Welcome to ipSpace.net Online Course
From Building Network Automation Solutions
At a Glance
- High-intensity interactive online course;
- Jump-start your network automation career;
- Hands-on experience working on a solution to your own problem;
- 6 week course spread across ~2 months;
- Live discussion and guest speaker sessions;
- Design and coding assignments and group work;
- Final course completion certificate.
This page will help you get started and (hopefully) get the most out of the course. It's a work-in-progress, and would definitely benefit from your feedback, so please send me as many remarks, comments or questions as you like – either via email (preferably to firstname.lastname@example.org) or via our Slack group (see [Main page] for details).
The online course has three major components that I'm responsible for:
- Material you have to study on your own (it doesn't make sense to waste everyone's time to go through the existing slide decks again);
- Live sessions, including presentations from guest speakers, code examples, recommendations, and answers to your questions;
- Hands-on assignments.
I can only hope you'll add the fourth component: discussions with other like-minded attendees (the really interesting stuff that happens during the breaks). You entered a community with dozens of like-minded engineers – chat with them, exchange ideas, ask them how things worked out for them, and find solutions to common problems.
First Things First
We’re using a Slack discussion group to chat about the course. I’m also using the Slack team for news and announcements. You’ll get an invitation to join the team immediately after the registration (or when the Slack team opens to your group if you're an early bird).
The first hour or two of any classroom course are spent on introductions along the lines of “please tell everyone who you are what you’re most interested in.” This is an online course, so we’ll do it the online way. Please create your user page in this wiki. Tell your colleagues who you are, what you want to get out of the course, and what challenges you want to be able to solve after completing the course.
The moment you register for the course you get access to self-study materials that will give you the fundamentals and the technology background you need to benefit from the live sessions. You'll notice that there's way more material than we could possibly consume in a week-long course (another reason why I decided to use self-study approach), so please start studying as soon as possible.
Some of the self-study material is mandatory; you might have a hard time following the live sessions if you don't understand those topics. Other material is for students who want to know more or get alternative views (particularly the podcast episodes).
While studying the materials you might stumble upon something where you'd say »I don't get it« or »it doesn't make sense« or »this can't be right«. Write it down and we'll discuss it in one of the live sessions, or if you need an immediate answer start the discussion in our Slack group.
All ipSpace.net content you need for the course is available on my.ipspace.net. If you're an active subscriber you might have a bit of a hard time finding it (because it doesn't show on the first page of my.ipspace.net); in that case use these links:
We’ll have a live session focusing on a different topic (almost) every week. The dates of the sessions are listed on the Live sessions page. All sessions start at the same time as live webinar sessions (unless noted otherwise): 10AM US East Coast, 7AM US West Coast, 4PM Central Europe (this might be 14:00 or 15:00 GMT depending on whether the daylight saving craziness is in effect or not).
Most live sessions will start with a presentation from a guest speaker which is supposed to take approximately one hour (but I know some of them will be longer, particularly if you ask as many questions as I expect you will), following by design discussions, code examples, recommendations, and answers to questions you got while studying the self-study materials. Expect the sessions to last 2-3 hours.
While I can probably answer most of the questions ad-lib, do send me the major topics you want to discuss in advance. As always, email and Slack comments work, but I’d really appreciate if you would try to add them to the list of discussion questions yourself to practice you MediaWiki skills.
I’ll try to keep the live discussions a bit structured, and cover the questions related to topic of the week first, but we can take as long as needed to cover all other questions you might have afterwards.
We’ll use the same infrastructure for the live sessions as for the webinars – GoToWebinar classroom (note: supposedly it still doesn’t work well on Linux) with a major addition: you’ll be able to either write down your questions or ask them in person. If you decide to use the second option, please invest in a decent headset – microphones built into most laptop computers are awful, and the echo you get every now and then is not exactly amusing. You'll get a GoToWebinar invitation a few days before each live session and reminders from my system two days and four hours before sessions start.
As with live webinars, we’ll record all live sessions and publish them within 24 hours.
I created a half-dozen hands-on assignments for you to work on. You can start working on your lab ASAP, and will get enough knowledge to solve other assignments as you progress through the course.
Last but definitely not least, remember that you’re now a lifetime member of a community of like-minded engineers. You can stay in the Slack team for as long as you wish, and you’ll get access to recordings of live sessions from future courses as soon as they’re published.
Being in a reasonably-sized community of people facing similar challenges all around the globe can be an immense asset (trust me: it’s amazing how much I got from the Tech Field Day Delegates community). Whenever you have a tough question ask your peers for advice – I’m positive at least a few of them will eventually chime in and help you out.
However, like with any community, you have to make it work for you. Be active, and help others out. Also, make sure your user profile is up to date – everyone likes to know who he’s chatting with.
I also want to use this course to nudge you toward open-source tools. That’s why we’re using MediaWiki as the web site platform, Git as code repository, and Ansible as our primary automation tool. Like any other technology these tools have a learning curve. However, all of them are one of the most commonly used tool in their category, so you might want to invest some time to figure out how to work with them.