08-13-2010 06:56 PM
Liz Burns Sr Manager, Juniper Networks Certification Program wrote:
Allow us to move directly to Expert - directly to Expert, don't pass "Go" , don’t collect $200 (for any Monopoly fans!!!). I am repeating myself here, but this argument also goes to what we - JNCP - can say about the validity and relevance of YOUR brand. While the expert exam is an excellent test of ability (the best in the industry some say!) it, by definition, cannot cover all topics that JNCIx's need to certify on. Requiring and enforcing a progression of certifications insures a level set of tested skills and knowledge among our certified population - making JNCP certifications consistent, reliable and representative of the Assoc, Spec, Prof and Expert label. Rest assured Juniper does not have this policy to "make money" from our candidates. Certification helps promote the Juniper brand – but definitely not a money maker!!!
I really don't have a horse in this race because I'm primarily a firewall guy and working in the enterprise track. But I do have a contrary opinion on the issue. After reading the material on the web site and learning about the actual content of these two exams, I have to disagree that they build on each other.
As I understand it, the JNCIP exam presents a network diagram and a set of factory default devices that need to be configured per that diagram by the completion of the lab time frame. This exam tests the ability of the candidate to implement an advanced network in a reasonable time frame.
My understanding of the JNCIE exam is that one is given a diagram of an existing network that is configured and running. There are then additional changes and features that have to be implemented and there are errors and problems with the existing configuration. Here the candidate is asked to fix the problems and expand the system in a reasonable time period.
I completely understand why passing an advanced written exam demonstrating a breadth of competancy is required to take either of these two practical exams. The advanced written exam allows Juniper to be sure the the necessary breadth of knowledge is in place to handle multiple contingencies that can't be included in a practical exam because of time constrants.
But these two practical exams, JNCIP and JNCIE, do not seem to me to be the same kind of building on necessary skills. In fact, my experience is that these are two areas are frequently enough different jobs in many companies. I also see them as really peer certifications as a result and not a real progression. Troubleshooting and adding on to networks is a different skill that building from scratch.
I don't think that candidates are asking to "move directly to expert" as you put it. They are asking to take the practical exam that is most relevant to their work needs and what their employers are looking for.
Perhaps they should both be called expert exams, Expert Implementation and Expert Troubleshooting.
08-17-2010 07:06 AM
I do think the JNCIE exam builds on the skills required to pass the JNCIP exam. I also do believe that a prerequisite needs to be met to allow candidates to take the JNCIE lab exam. It should be either a written exam, passing the JNCIP lab, or becoming a JNCIP that rather than a lab exam comprises several written exams evaluating different technologies. Yes, it maps what Cisco has; I believe it works.
08-18-2010 06:33 AM
I favor having a more rigorous certification process, and therefore prefer having the JNCIP as a pre-req for the JNCIE. The biggest problem I see with this is that it might be cost prohibitive for some people to pay both registration fees and the associated travel costs for each exam. I believe the JNCIE used to be a 2-day exam, which explains the how the exams are structured and additional content and troubleshooting associated with the JNCIE.
08-20-2010 04:47 AM
I would be very interested to know what specific skills, knowledge or other factors there are in the JNCIP exam that are built on or a prerequisite for the JNCIE exam. From the descriptions of the actual exam content on the web site and from the live instructors at Juniper training classes I don't see what those are.
I knew nothing about Cisco certification till right now when I went and visited their site. They do NOT require you get professional level before sitting for the expert level exam. They ask for a special expert written exam be taken first then the expert lab exam be taken with 18 months of passing and any retakes within 3 years of passing. So Cisco is allowing candidates to "go directly to expert" with a combination of a written exam plus a lab exam.
I am not in any way suggesting that certification should not be rigorous or that a progression is not appropriate. I am merely questioning whether that progression is evident in the requirement of a JNCIP configuration lab exam before taking a JNCIE troubleshooting exam.
I am fully aware of the concept of building on skills and the need for prerequisites in many cases. I know from my own educational experience that these are important in some cases. There was ample reason why I had to take calculus before field theory and microwaves when earning my BSEET. I understood why I had to take introduction to scripture before classes on specific books when earning my masters in theology. I teach undergraduate classes and provide training sessions in a number of both technical and theological topics. And I do support and practice creating either prerequisites or structured progression of learning.
I just don't see that connection here in the prerequisite requirement of JNCIP to JNCIE. Please do post what I'm not understanding about the progression that you see there. The descriptions that I have seen and heard describe performing different activities in the two exams. Configuring a new system from scratch in JNCIP and troubleshooting/expanding an existing system in JNCIE. I fail to see why one needs to take either of these two before the other as a natural progression of learning. But I would love to understand what I am missing if I am wrong.
08-20-2010 06:48 AM
Obviously sharing 'specific skills, knowledge or other factors' runs into NDA issues. But I can make some general comments ..
First, you have the broad description of the function of each exam correct; however, the JNCIP is not exclusively build/config. There is plenty of troublshooting to be done as you verify your work and chase problems. So while the exams are of course different, they involve a similar work tasks, i.e. each exam has plenty of both configuration and troubleshooting.
Second, there are many cases of skill-building and prerequisites that flow from JNCIP into JNCIE. Some broad examples include:
-in the JNCIP, you set up (and troubleshoot) IGPs and EGPs; in the JNCIE, you build on that knowledge to deal with IGPs and EGPs in a more advanced way
-in the JNCIP, you set up (and troubleshoot) policy; in the JNCIE, you build on that knowledge to deal with policy in a more advanced way
-the work with IGPs in the JNCIP is directly relevant as you overlay MPLS in the JNCIE
To your observation about Cisco allowing you to go direct to CCIE, there are similarities and differences between the programs.. this is one of the differences. (There is another thread here on J-Net that discusses this in more detail)
Hope that helps clarify things,
Tech Lead, JNCP