E80 - Jason Belk at Cisco11 July, 2023
For our 80th episode of The Route to Networking podcast, Harry Green our Head of Enterprise USA was joined by Jason Belk, the Senior Technical Advocate at Cisco. Jason started his Cisco journey back in 2010 as an intern. Following that, he jumped into a couple of roles in between but returned to Cisco between 2011-2018, then again in 2019 where he has been ever since.
Jason heard about Cisco from a friend who had an internship there when he was studying at university. He was a Computer Science graduate figuring out what he wanted to do, and he thought he wanted to be in video game design. He soon realised that the industry wasn’t a good fit for him due to a lot of intense pressure and for him, he’s always preferred a healthy work-life balance.
He took on an internship at Cisco through his friend referring him and joined the Customer Strategies and Success team. It was a great place for him to start because it gave him a snapshot of what Cisco’s portfolio and products looked like. It also gave him a lot of insight into corporate life, as university never prepared him for what the working world looked like. He got started in Automation and helped the team move to a database to help visualise cleaning up data from spreadsheets. He then moved to the operations team and eventually left Cisco to work at Network to Code. His role there was a mixture of consulting, and the larger part of his role was delivering and creating automation course content. He returned to Cisco not long after because of his love for the company culture and the healthy work-life balance they provide their staff.
His current role as the Technical Advocate at Cisco is split between external-facing and internal facing. On the external side, he helps build content which is freely accessible and helps generate excitement and technical understanding and confidence in the products they sell such as certifications, learning courses etc.
On the internal side, he works with full-time staff who are experts in building course content and helps onside them and lets them know what’s going on in the broader industry such as the customer conversations they’re having and what’s spoken about during conferences.
When it comes to the evolution of tech and the fast rate it’s expanding and improving, Jason thinks there will be a huge rise in cloud adoption. The more you have an understanding of the different clouds available, the better, it’s where things are heading too. He also sees a big uptake in interest in Terraform. It’s a powerful tool for managing your cloud resources. So, the two things go hand in hand and ultimately many businesses will end up using them.
Jason has not long returned from Cisco Live, which was the first one since before lockdown. For anyone who is considering going to Cisco Live or a Networking conference in general, then go! Being around the brightest minds in the industry and having the chance to ask them questions will benefit you hugely. It helps provide those touch points to accelerate your career.
Jason gives his golden nugget of advice to anyone who wants to get into a Technical Advocate role, if this is something you’re interested in… Listen now!