Interview with Tom Piens – Why write a Packt Book?

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Tom Piens is the author of the book Mastering Palo Alto Networks, we got the chance to sit down with him and find out more about his experience of writing with Packt.

Q: How did you become an author for Packt? Tell us about your journey…

Tom: I had been playing with the idea of writing a book for quite a while when an interesting chain of events put me on the path of actually realizing that dream; In November 2019 I had just decided I would leave Palo Alto Networks to find new adventures when I was contacted by Packt about authoring a book. The timing could not have been better so I took the opportunity with both hands.

Q: How long did it take you to write the book?

Tom: I spent about seven months writing for a few hours most evenings.

Q: What kind of research did you do, and how long did you spend researching before beginning the book?

Tom: Coming up with a natural flow to the chapters and topics was probably the hardest part of researching before I started writing as most of the materials covered comes from years of experience. I think it took me two weeks to come up with an outline and basic topics.

Q: Did you face any challenges during the writing process? How did you overcome them?

Tom: Writing can be more exhausting than you’d expect so I had to take a couple of breaks just to regain some energy. While writing and documenting it is sometimes difficult to gain access to the proper resources which can be very challenging.

Q: What advice would you give to readers learning tech? Do you have any top tips?

Tom: Don’t be afraid to experiment or ask for help. Mistakes are the best way to learn and there are no stupid questions.

Q. How do you keep up-to-date on your tech?

Tom: With the constant evolution of tech it is not easy to stay up-to-date. I try to get my hands ‘dirty’ as much as possible and I keep experimenting to hone my skills.

Q. How would you describe you author journey with Packt? Would you recommend Packt to aspiring authors?

Tom: If not for Packt the book would have still been a dream as I did not have a clue where to start. I’ve received tremendous assistance and they made it very easy for me to fall into a nice structure that allowed me to author this book.

Q. Do you have a blog that readers can follow?

Tom: Yes! I founded www.pangurus.com while in quarantine so I could have a platform to reach out and help avid learners and fellow professionals.

Q. Can you share any blogs, websites and forums to help readers gain a holistic view of the tech they are learning?

Tom: As soon as this book is completely finished I will be dedicating time on creating more content on https://www.pangurus.com where there is also a forum for open questions and discussion. There is a subreddit which is pretty active at https://www.reddit.com/r/paloaltonetworks/ and Palo Alto’s own live.paloaltonetworks.com

You can find Tom’s book on Amazon by following this link: Please click here

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Mastering Palo Alto Networks – Available on Amazon.com