break down complex technical concepts into easily understandable terms and providing a clear roadmap for individuals to follow is a critical skill for anyone working in technical marketing.

Biggest changes…

Rich highlighted the significant impact of cloud technology on networking and the changes it has brought about. He noted that when AWS first came out, people were intrigued about what they were doing and the possibilities that cloud technology could bring.

One of the most significant changes that Rich has seen in the networking space is the impact of the cloud on network teams’ expectations. The ability to leverage cloud technology has changed the expectations of what network teams should be able to deliver in terms of network changes, scalability, and flexibility.

Rich shared his concerns about the challenges facing networking teams, particularly when it comes to modernising their networks. He noted that when speaking to customers, their primary concern is always about how to make their jobs easier. Rich emphasised that networking teams are under pressure to modernise their networks, with many other IT domains already having undergone modernisation.

When asked about advice for someone starting out in the networking field, Rich Martin emphasised the importance of learning the foundational concepts of networking. He advised aspiring network professionals to invest time in learning the basics of networking.

Additionally, Rich stressed the importance of being a lifetime learner in the networking field. He noted that the industry is constantly evolving, with new technologies and concepts emerging regularly.

Tune in on the 18/04/2023 to listen to the full episode!