BLOGGING CHALLENGE: From college to career. Learning the advantages of Juniper through certifications.
Sep 8, 2014
Networking has always been a passion of mine. The complexity of networking allows for an ever changing set of issues and problems to discover and resolve. My first real introduction to networking protocols was in college, where Cisco was a major focus. After graduating, I moved to California, first doing support then moving to corporate network operations. The environment was my first introduction to Juniper. While I knew the protocols well, my Juniper experience was lacking. I made it a mission to learn everything I could about Juniper. While I was initially deterred by the differences between Cisco. I soon came to realize the significant benefits of Juniper over other vendors, such as delay configuration committing, unified software builds, and an underlying Linux environment that made troubleshooting much simpler and intuitive. Within weeks I took the JNCIA-Junos, and through work sponsored training, quickly came up to speed and passed the JNCIS-ENT soon after. The knowledge in BGP, Spanning Tree, OSPF and complex troubleshooting I gained from the exams and studying allowed me to excel in my position.
Having studied for Cisco exams for many years, I came in with a strategy I found helped me see the big picture between protocol interactions: I always study for the highest level exams, in this case, JNCIE-ENT. The key to this strategy is a strong base knowledge of general networking, and dedicated hands on experience. With limited resources for online lab rentals of Juniper devices, my initial studying was book based. I started with the official study guides provided on the Juniper Learning Portal (Found here). While studying from these, I created an online wiki where I took notes. I find that if something comes up which requires I take a gap in studying, taking notes allows me to not only retain the knowledge better, but allow me to go back and review key points as I interpreted them without needed to re-read chapters. Flash cards, and eventually online rentals became a main part of my study sessions.
With the increasing presence of Juniper devices across companies, I plan to continue studying with the eventual goal of obtaining the JNCIE-ENT.