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

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My Journey to JNCIEx2

by ironide (cka23) on ‎04-01-2014 02:32 PM

I started my journey as a Juniper Networks Certified Instructor in August 2011.  In October 2013 Iearned my JNCIE-SEC and in Febuary 2014 earned my JNCIE-ENT.  In this post I tell that story and offer tips for your success.




As someone who spends his days preaching the value of training and certification, I was excited to see the results from a recent study we conducted with IDC on the impact of training and certification on job performance for those in networking job roles. The study revealed the differences between those with a week of training to those with less than a day. What did the study reveal? A lot!



JNCIS Experience of a Young Network Guy

by ‎03-04-2014 02:51 AM - edited ‎03-04-2014 08:00 AM

Going to a higher Level


It was April, and my birth month. I was planning to take the JNCIS-SP exam after I passed my JNCIA-Junos last November.



JNCIE-ENT in review

by Tim Hoffman (hoff) on ‎02-25-2014 11:46 AM

3 months ago I was invited to be a part of the JNCIE-ENT beta process. This post covers my journey of preparing for and taking this exam.



JNCIE-SP in review

by Tim Hoffman (hoff) ‎10-25-2013 09:00 PM - edited ‎10-25-2013 09:02 PM

My journey from never having touched a Juniper device to doing the JNCIE-SP lab exam in 10 months...



Studying for the JNCIS-SEC may take you places you didn’t expect

by ‎07-31-2013 08:43 AM - edited ‎07-31-2013 08:43 AM

When I first started to look at the Juniper Networks SRX platform, as a ScreenOS bigot I regarded it with the same suspicion of a cat discovering suitcases in the hallway. Recently I’ve been working with the product more and it was time to test my mettle with the JNCIS-SEC exam.  As is the norm, I didn’t have the amount of study or lab time that I would have liked, but I made sure that I at least covered the parts which I considered myself to be weaker on.




The World of JNCIE Exam Development - An Inside Look

by Recognized Expert Recognized Expert ‎07-05-2013 08:14 AM - edited ‎07-05-2013 08:57 AM

Something I have always struggled with in the networking world is the meaning of the word ‘smart’.  What defines ‘smart’ in our industry – is it vast knowledge gained through experience, proven knowledge through certification, some mix of the two, or something else entirely?  However it is measured, you can be sure that ‘smart’ is a relative thing; it seems like any time you start getting that ‘smart’ feeling is about the same time someone or something comes along to put you back in your place.


Such was the case at a recent JNCIE exam development workshop. For all of our exam workshops we strive to bring together a strong and diverse group of subject matter experts – SMEs – to provide broad expertise in the given topic area; for lab exam workshops, the stakes are even higher to get that mix of folks just right.  So it was quite something to look around the workshop table that week and take note of the talent level in the room… there were folks with significant TAC experience, others with significant service provider design experience, one took time off his consulting gig with a major SP in Europe to fly in, while two others were the creators of the original JNCIE-ER Enterprise lab exam. All told, the folks in the room represented over 20 JNCIE credentials, including four 3xJNCIEs. As a Program Manager for Juniper’s exam workshops, it’s a terrific feeling to be able to bring together a strong group of SMEs and feel confident that the outcome will be an equally strong exam. But as a member of the networking world, it’s a very good reminder of just how much ‘smart’ is a relative thing.  Being a JNCIE and yet the least-smart person in the room is definitely a lesson in humility.


The process of creating a lab exam is a remarkable thing.  It starts with a form of job task analysis, which essentially asks the question, “What tasks do engineers in this job role need to be able to perform?” Watching this process, it immediately becomes clear why getting that right mix of folks in the room is so important, as they literally help define the scope of the exam.  With the tasks collected and categorized into sections, a blueprint was created – a roadmap from which to build the entire exam.  Then it was on to designing a network topology, and this is where fun started for these guys. The group was split into teams and tasked with designing a topology to serve as the basis for the entire exam. Whiteboard it and then pitch it to the group – best design wins. Nearly as fun as the brainstorming for them was the fun for me in seeing what they came up with. And in the end, all agreed that a single team’s design wouldn’t cut it – there were just too many good ideas that would be left behind. So we pulled the best from each design to create a single topology that met all the needs of the exam, while also providing a good challenge for exam candidates.


