For 3 days, the DevTalks conference provides an excellent platform to keep you up-to-date with the latest industry trends, bringing technical communities together, where the most important local and international key leaders share their knowledge and contribute to the future of the tech industry. At DevTalks 2022, you will have the chance to meet Humberto J. La Roche - Principal Engineer at Cisco on Future of Engineering Stage / 8th of June.
#Can you tell us about your role?
I work on “network architecture” which is a basically a generalist role designing and structuring IP networks. Some might say that network architects have an ocean of knowledge … about a centimeter deep! That, however, is not an accurate view. As a network architect you do have a broad-based view of the networks that make applications of the modern world run – this is the “ocean of knowledge”. But you do get to drill down into the details on a broad variety of topics.
#What drove you into this field and motivated you?
At the university, I trained in physics and mathematics. Some of what I learned (statistics and probability theory, electromagnetism, and wave physics, etc.) has proven to be useful in my day-to-day work. Recently, since my focus has been on 5G architecture, I’ve been working on radio propagation and certainly my background in physics has come in handy. But that’s not the most important skill I learned at the university. I learned “how to learn” because a professional career as a network architect is about constant learning.
#How do you constantly learn?
There are two really good ways of learning something. One, is to have a colleague who knows, provide you with an explanation. Two, is to realize a project in prototype form. Both methods provide depth and experience that is otherwise impossible to acquire. But in many cases, that is not enough. I have found specialized journals to be phenomenally useful as well. And in many cases, particularly when the topic relates to the more technical and subtle aspects of the theory, essential. Google scholar and the IEEE and ACM online libraries have been very useful.
#How did your earlier career choices lead you to where you are now?
I grew up in Venezuela and attended University there. I was fortunate enough to win a scholarship to attend graduate school in the United States where I completed a Ph.D. in physics. After I finished my degree, I went back to Venezuela where I had the opportunity to design and setup the first academic and research network in South America to operate the TCP/IP protocol suite. This was in 1988. This network ran on 64 kbps links and used microwave links. In 1991, I returned to the US to join AT&T Bell Labs where I would spend 20 years working on various topics including SONET/SDH (anybody remember that? Synchronous TDM), consumer broadband access, data networking, optical networks, and even classic voice networks. The pivotal point came in 2000 when I took a job in the mobile networks group at what was then Lucent Technologies (now integrated into Nokia). That was a major exposure to mobile networks and their intricate design. I’ve worked on CDMA, GSM, LTE, and now 5G. I find the topic incredibly compelling. All of networking plays a role in mobile network evolution. You name it, and it has role.
#If you had to sum up your career in one sentence, what would you say?
Keep going and aim to have fun
#Can you tell us what is the most important topic in the IT field is right now?
Honestly, I would have to say it is the “rise of the public cloud”. That is, the notion of computing as a utility service delivered from the mass scale data center. Network such as those that we work on at Cisco will increasingly connect users and enterprises to the public cloud. Moreover, the networks themselves will often be deployed “on top” of the cloud as virtual networks. This is transformative and has been part of an evolution taking place for at least 15 years. We have not seen the stable state yet and we will see more innovations and transformations over time.
#3 keys ideas that you want to bring to the panel?
- Wireless has and will continue to change the nature of enterprise networking
- Domain expertise will be crucial in defining the advancement of wireless as the “business outcome” of investment is paramount.
- Developer will play a major role defining the new breed of specialized use case in wireless enterprise networking