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Cisco Employee
Cisco Employee

This year at Cisco Live, DevNet actually hosted an event called a Deathmatch! As a twenty-year veteran of Cisco, this was a pretty big deal for me. Engineering Deathmatch pitted the coding talents of engineers against each other to solve complex problems using Cisco APIs. Think watching a couple of people compete in a software engineering contest can’t be interesting? You might be surprised, read on.

First, there was this whole giveaway thing where the winner got a cool prize and that was fun.  For the incredibly tough work of playing a game for a couple hours, learning to code with experts providing guidance, our winner got a Robot as their prize. And it wasn’t just our coders getting prizes. Cisco people hung out watching and handed out a stack of different swag to people that happened to stop by and watch. Seriously, it was fun for everybody that came by – even the folks working it.

During filming, there was a bit of an atmosphere of camaraderie present. Not sure I can put my finger on it exactly. But, the entire DevNet zone was one of learning and exploring new things. And this event personified it. You could almost live vicariously by watching the contestants figure out the solution.

  If you want to get a better feel for this thing, here’s the Web-TV Episode right here.

To summarize the event, it works like this. Two people are recruited to try to write some code that is specified by, well, us. In this case, they had to use our APIC-EM SDN Controller software and its northbound interface in order to accomplish the assignment. The assignment was to get some information about the network and display it in a particular way. It doesn’t sound all that hard. But, getting all the parsing working right on the JSON data was a fair bit of effort. And, since they didn’t know it in advance, there was some learning involved for both of the contestants.

The Engineering Deathmatch website has the video (same as above) and also has the rules and scenario posted.

If you think you might ever want to try this, or, if you just want to know a little more about the technology and maybe even how to use the APIs, you should stop by Cisco DevNet and take a look at the APIC-EM area.

We’re thinking we’d like to do more of these. What do you think? Would you like to participate in one? Would you like to see a particular scenario for the competition? If you have thoughts or questions, please jump on our new DNA Community and post a question/suggestion!

Thanks for reading,


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