E123 - Russ White at Akamai Technologies13 July, 2023
On today’s episode of The Route to Networking podcast, our host Harry Baily was joined by special guest, Russ White, Senior Architect at Akamai Technologies, Author, Adjunct Lecturer at the University of Colorado, and Co-Host of The Hedge podcast. During the episode, they discuss Russ’ journey in the Networking space and his unexpected start in his career. Russ also shares how he started up The Hedge podcast and the inspiration that came behind it.
Contrary to what you might expect, Russ did not start his career in networking. In fact, he initially ventured into the world of electronics, specifically working on radio systems. At the age of 12, Russ found himself climbing towers, honing his skills, and gaining invaluable experience in the field. Little did he know that these early encounters with electronics would lay the foundation for his future endeavours.
After his experiences with radio systems, Russ took a turn by joining the U.S. Air Force. Continuing his passion for electronics, he contributed his expertise to the Air Force, leveraging his skills and knowledge to support various projects. During this time, Russ discovered the captivating world of computers, which would soon become an integral part of his life and career trajectory.
Russ’s stepfather, a network professional, played a pivotal role in shaping his path. He generously shared his knowledge with Russ, giving him insights and sparking a fascination with computer networks. Eager to learn more, Russ eventually assembled his own computer that his stepfather gave him, from scratch and got it up and running.
Recognising Russ’s exceptional aptitude for programming in the C language, the U.S. Air Force swiftly transferred him to the computer support centre, which is where, ultimately, his career in Networking took off.
One thing Russ has learnt…
Contrary to popular belief, Russ believes that, despite advancements in technology, the core principles of network design have remained constant. As technology rapidly evolves and new networking solutions emerge, it is common for individuals to believe that everything in the industry has changed. However, he asserts that while the speeds, interfaces, and configurations may transform over time, the fundamental principles of network design remain unchanged.
Russ is currently undertaking an exciting endeavour: writing a book targeted at high schoolers to introduce them to the world of networking. This book is in response to a new certification program called Cisco Certified Support Technician, designed as an entry-level certification for individuals with little to no prior knowledge of networking. Despite the daunting task of completing 550 pages within a four-month timeframe, Russ accepted the challenge, driven by his passion for sharing knowledge and empowering the next generation of network professionals.
The journey leading to the creation of The Hedge was far from conventional. Russ had reached a point in his career where he contemplated giving up on writing. Fate intervened when Ethan Banks, host of the Packet Pushers podcast, reached out to Russ, expressing his desire to have him as a guest on the show.
During his appearance on the Packet Pushers podcast, Ethan urged him to continue writing. Inspired by this interaction, Russ began contributing to Packet Pushers. He quickly became a regular guest on the show. Ethan encouraged him to embark on his own podcasting journey. Instead of hosting a channel on Packet Pushers, Russ decided to embrace this new opportunity and create his own platform.
Tune in on the 25/05/2023 to hear the full episode!