My Certification Journey
Share and learn from real life stories of those who are on the path to become Juniper Certified
Liz Burns

Why get Juniper Networks technical career certifications in Networking and Security?

by Super Contributor ‎01-27-2012 09:01 AM - edited ‎01-27-2012 09:01 AM

I am often asked this question by Juniper customers, partners and employees.  What value will a technical certification have for me and for my company? My response to this question can be a little biased – I have managed technical certifications for almost 20 years in four different IT companies so technical certification is a bit of a passion for me. However, you don’t really want a biased response from the company sponsoring the certification. You want to know what your peers think!

 

To get that unbiased answer we surveyed over 7,000 network professionals that have gone through the process of earning a Juniper Networks certification. This survey was completed in November 2011 and included Juniper customers, partners and employees as well as students and people currently seeking employment.   Individuals were from all parts of the globe – 43% in APAC, 32% in EMEA and 25% in Americas.  An executive summary will be posted on J-Net in the next few weeks – but I wanted to give you a short preview of our key findings.

 

We asked lots of questions around;

 

  • Why did you go through the certification process?
  • What did you gain?
  • Was it relevant to your job and career?

 

The results were tremendous – even for this highly biased program manager!  I want to share the most relevant responses with those of you who may be considering your first or additional Juniper certifications.  Here is the “value proposition” your peers see in the Juniper Networks certification they carry.

 

But first, before we get to the “tremendous results”, remember that certification is simply validation of achievement in a process of gaining knowledge and skills, through either experience, formal training or most likely, a combination of the two.  This is a continuous process, as shown in Fig 1 below, which involves:

 

  • Assessing your skill gaps
  • Going through formal training
  • Learning “on the job” or through hands on experience
  • Challenging the certification exam and gaining certification
  • Moving on to bigger or different responsibilities in your career
  • Assessing your skill gaps based on these new challenges and moving to the next level

 

Fig. 1 – Juniper Networks Approach to Technical Readiness

 

 

 Tech Readiness cycle.jpg

 

 

Certification – a critical step in each phase of learning, tells the industry that you have acquired certain knowledge and skills. We recognize that this is a significant investment in time and money, so wanted to understand how well Juniper training and certification aligned with the challenges you face in your job or career advancement.

 

As you can see in Fig 2 below,  96% of survey respondents said the learning gained while preparing for the exam was highly applicable to their job.  As a result of the knowledge gained during this process, and the direct alignment with their jobs, over 50% saw multiple areas of performance improvement.

 

Fig. 2 – Juniper Training and Certification Prepares You for Your Job

 

 

Relevent and improves performance.jpg

 

 

As you can see, the network engineers surveyed found the content of the Juniper Networks certification program relevant to their job or career advancement – but does it truly bring tangible career and personal benefits?

 

“After my Juniper training I am simply a better network engineer.”

Survey Participant Anonymous

 

Overall individuals and managers reported significant improvements in job performance and career opportunities as a direct result of the skills and knowledge they acquired while preparing for Juniper Networks certification, as highlighted in the results below.  

 

Increased Skills and Better at their Job

 

We asked individuals and managers how the certification process impacted their day to day performance and, for managers, the performance of their teams.  Did the knowledge they gained while preparing for certification actually build skills required in their job? We found that;

 

  • Over 50% of individuals saw multiple areas of performance improvement, resulting in improved performance on the job (see Fig 2 above).
  • 98% of individuals saw a positive impact on their ability to work with the full functionality of Juniper products and technology, resulting in maximization of the organization’s benefit from their Juniper investment.
  • 43% of managers realized up to 20% improvement in team performance.  An additional 37% say team performance improved between 30% and 40%.

 

Career Development and Advancement Opportunities

 

As shown in Fig 2 above, Juniper training and certification is directly aligned to what the market place is asking for in network engineers.  Over half, 56%, of the individuals surveyed said that during a recent job application/recruitment process they were asked about their certifications – indicating a preference for proven skills when recruiting.

 

What some survey participants said about the career benefits they realized from their Juniper certification:

 

  • “Better job prospects”
  • “More competitive in the job market”
  • “Recognition in the networking world”
  • “I am much stronger in my job description as a Pre Sales engineer”

 

Overall the survey respondents reported a consistent experience:

  •  increased skill and job opportunities were the primary objective when seeking Juniper Networks certification, and
  •  increased skill and job opportunities were the primary realized benefits from gaining Juniper certification.

 

Managers also rated these realized benefits the primary reasons for encouraging certification with employees. These results were true for certifications in general as well as advanced certifications (see Fig 3 below). 

 

Fig 3 – Value of JNCIP and JNCIE

 

 Increased value from advanced cert.jpg

 

 

 

There are several certifications that a network professional should consider.  We asked our audience how they thought their Juniper Network certification compared:

 

  • 49% of respondents thought their Juniper certification was more valuable than other IT certifications, compared to 44% in 2010.
  • 97% said they would recommend Juniper Networks training and certification.

 

Considering the above evidence of value from our survey participants – what are your thoughts about gaining your first ortenth Juniper Networks certification? Has a professional technical certification helped you in your career? Please share any stories you have regarding your certification journey and the impact this has made on your career.

 

To find out more about Juniper Networks’s certifications check out the various Juniper certifications tracks. Note that in my next blog post I’ll be discussing how to start your certification journey, so watch this space for more to follow shortly.

Comments
by Theking on ‎06-19-2012 04:36 AM

It might be true to bring statistics showing showing the value of the certification but what about all these qualified Juniper engineers without a job.

I am part of this statistic.Certified but without experience and getting knocked down at each interview when it comes to the dreadful question"how many years of experience do you have with juniper".

In melbourne Australia, its different, the certification is not quite relevant but the experience matters most to the employers.

I am still on the job amarket , with a CCNP & a JNCIS qualification.

 

Education and the real world is totally different.

Mark

 

by DavidZ ‎08-23-2012 05:28 PM - edited ‎08-23-2012 05:31 PM

Nice marketing spin. 

 

All my certifications land me a job with less than I was on 10 years ago with a very much smaller list of 'credentials'

 

Passing the exam means - passing the exam and nothing more.

 

I have  work mate who is a CCNP, but never touched that product since passing the exam and could not configure a vlan using CLI on that product series. While another workmate has no communications certiifications yet is much more productive assisting with that technology.

 

Certifications are good to make the education system revenue,  keep the vendor happy and hang on the wall.  There is no direct link to ability - just an indication.  This has been proven over and over again.

 

You can not sell somebodies certification alone (as many new graduates are yet to understand), the employer needs somebody who can DO the job - that is their revenue stream

 

 

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