This just in! Pieter-Jan Nefkens is now a Field Day delegate and will be attending his very first Field Day event next week; Security Field Day 3. Let’s get to know more about Pieter-Jan!
Pieter-Jan is a network consultant and has his own company, Nefkens Advies. He has also been a Cisco Champion since 2017. Pieter-Jan and his wife currently live in The Netherlands with their two daughters. Connect with Pieter-Jan at @PJNef on Twitter, the web, or the Tech Field Day web site.
How did you get into technology and IT?
I got into technology really early on. I was still in elementary school when my father started with computers and one was placed at home. One of his employees gave my brother and me a book called “Basic for Children”. Initially, we just typed it over and ran those small games. Somehow I started to mix the games into menus, and well, wrote my first code.
And that interest in technology has just stayed with me, buying a modem (remember those) while I was in high school running my own BBS.
What do you do now? Tell us a little about your current role.
I actually have two jobs. One role is as a consultant for a shared service organization in a national government where I support the team in the transformation, standardization, and everything that is happening in technology, like Intent-Based Networking.
Besides that role, I also have my own company and work as an independent contractor. Within my company I work as an architect, 4th level troubleshooter, write books, provide trainings, speak at Cisco Live as external speaker and well, do all sorts of interesting work.
What are your biggest challenges?
I think my biggest challenge is my intrinsic and continuous curiosity. I have an intrinsic need to learn and build new things. And having that wide interest in new things, technology-related or not, also means that there’s just enough time in a day to do.
I hope that this year I will be able to learn to tame my enthusiasm a bit to be more balanced when things come together.
Where do you see IT going in the next 3-5 years?
A trend over the past years that I have seen is that the need to release new features, new technology or functions are more important than the stability and quality of those features, resulting in customers effectively being beta-testers.
This trend will be broken in the coming years (because of a major event or disruption) and the concept of “first-time-right” is much more important in the long term business than to be the first with a new function.
I also think that in 3 to 5 years we will be in the midst of the transformation to Intent-Based Businesses (Intent-Based Networking and digitalization are just the start of it) where Businesses and IT are modeled around Intents that are provided automatically. This, of course, requires a more integral approach on different technology fields such as networking, security, workspace, cloud. And that requires multi-domain and disciplinary teams and tools to get rid of the current silos like the firm belief that security is separate from other tools and teams. Security needs operations and vice versa.
What was your first computer? What was great about it? What is your go-to computer now?
I first worked on the Apple IIc, but my first own computer was a Macintosh IIx. One of the great things about it was that it had a 68030 processor and coprocessor with enough memory and expansion slots to have two screens attached to it. I used it to create animations.
I just got a 16″ MacBook Pro, which is an amazing machine, great sound and great typing! My go-to computer would be a MacPro with a nice setup for one of the new ideas that I am working on!
How do you manage your work/life balance?
That is difficult if you start to make a living with one of your major hobbies and passions. I have ran into a wall a few times in the past by not having alternative hobbies. I try to keep the lid of laptop closed in the evenings and try to go cycling three times a week. Also, my wife and two beautiful daughters help me not only be busy with tech.
If you weren’t working in IT, what would you be doing instead?
Tough one. I think a combination of instructor and innovator in another field, still trying to solve problems with a creative twist, or completely different: have my own wildlife game reserve in Southern Africa and guide tourists around and show how beautiful and balanced nature can be.
What do you do in your spare time? Do you have any hobbies?
I have several hobbies. I do like to go cycling outside (racing cycle), photography with my DSLR, recently took up on kayaking and cooking.
What is your current obsession?
That is a difficult question. I think my latest obsession is with video and training, just want to know the details and do it right.
If you had a theme song, what would it be and why?
This is so difficult to answer, I have a wide taste of music (my music library is quite big and diverse). So I don’t really have a theme song, but one song that I really like a lot is “What makes you beautiful” by the Piano Guys. The way they built that song around a piano is amazing, it always makes me smile and get into the zone for writing or something else.
Do you have any hidden talents?
I think that unique hidden talent is still hidden for me 😉
If you could have dinner with anyone, living or dead, who would you choose and why?
Can I pick two? I would say Nelson Mandela and Steve Jobs. I have read Nelson Mandela’s book, Long Walk to Freedom, and I lived in South Africa for 6 months during the reconciliation period (1998). Steve Jobs because I saw him entering the keynote at WWDC in 2000 and I think with the three of us, we’d have an awesome dinner with enough ideas to keep the world innovate and improve for years to come!
What was the last book you read?
I read a dutch detective book as last book. I’m currently re-reading Lord of the Rings by Tolkien.
Who would you most like to swap places with for a day? It could be a celebrity, family member, animal, etc.
Most people might say some President, CEO, or Prime Minister, but I’d say I’d love to swap places with somebody who is innovating and creating new technology or concepts that we can currently only dream of. And those persons are usually not visible, so kind of difficult to give a single name. Although there are definitely some thought leader companies that have a proven track record in being innovative.
What are you most excited about seeing at Security Field Day 3?
I had a quick glance on the sponsors and I am very interested in Tempered solution and their paradigm shift. Also, very interested in the other solutions of course, to see how they can help and support in the transformation to IBN.
We are very interested in hearing more about their solutions, too! Thank you, Pieter-Jan! Looking forward to seeing you at Security Field Day 3 next week! #XFD3
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