With some downtime this weekend, I was able to watch a few documentaries on NetFlix. There were a few great ones on Mark Zuckerberg, Warren Buffet, Mark Cuban, and Steve Jobs. Many of them came from the Bloomberg Game Changers series, but for Steve Jobs, I watched the Steve Jobs: The Lost Interview that was filmed in 1995, lost for almost two decades and then was released in 2012. I highly recommend all of them, but for this post, I want to highlight something Jobs said nearly 20 years ago.

What does this have to do with Networking?

There have been numerous articles over the past few months, some by me, that either advocate that network engineers should learn how to program, that there is no need for them to learn how to program, or they should simply learn to think like programmers.

Now check out what Steve Jobs said in the following video back in 1995:

YouTube Video

…I think everybody in this country should learn how to program a computer – [they] should learn a computer language, because it teaches you how to think. It’s like going to law school. I don’t think anybody should be a lawyer, but I think going to law school would actually be useful because it teaches you how to think in a certain way – in the same way computer programming teaches you, in a slightly different way, how to think. I view computer science as a liberal art. It should be something everyone learns – takes a year in their life, one of the courses they take is learning how to program…


It’s definitely worth keeping things in perspective. Like Steve Jobs said, it is definitely worth it to spend some time, a year of your life or just a semester or two to learn how to program. That said, the knowledge gained from spending a few months to a year programming will NOT make any network engineer a software developer, but the knowledge gained would be invaluable to bring back to their day job as a network admin/engineer/architect.

What do you think?

Thanks, Jason

Twitter: @jedelman8