Software-Defined Networking (SDN) is a network architecture approach that separates the control plane and the data plane in traditional networking. It allows network administrators to centrally manage and control network behavior through software, making networks more agile, flexible, and programmable. The field of SDN is vast, and there are various career paths within it, including network engineer, SDN architect, network automation engineer, or SDN application developer. It's essential to explore these different roles and align your career aspirations with your interests and skill set. In this blog, we’ll offer an overview of SDN and how to get started in a career path related to it. This blog will help prepare learners for a conversation taking place during our upcoming webinar.
SDN involves decoupling the network control plane, which makes decisions about how traffic should flow, from the data plane, which handles the actual forwarding of network packets. This separation allows for centralized control and programmability of the network, making it easier to manage, automate, and optimize network operations.
Benefits of SDN
Simplified Network Management
SDN provides a centralized view and control of the network, simplifying management tasks and reducing complexity.
Programmability and Flexibility
SDN allows network administrators to programmatically control and configure network behavior, enabling more flexible and agile network operations.
Automation and Orchestration
SDN facilitates automation and orchestration of network tasks, making it easier to deploy, scale, and manage network services.
SDN can lead to cost savings by optimizing network resource utilization and enabling the use of commodity hardware.
Getting Started in an SDN Career Path
To embark on a career path related to SDN, consider the following steps:
Gain networking knowledge - Start by building a solid foundation in computer networking. Familiarize yourself with networking concepts, protocols (e.g., TCP/IP, Ethernet), routing, and switching.
Learn SDN concepts - Study SDN principles, architecture, and components. Understand the different SDN frameworks and protocols, such as OpenFlow, NETCONF, or gRPC.
Acquire programming skills - Develop programming skills in languages commonly used in SDN, such as Python, Java, or Go. Familiarize yourself with APIs and frameworks specific to SDN, such as OpenDaylight, ONOS, or Ryu.
Explore SDN tools and platforms - Experiment with SDN tools, controllers, and platforms through hands-on practice. Set up virtual network environments using tools like Mininet or SDN development kits provided by vendors.
Gain practical experience - Look for internships, projects, or entry-level positions where you can work with SDN technologies. Gain hands-on experience with SDN controllers, switches, and applications.
Pursue certifications - Consider pursuing industry-recognized certifications related to SDN, such as Cisco Certified Network Professional (CCNP) or VMware Certified Professional (VCP) in Network Virtualization.
Stay updated - Keep up with the latest developments and advancements in SDN by following industry blogs, attending conferences, participating in online forums, and joining professional networking groups.
Continuing training is key
Remember that SDN is an evolving field, and it's important to continuously update your skills and knowledge as new technologies and standards emerge. As you advance in your SDN career, look for employers who support and provide ongoing training or find a vendor with training delivery that works for you.
How ACI Learning Hubs can help
Join our webinar – August 17, 2 p.m. EST “Software-Defined Networking (SDN) Demystified. Learn how SDN is being implemented in networks today. Join Anthony Sequeira and Wes Bryan as they discuss Software-Defined Networking (SDN) principles and goals in networking today. This action-packed webinar will not just discuss the theory of SDN but will also provide in-depth looks at actual solutions from networking giants like Cisco Systems. Bring your questions and get ready to see the latest generation of networking technologies in action. This webinar is an excellent event for new students of networking as well as seasoned professionals. We will see you there!
Network Support Specialist program through Hubs
The Network Support Specialist program provides the networking training needed to pursue or advance an IT career in networking. This networking training program will prepare students to take the CCNA certification exam, CompTIA Security+, and Network+ certification exams. Learn more.
Fast facts about ACI Learning Hubs:
Our courses are always taught by a live instructor with years of industry experience. You’ll be able to ask questions, participate in group discussions, and get trained in real time. With course content that’s updated regularly, you’ll be ready to work in the industry.
Instructor Mentors are available for personal study support. They’ll create a personalized study plan to help you master even the toughest concepts.
With your enrollment, ACI Learning covers the cost of one exam attempt for each course. These exams can cost hundreds of dollars, but we know that getting the certification is the goal of each student.
Take classes in a way that works for you. Attend in person or online (depending on location and funding). Each course runs for four hours per day on a morning, afternoon, or evening schedule, so that you can make your training fit in with the rest of your life.
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The American Council on Education’s College Credit Recommendation Service (ACE CREDIT®) officially recommended 12 ACI Learning courses for college credit. That means a class at ACI Learning could count towards a traditional degree.