December 19, 2022 - by Jerome Tissieres
My name is Jerome Tissieres, and I have been working at CSCS as a network and security engineer since 2019. For the past few months, I have also been leading the network and services group, which is part of the data-center infrastructure working group. Before joining CSCS, I worked for more than 25 years as a network engineer for various services providers and enterprises, and then as a senior consultant providing network solutions to large enterprises.
Since 2017, I’ve been publishing the blog “AboutNetworks.net”, a technical blog where I publish articles about my job and IT network engineering in general. In December 2018, I submitted my blog to the IT Blog Awards for the first time. Hosted by Cisco, the IT Blog Awards honor blogs that are recognized for excellence in creating technology content that educates and inspires the broader tech community. Winners are validated by Cisco judges but ultimately ranked based on community votes.
During the first round of the competition, a panel of judges reviews the applications and designates the “finalists” who will participate in the second round. And to my surprise, my blog passed and ended up as a finalist! For the second round, the finalists are grouped into categories, and for about a month, Internet users can vote and award points for each blog of each category. At the end of the voting period, a ranking is made, and the blog with the most points is designated the winner of the year for its category.
Between 2018 and 2020, only the winner of each category was announced. I have not yet finished first, but my blog has always been among the finalists — three years in a row! For me, this is already a great achievement.
Then, in 2021, the format of the contest changed a bit, and the general rankings for blogs that finished in the top 10, 25 or 50 were announced. My blog finished in the top-50 group, so between 26th and 50th place.
I must say that, for me, this is a great victory for two main reasons:
First, I created this technical blog to help my colleagues and confreres facing the same technical challenges as me. I share my impressions and experiences on technologies or equipment I’ve tested or implemented, and sometimes I give some career advice in the process; with my experience, I am happy to help young engineers at the beginning of their careers. To be named among the top-50 at the IT Blog Awards shows that my articles are interesting and appreciated by my peers, so I have already achieved my first goal.
The second reason I am happy with this outcome is language — my mother tongue is French, and my English is far from perfect. Moreover, speaking technical English is one thing, but writing it on a blog read by hundreds of people is another. So the second goal in creating this blog was to push myself to get better at writing articles in English. And here again, finishing in the top-50 makes me think that my writing has steadily improved.
Although this success gives me motivation to keep going, writing technical blog posts takes a considerable amount of time. The topic must be current and interesting, but the content must be 100 percent technically correct. I must rigorously check the validity, and if possible, be able to demonstrate with examples.
Due to the precious little time available to prepare articles, I haven't written many new ones this year. And even though one of my recent articles finished second in the Cisco-Live conference blogging contest, I decided not to participate in the 2022 IT blog Awards. I hope to have more time and inspiration in the new year to get back on track. And who knows, I might be a finalist candidate again for 2023!