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

by on ‎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.

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.



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



Juniper Networks Technical Books
About the Author
  • Senior Network Engineer / Architect working for a large ISP in New Zealand. JNCIE-SP#2204, JNCIE-ENT#458.
  • I'm a Network Security Engineer working with Vodafone in their Cloud and Hosting Services team based in Leeds, UK. My role is to implement, test and deliver secure cloud based solutions to external customers.
  • I am a Senior Systems Engineer for NEC, based in Auckland, New Zealand. My main focus for NEC is all things Juniper, ranging from the smallest SRX platform to the PTX5K and everything in between, including the QFX and MX series. In addition to looking after the Juniper Networks equipment, I am also deeply involved in the SDN and compute platforms from NEC and Netcracker (an NEC company). Next on my certification list is the JNCIP-DC, having already completed the JNCIP-SP, JNCIP-ENT, JNCIP-SEC and the JNCDS-DC, SEC and WAN. Outside of work I enjoy the great outdoors: Mountaineering, bouldering, rock or ice climbing, tramping (hiking to non-Kiwis) and snowboarding. My partner and I own a lifestyle farm South East of Auckland, overlooking the beautiful Coromandel peninsula. We have 13.5Ha and keep Highland Cattle, horses and the chickens but also have a compliment of wild ducks, geese, peacocks and pheasants roaming through the land. Outside of work I enjoy the great outdoors: Mountaineering, bouldering, rock or ice climbing, tramping (hiking to non-Kiwis) and snowboarding. My partner and I own a lifestyle farm South East of Auckland, overlooking the beautiful Coromandel peninsula. We have 13.5Ha and keep Highland Cattle, horses and the chickens but also have a compliment of wild ducks, geese, peacocks and pheasants roaming through the land.
  • I am one of a small team of Network Engineers working for Lumison Ltd, a UK ISP/MSP based in Edinburgh, Scotland. I have been with the company for almost 6 years moving from frontline support to the Managed Services team dealing with customer network design and implementation before talking up the role of Network Engineer. As well as the JNCIE-ENT certification.
  • Triple CCIE #21946 (R&S / Service Provider / Storage), JNCIE-SP #851, Technical Consultant at Telindus-ISIT
  • Networking & Security nerd (geek overall), Hockey fanatic, and Junos junkie! Born and raised in Grand Rapids, MI, with a few years of my life out in MN. Been in the IT field since I got out of High School. I've used Juniper products since around 2007, and really enjoy working with them. I currently work for a large retailer based in MI, with a footprint all across the Midwest.
  • Steve Puluka is a Senior IP Engineer with DQE Communications in Pittsburgh, PA. He holds a BSEET along with the professional level certification in Junos Security & Security Support Professional and specialist level in ScreenOS and SSL VPN, JNCDA Design Associate and his original associates in ER & EX. He holds the Palo Alto ACE certification in PanOS 6. He also has certification and extensive experience in Microsoft Windows server, along with strong Vmware skills starting with with version two. He has enjoyed supporting networks for more 20 years.