E34 - John Capobianco at Cisco

George Barnes
John Capobianco

By George Barnes & John Capobianco

During this episode of The Route to Networking podcast, our Co-Founder and host, George Barnes invited John Capobianco to the show. Former Senior IT Planner and Integrator for the Parliament of Canada and now the Developer Advocate at Cisco, he talks to George about his experience working his way up and some of the events and communities he’s part of.

When he was younger, John’s parents worked incredibly hard and one day his dad bought an X286 Tower for the home and shortly after John and his brother asked for a 2400 Baud Modem for Christmas. They had great success with their bulletin board system where they listed their home phone number for people to dial from their computers at home and connect into the bulletin board they called the backspace, this is where he was introduced to the internet.

“The first time I saw someone else type hello on my terminal when I was 10 or 11, it was like seeing the man land on the moon.”

Later in life, he went to Queen’s University to study History but 6 weeks into the course, he knew it was not for him. He ended up working in an aluminium factory which he discovered also wasn’t for him. Following this, he rekindled his love for computers and did a programming course at a community college. John took 3 years of programming alongside a placement in a help desk role. At the end of it, he had a diploma in programming but no real-life practice and had great work experience, but nothing related with programming.

His college’s motto was “life-long learning” and he applied that to his working life in the IT industry. He made it his personal goal to try to accomplish one exam per year as a minimum. He achieved multiple exams and certifications and have been a huge factor in his success.

He was given the opportunity to join an insurance company on their help desk and had to start from the bottom at an entry level. From there he worked his way up in the company and moved to the server team for a while. His goal was to become an Enterprise Administrator as he knew his strong points were with Microsoft. This naturally led him to sit the server exams. He bought a big box set and wrote every exam and worked hard for about 4 years. The week he got it, he was told they were reorganising the network platform. He was about to tell his seniors that he just passed his 7th Microsoft exam and was officially where he wanted to be and worked incredibly hard for. He was told he was no longer needed for that position and was sent on a boot camp to do his CCNA to properly equip him for the new role they wanted him to do and eventually realised it was the best opportunity for him.

The Art of Network Engineering podcast is something he works closely with. They have a discord channel that he recommends anyone on that spectrum join it. It is a very active, friendly, and non-toxic environment for people to join and have conversations. There are channels based on each certification so helpful for all people.

He thinks Artificial Intelligence will change the world for the better like almost every technology throughout history. He is a little concerned that it will determine that the best way to achieve world peace is if there are no humans around! Although he says there has never been a better time to be alive as a human being in history than right now!

John delves into his open-source project and what that entails and some incredible work he is doing on that. Make sure you tune in now to give it a listen!