When Should You Automate Something?

Automation has been hot in the networking world for quite some time now – however I still see many people asking for advice on how to get started. If you don’t know of a project or something you can do for fun, think some more.

Others ask at what point they should start automating tasks. Some like to break the answer down to a simple equation where if (time to automate task) < (time to complete task manually),  you should clearly automate.

def should_i_automate(time_to_do_manually, time_to_automate):
    if time_to_do_manually > time_to_automate:
        return “You should automate this task!”
        return “You should do this manually!”

This leaves out the intangible benefits of skills learned while automating tasks that can be leveraged in the future. It leaves out the hard-to-quantify human errors that are avoided when humans are removed from repetitive tasks. I don’t know about you, but I find coding to be challenging and rewarding as well. These are just a few reasons why you may automate something even when the time payout isn’t immediate. What are your thoughts?