Ever consider what skills and traits make a DDI Expert? What skills and traits make them more than just adequate, good, or great in their field? To begin with, A DDI expert will require a base level of experience and understanding of the following skills:
- DNS Software (BIND, Unbound, NSD, Microsoft DNS)
- DHCP Software (ISC, Microsoft DHCP)
- IP Address Management (IPv4 & IPv6)
- DDI product experience with a top-tier vendor product (Infoblox, Bluecat, BT Diamond IP, Alcatel-Lucent)
- Network Engineering background (Routing & Switching Protocols)
Obviously, the more experience, knowledge, understanding, and mastery of the above skills, the more of an expert he/she will be. If you master all of the above skills, will it make you a DDI Expert? Unfortunately, no, it won't! These are just the hard skills needed. You must compliment those hard-skills with soft-skills as well.
So, what are these soft skills? And, why would I need them to be a DDI Expert? Soft skills are JUST as important as hard skills. A DDI Expert will not succeed without them. Soft skills are those skills that make up communication, empathy, critical thinking, and other people and social skills. Here's a list of suggested soft skills for the DDI Expert:
- Communication skills - a DDI Expert must have the ability to communicate effectively with folks at different levels. You should be able to communicate with immediate peers all the way up to the 'glass house'
- Sales skills - This is somewhat of an odd skill to suggest isn't it? Not really! A DDI Expert must be able to sell ideas and/or concepts to peers and/or management. How will you get the corporation to release funding for that next project if you can't "sell it"?!
- Leadership skills - This borderlines a skill and/or a trait. Nevertheless, it's invaluable for a DDI Expert to be a good leader when he/she is part of a team of other DDI Engineers.
- Critical thinking - The National Council for Excellence in Critical Thinking defines critical thinking as the "intellectually disciplined process of actively and skillfully conceptualizing, applying, analyzing, synthesizing, and/or evaluating information gathered from, or generated by, observation, experience, reflection, reasoning, or communication, as a guide to belief and action." I could not have said it better myself!
There are some additional traits that should also receive "Honorable mention" as what makes the DDI Expert the expert! The DDI Expert should have these traits:
- Detail oriented - The DDI Expert misses very little. He/She is very detail oriented, presses hard, and continues to dig deeper as if peeling away the layers to an onion.
- Self-starting - The DDI Expert doesn't need instruction on how to get started. They just know where and how to begin. They don't need motivation, because they are self-motivated.
- Team Player - The DDI Expert knows a lot, but not everything. The DDI Expert knows that being a team player is vital to his own growth, as well as, the DDI Engineering team he/she is a part of. Basically it is a believe in the collective, not the one.
So, we've talked about hard skills, soft skills, and some traits. Do we think we have our DDI Expert? No, not quite. I think we are definitely closing in, but what else does it take to be the best of the best? Here are some extended skill sets that I think can differentiate a DDI consultant/engineer from the rest:
- In-depth understanding of Microsoft Active Directory
- Load-Balancing and Global Traffic Management technologies
- Voice over IP or VOIP skills
- Wireless technology
- In-depth understanding and experience with routing protocols (OSPF & BGP)
- new technology (DNSSEC, IPv6, DNS Firewall products)
- Cloud Computing
- OS Provisioning
- Fluent in one or more scripting languages (Perl, Ruby, Python, Java, Node.js)
- Database technology (Sybase, Oracle, MySQL, PostgreSQL)
- No-SQL database technology (MongoDB, CouchDB)
You don't need to have this full list of extended skills, but if you have some or even most of them coupled with essential soft skills, you will surely possess the skills of a DDI Expert. There are not many that possess the full gamut. DDI Experts have a rare and highly sought after skill set for obvious reasons. So, if your company has one of these - make sure you do everything possible to keep them on your staff.
Are you looking for a DDI Expert?