9 March, 2021

Cisco’s blog has a new interesting recommendation about how to kick start your network automation skills with 5 of their learning labs.

“Right now, you are in the perfect position to gain new automation skills — for free. All you need is your laptop and an internet connection. DevNet has everything you need to get started, from free learning tracks to free access to Cisco platforms like ACI, NX-OS, and Meraki in the developer sandboxes”, says DuAn Lightfoot in the blog article.

Networking Basics

Before we even get started with network automation, we have to know the basics of networking. If you are brand new to networking this is ground zero. Whit a duration of 1 hour and 20 minutes, this module breaks down the basics of networking, topologies, and IP addressing.

Developer Workstation and Environment Setup

This 3-hour module focuses on helping you set up your computer or laptop for DevNet. You will learn why you need a developer environment, how to set one up, and about version control and shells. If you are brand new to automation but already have a grasp on networking, I would start here.

Python Fundamentals

Python is the most popular network automation language right now. This module teaches you the fundamentals of Python, APIs (Application Programming Interfaces), JSON, and git as well. These are the core skills for programming and automation. The more you practice, the better you will git! For completion of this module, you will need 2 hours and 15 minutes.

REST API Fundamentals

The previous module touches on APIs and this module dives even deeper while introducing us to Postman. You will enjoy this module because you get to parse data from an actual WebEx API and it takes only 1 hour to complete.

Introduction to Model Driven Programmability

Now it’s time to get out of our comfort zone. Explore NETCONF and RESTCONF to communicate with Cisco XE IOS devices. In 1 hour and 30 minutes, you can gain some real superpowers that you can use to manage your networks.

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