This is a guest blog post. Views expressed in this post are original thoughts posted by Glen Kemp, Solutions Consultant at SecureData Europe. These views are his own and in no way do they represent the views of the company he works for.
At the end of the 2011 I find myself staring at no fewer than five expired JNCIA certifications and one JNCIS. Most of them actually expired in the middle of the year and my first task is to figure out where to go from here. I was vaguely aware that many of the certs have been changed or updated since my last flurry of activity in 2009. So, my first job is to work out what goes where.
Starting from the Top
The JNCIA-EX exam has now been replaced with the JNCIA-Junos exam; which kind of makes sense given that across all the Junos platforms, EX, SRX, MX, et al. the base platform is identical; it’s mostly down to platform specialisations (switching, security, routing) as you go deeper into the tracks. My first step was to take the practice exam online, now in my defence, whilst I do work with EX and SRX a reasonable amount I’d be first to admit that I’m far from expert in the platform. First result was a sobering 45%; sounds like I need to hit the study guides before I go any further on that one.
JN0-520 has now been updated to JN0-522. I’ve realised that I first took and passed this exam in early 2003; this was the first “proper” Network/Security certification I did post my MSCE (NT4) in 1999. I don’t recall much apart from the hammer drill outside the central London testing centre. If my math is correct, this will be the fifth time I will have taken a version of this test. ScreenOS may no longer be front and centre, but I will be supporting SSG and ISG platforms for many moons to come; it makes sense to retake one last time if only for nostalgia purposes. The update will likely include post 6.0 features as from my notes from JN0-520 focused on version 5.4 and earlier. I also have the option of taking the JNCIS-FMV, which I’ve started to study for on a couple of occasions before life, but mostly work, intervened.
I hold the peculiar distinction of being the first nerd to pass this certification; I took the JNCIA-SSL exam in 2005, taking it very early on a Tuesday morning in a local test centre after it was “released” on the Monday; the time-zone advantage of being in the UK definitely helped in that. I didn’t stay the only certified associate for long. Retaking the JNCIS-SSL will re-qualify me for the JNCIA-SSL so that is the logical course of action here.
The SA devices and MAG counterparts are still something that I use daily so my knowledge is very much up to date although I will revisit my notes as I recall there were some obscure questions on CRLs and the old Central Manager license which vexed me last time.
The Infranet Controller exam apparently has been updated, from JN0-140 to JN0-141. Whilst the UAC is a sister product to the Secure Access SSL devices, there are details in IEEE 802.1X which I don’t have memorised. Whilst this is an important one to do from portfolio point of view, it’s going to take a reasonable amount of study to prepare for.
This exam also has been updated to JN0-311 since last I took it. We use WX internally and I have a couple of customers with very large deployments so this may well be a quick win for me as the product hasn’t changed fundamentally for several years. I’ve also got very good notes so I shall have a skim through those before booking the exam.
In order to progress through certification I’m going to do the quick-wins first to get me back into the habit of studying. I’m then going to attack the Junos based exams, as they are strategically the most important and are first step to preparing for the JNCIE-ENT, which I’m planning to start working in earnest 2012. My current plan is as follows:
Added to all that, I’ve also got to find time to do the pre-sales exams as well, and I know that I’m going to be asked to do the Junos Security track as well at some point.
Exam Update: First Exam Passed
After studying my notes and digging through the admin guide (PDF) to brush upon the more arcane elements of OCSP I booked in at a local test centre. I only needed about 30 of the allotted 90 minutes as the questions were mostly short with one word answers. Several questions hark back to much older versions of the IVE; anyone not intimately acquainted with 5.x versions may struggle to pick up some points. Conspicuous by its absence was Pulse; possibly not even a twinkle in the eye of PLM when this exam was put together. The JNCIA-SSL exam has been more recently updated.
My next blog will probably be mid-plan as I’m studying in earnest for the JNCIA-Junos exam.
Exam Update 2: My next steps
You can read about my progress in the next blog post "Study Techniques for JNCIS - Make a plan"
So, in conclusion, I’ve got a lot of work to do and will be spending a lot of time on the inside of a Prometric test centre! Would be interested to hear from anyone who has re-certified in any of the tracks more than once and how they keep fresh knowledge, which they don’t necessarily use every day (i.e. OCSP!).