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Computer and Network Administration

Practical Network Programming in Python (PNPP)

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This 5-day course balances lecture and lab exercises to ensure students can apply key Python programming knowledge and skills required to address network automation challenges in a multi-vendor infrastructure.

Who Should Take This Course


This course is designed for network architects, network engineers and application developers that have experience designing, building and maintaining enterprise and/or service provider networks or building network automation applications.


Network engineers participating in this class should have a basic understanding of Python or other scripting/programming languages and working experience with enterprise network infrastructure equipment. Application developers participating in this class should have a basic understanding of networking equipment and their functions on the network.

Recommended pre-course reading or training for network engineers include:

Pre-course work for Application Developers include ICND1 level knowledge or equivalent:

Why You Should Take This Course

Upon completing this course, students will be able to:

  • Explain what Python is and why it is the language of choice for network automation
  • Describe how a Python script executes
  • Explain data types, application flow control, and libraries
  • Use an Integrated Development Environment (IDE) to develop, debug and run scripts
  • Use different techniques to capture and use network device output from a variety of equipment
  • Apply configuration via multiple libraries
  • Validate that executed scripts achieve the desired network functionality
  • Demonstrate a programmatic way of planning and implementing a new network service
  • Build custom libraries for frequently used functions
  • Apply learned skills to data center services including routing, switching, security and more
  • Implement techniques for managing code and applying version control
  • Apply Continuous Improvement Continuous Development (CICD) for network engineers
  • Prepares engineers for hybrid cloud deployments
Course Outline


Lesson 1: Introduction to Python
In this lesson students will review programming basics, learn the fundamentals of Python and examine its code
structure and program flows. They will also learn how libraries are used to communicate with networking
Lesson Objectives:
After completing this lesson, the student will be able to:
• Demonstrate basic programming knowledge
• Use the PyCharm IDE to create, edit, execute and debug and manage Python applications
• Describe Python code flow and execution
• List various network programming libraries and describe how to use them to communicate with various
network devices through a Python application
• Examine network device configuration from a Python perspective
Day 1
Introduction to Python and Programming Languages
Interpreted vs Compiled Languages
How a script executes
IDE – Intro to PyCharm Community Edition
Creating a project
Editing code, code completion
Running a program
breakpoints and debugging
version control – Gitlab
Data-types in Python
Numerics, Strings, Lists, Tuples, Dictionaries
Flow control
for loops
while loops
Network Programming Library Overview
sshpass, pexpect and calling command line tools from python
Yang Explained
Netconf, ncclient
Lesson 2: Exploring Network Device Data Formats:
This lesson focuses on communicating with network devices and the various formats of data produced through
interactions with those pieces of networking equipment. Through this exploration students will become
comfortable with working with network programming libraries.
Lesson Objectives:
After completing this lesson, the student will be able to:
• Issue commands and Inspect/manipulate varied network device output using Python libraries
• Describe the type of output provided by different network programming libraries
• Use the IDE to examine capabilities and limitations of various network programming libraries
• Use the IDE debugger to step through Python code to discover how to communicate with a device
Day 2
Modeling Network Configuration CLI in python
Templates in Jinja2/Yaml
Configuration Management
Auditing and State Validation
JSON vs XML vs raw CLI
‘show command’ parsing
python string operations
Genie parser
json-pretty filter
Device Capabilities:
Cisco: IOS, XE, XR, NXOS (all different approaches)
YDK, Yang Explorer
Juniper JUNOS:
unified library: pyez
Arista EOS:
unified library: pyeapi
Device Real-time Interaction and debugging
netmiko programming
Nexus NX-API
Lesson 1: Network Device Orchestration
In this lesson students will leverage their strong understanding of the network from an architectural view and how
to use a services-model approach to plan, automate and validate network functionality. Students will learn how to
think like a programmer when addressing network configuration challenges; this insight will also help improve
communications in environments where their developers and network engineers exist in separate teams.
Lesson Objectives:
After completing this lesson, the student will be able to:
• Approach network configuration from a programmer’s perspective
• Use a service-chaining approach to building applications
• Validate and audit operational state and configurations ensuring performance as expected
Day 3
Intro to device orchestration
Environment and command line variables and Python
Code re-use/abstraction
Working with a Datacenter Design
Service chain definition – enabling a new application launch in the datacenter
vlan management automation
Layer 2 validation
interface management automation
Layer 3 validation
BGP/OSPF/Routing configuration automation
Routing and Protocol validation
Security Automation
ACL Validation
CDP/LLDP Validation
Lesson 2: Configuration, Validation and Auditing:
In this lesson students will create/modify live device configurations. Topics covered include non-destructive
configuration modifications, configuration management, sequential vs. parallel execution and other best practices.
Students will apply what they learned in the previous model to validate and audit their automated network
configuration changes.
Lesson Objectives:
After completing this lesson, the student will be able to:
• Build and modify device configurations
• Validate and audit applied configurations and changes
• Plan for practical deployments and assess dependencies and scaling requirements
• Turn large configuration files into a database structure for querying
Day 4
Multi Device and Dependency Management – Sequencing
Full configuration management
Jinja2 / YAML config creation
artifact storage
configlets (Jinja)
devce state templates (Genie, TextFSM)
CMDB – Device Inventory
Data based python scripting
Lesson 3: Network Automation Ecosystems:
In this lesson students will explore the principles of Continuous Integration/Continuous Development (CICD) for the
purposes of version control and pipeline execution. Additionally, students will learn to use the RobotFramework to
drive their custom automation solutions and to call 3rd party Python libraries, import their own custom libraries,
and leverage its powerful validation, auditing and reporting functionality.
Lesson Objectives:
After completing this lesson, the student will be able to:
• Customize their automation toolset to address their specific device mix and functional needs
• Use RobotFramework to call Python libraries and audit network functionality
• Discuss how they can apply the solutions developed in this course to automation frameworks beyond
RobotFramework such as Ansible.
Day 5
Gitlab – CICD Introduction
Version Control
Pipeline execution
Why Robot – a look at the automation ecosystems available
Ansible, Puppet, Chef, Salt
Robot scripts and keywords
Calling 3rd party and custom python libraries from Robot scripts
Configuration Management
Health Checks
Auditing and Reporting

Is there a discount available for current students?

UMBC students and alumni, as well as students who have previously taken a public training course with UMBC Training Centers are eligible for a 10% discount, capped at $250. Please provide a copy of your UMBC student ID or an unofficial transcript or the name of the UMBC Training Centers course you have completed. Asynchronous courses are excluded from this offer.

What is the cancellation and refund policy?

Student will receive a refund of paid registration fees only if UMBC Training Centers receives a notice of cancellation at least 10 business days prior to the class start date for classes or the exam date for exams.

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