Justin Ryburn- Episode 145

Justin  Ryburn

By Justin Ryburn

On this episode of The Route to Networking Podcast, our host Christian Alvarez chats with Justin Ryburn, Field CTO at Kentik about his impressive 25-year career in the networking industry. Justin discusses his journey in the space from Network Engineer to Field CTO and fulfilling a lifetime goal of becoming an author. 

Business and Technology

Justin’s introduction to networking began with a Computer Science Undergraduate Degree at Truman State University. Discovering he was drawn to the intersection between business and technology he decided to switch his major to Management Information Systems. He continued his education, first getting his Master’s in Information Technology Management and then his MBA from Webster University. 

Journey into Pre-sales  

Justin’s career took a turn when he was working at XO Communications. Initially a Router Support Engineer, Justin was impressed by the expertise of the Juniper pre-sales team. Their understanding of complex networks and customer challenges sparked Justin’s interest in moving to the other side of the table. One year later Justin found himself there working for Juniper, where he stayed for over 10 years. 

What is a Field CTO?

“An ambassador for the brand is a good way to summarise it”.

In his current role at Kentik as a Field CTO, he is often asked questions about what his role entails. Commonly previously referred to as the Chief Evangelist, he explains that Field CTOs are becoming more common, especially for SaaS companies.  

His role is more externally focused than a traditional CTO. He collaborates with the sales teams, provides support to the biggest customer accounts, and works with the alliance partnerships team to guide and define what those partnerships should look like. He often goes to industry events, and conferences, takes part in podcasts and promotes the company in public speaking engagements. 

Day one: Deploying BGP Flowspec

Justin’s goal of becoming a published author came to fruition during his time at Juniper where he created the guide Day One: Deploying BGP Flowspec. He created the resource after carrying out a huge amount of research for a customer who was debating rolling out BGP Flowspec into his company. Knowing that he would almost definitely forget the information before long, his main motivation for documenting the research was so he could refer back to it in the future. Justin shares how he still gets people coming up to him saying thank you for creating the resource, over 10 years later. 

Justin’s advice

Throughout the episode, Justin shares a wealth of advice for the listeners. He points out that a highly underrated trait is a positive attitude. The job comes with plenty of challenges, plugs, switches, and tools that go wrong all the time, that’s part of the job. Being solution-focused and bringing a helpful attitude goes a long way. Justin points out that having the ability to handle difficult situations, puts you at an advantage over other employees even if they have more advanced technical skills. 


Listen to the full episode, out on Spotify, Apple and Google podcasts now!