JNCIE exam workshop - 1.JPG


With a blueprint and topology in place, it was time to get down to writing the tasks for the exam. This is the part that represents the actual ‘exam’ as test-takers know it – the actual step-by-step instructions on what to build, what to ensure is working, what you may do, what you may not do … all the elements that make up the full day that is a JNCIE lab exam. It was also the toughest part of the week for the SMEs.  Creating a strong exam task in isolation is a reasonable challenge; creating a strong exam task that takes into account the overall exam, whether the task will break some other task, and whether that is a good or bad thing for the exam, is an entirely different endeavor. Nevertheless, the SMEs’ experience shone through and they worked through the process well, coming up with some really terrific scenarios and challenges.


JNCIE exam workshop - 2.JPG


With the tasks written, it was on to tech-review to ensure all tasks were in line for correctness, relevance, and appropriateness of difficulty. As a function of running through all the tasks, we also got our first look at how the exam was coming together. Similar to watching a house being built from pre-constructed components, it was very neat to watch the exam start to take shape as each layer was added, and to get a sense of how the exam would feel to candidates, as a single entity. We were fortunate that the exam came together very well. A tweak here and there and we were done – voila, a JNCIE exam!  Well, not quite.


There is still a long road ahead.  One of our Tech Leads (a 3xJNCIE) here on the JNCP Cert team has the job of taking the raw elements from the workshop and shaping them into finished elements. From incorporating the exam tasks into a single cohesive package, to physically building the topology in our lab environment, to creating grading guides and scripts, there is much work still to be done. But work is progressing well, and when it’s all ready to go we will have an updated exam we can all be proud of.


JNCIE exam workshop - 3.JPG


For my part, I’m into studies towards a second JNCIE.  Anyone who has ventured down this path knows very well how much lab exam prep involves discovering at least as much about what you don’t know as what you do. Between that and being in rooms full of top-level SMEs, one thing I do know is this: whatever ‘smart’ is, it’s a ways off yet.


Kieran Milne

Technical Program Manager, JNCP


The other day my daughter asked me what I did for a living.  It had been a particularly challenging day so my immediate response was “TROUBLESHOOTING” (yes – in a loud voice!).  Those of you who work on networks know troubleshooting skills are critical; the ability to address problems on the network quickly and effectively ensures smoother and more profitable operations.  Juniper is pleased to introduce a series of courses and Juniper Network certifications that go beyond the JNCIP level troubleshooting knowledge – focusing on advance troubleshooting topics.  There will be three certifications in the Juniper Networks Certified Support track – all at the Professional level. 



JNCIA Journey of a Young Mind

by on ‎05-20-2013 06:13 PM

In my two years of major in College, we were taught Cisco IOS. After graduation, I landed a job that was different from the environment that I was used to. The company that offered me an opportunity is actually a Juniper Networks Partner who does not offer the equipment of the network vendor that I learned in school. 



My Experience - Passing The JNCIA-Junos Exam

by ‎04-11-2013 10:26 AM - edited ‎04-11-2013 10:29 AM

Since I've been working with Juniper products for the past few years, I thought it was time that I bite the bullet and get certified! I might as well, right? I know some people really love certifications, and, to them ...getting as many as possible is almost like a hobby. I like them too, but it has been a while since I've studied for/taken an exam.


Some people that I talked to were pretty surprised to find out that I didn't have a Juniper certification since I am such a big advocate of their products and use them in my day-to-day job responsibilities.




I have always been a big believer in life-long learning or ongoing education in my chosen spheres of work.  For most of my engineering career this has taken the form of reading books, trade publications and doing lab exercises to keep my knowledge current for areas that affect my work.  This has worked well for me in general and I’ve been able to apply that new found knowledge along the way.


I just finished analyzing responses to our third annual Juniper Networks Certification Program (JNCP) audience survey. This is always an important activity for me as it is my best opportunity to hear what you – the Juniper certified audience – have to say about the value of your Juniper certification.


Over 6000 individuals responded to the survey this year. The results again show that the Juniper Networks training and certification process significantly enhances your job performance and career potential.



My Brief Path to Juniper Certification - Part 3

by ‎10-15-2012 04:40 AM - edited ‎10-15-2012 10:14 AM


After passing JNCIA-Junos I immediately set about studying for JNCIS-ENT. A great thing about studying for JNCIS is that Juniper continue their “Fast Track” program to this certification level also. This means that you have free access to all the study material, which is good, but one important study point I could take away from studying JNICA, was that printing out these study guides produced a rather heavy binder.


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