It was four years ago today when I published my first blog article here on packetlife.net. Now, 433 posts later, I have to say it's been a remarkable experience thus far. Throughout that time, I've changed jobs twice, moved twice, and gotten married (once). When the site debuted, the global IPv4 routing table was only around 260K routes; it broke 400K earlier this year. Where has the time gone?
This blog started out as little more than a journal for my CCNP studies while I was bored out of my mind working as a DoD contractor in Iraq. Given the ample free time I had after returning stateside, the site grew into something much larger than I had originally intended. It saw the addition of a packet captures library, a discussion forum, a wiki, and of course the ever-popular community training lab, thanks to its many sponsors and donors. Today, Packet Life has over 12,000 registered members and sees around 80,000 unique visitors per month.
I've met some truly awesome people through the site, and have had people in "real life" recognize my name (or bald head) from the blog. I've even gotten to meet blogging greats like Ivan Pepelnjak and Greg Ferro in person. Most recently, I was humbled to be plugged by Jeremy Cioara in one of his CBT Nuggets videos. But the most sincere sense of accomplishment I get is from the comments and emails from readers thanking me for helping them understand some concept or shaving a few hours off their day with a particular blog article. Those have been keeping me going these last four years.
Of course, some of you will be quick to remind me that I slacked off for a bit at the end of 2011, and the frequency of posts isn't as great as it used to be. That's the price of a very engaging full-time career, I suppose. A real networking job does provide much more access to interesting topics, though; over the next few months you can expect to see a number of articles covering Cisco's Nexus switches and datacenter design practices, which correspond with some professional projects.
Where do I go from here? Several people have suggested writing a book; an interweaving of topics from the blog in a more structured form. I have always wanted to write a sort of networkers' handbook, something which encompasses all those aspects of networking newbies don't get exposure to studying for the CCNA exam. But it seems presumptuous of me to attempt a work of any real authority given my relatively limited experience at 26 years old.
I've also toyed with the notion of founding a non-profit corporation focused on aiding networkers at various stages of their careers, particularly those new to the field and in emerging economies. Of course, such an undertaking would require far more time and effort than a weekly blog posting, which I already barely manage. For the foreseeable future, I suppose I'll just keep on blogging.
Thanks for reading!