E120 - Kashif Islam at RedHat

James Dean
Kashif Islam

By James Dean & Kashif Islam

On today’s episode of The Route to Networking, our host James Dean was joined by Kashif Islam, Principal Architect at Red Hat. During the episode, Kashif tells us what inspired him to get into the Networking industry and his journey to get to where he is today. They also discuss the process behind the book he wrote and what inspired him to write a book in the first place.

Kashif Islam’s journey into the networking industry began in 1997 when he was an undergraduate student. He stumbled upon an opportunity at his university where they were offering extra credits for those who took the Microsoft Certified Systems Engineer certification, which was six exams, including an introduction to networking. It was during the study of this particular exam that Kashif realised his interest in networking and how computers work, which led him to pursue it as a career.

After completing his undergraduate degree, Kashif started looking for a graduate program focusing on networking only. At a college fair, he came across a university in Canada that offered a Master’s in Internet and Program Working. The program was sponsored by Cisco which further piqued his interest. Without wasting any time, he applied for the graduate program and was accepted. Upon completing his master’s program, Kashif was hired by Cisco in 2000 and worked with the company for over two decades, in various capacities. In 2021, Kashif joined Red Hat as a Principal Architect.

Kashif has seen numerous advancements and changes in the industry. However, he believes that one of the most significant changes occurred with the launch of the iPhone. While there were other smartphones available before the iPhone, they were primarily focused on business use, and there was no personal element to them. The iPhone revolutionised the way people interacted with technology and brought a personal touch to the mobile phone industry.

Average day…

Kashif’s average day as a Principal Architect at Red Hat starts the day before when he checks his calendar for any important meetings he has scheduled for the next day. This helps him prepare for the meetings and ensures that he is ready to discuss any important topics that may come up. Between meetings, Kashif works on various deliverables, which may include architecture designs, proposals, or follow-ups with clients.

A Network Architect’s Guide to 5G…

When Kashif Islam was leaving Cisco, he knew that he was about to embark on a new and exciting experience. He and a few of his colleagues wanted to document their experiences of what was coming next in the networking industry. This led to the idea of writing a book, which would share their knowledge and insights with others. Writing the book was a challenging process, requiring long days, nights, and weekends. But he had the support of his wife to get him through it.


Kashif’s advice to those starting out in the networking industry is to first excel in school and education. He also emphasises that you should pursue networking because you are passionate about it, not because others are doing it.

Tune in on the 11/05/2023 to hear the full episode!