This is a guest blog post. Views expressed in this post are original thoughts posted by Martin Brown, Access Control Product Specialist from UTC. These views are his own and in no way do they represent the views of the company he works for.
During part 2 of "My Brief Path to Juniper Certification" I told you about how I was successful in JNCIA. In this final installment we continue my journey by guiding you though the next steps in the path I took.
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 JNCIA, was that printing out these study guides produced a rather heavy binder and also wastes a lot of paper. In addition, a huge binder isn't very convenient when you need to travel, especially through an airport. Bearing that in mind I hit upon the idea of using an Amazon Kindle to view the documents, this was perfect, I could easily read all about Virtual Chassis at 37,000ft without breaking the seat tray due to the weight of the book. In addition, the Kindle has a great function where you can e-mail the PDF to it and it'll convert it to it's own format too. Not long after commencing JNCIS I also struck it lucky as I was also given access to an EX series switch. I now have 2 Juniper devices, this is almost a small lab.
For study, I followed the same pattern as before, read both guides twice, then took the pre-assessment. As it happened, this time I got disturbed whilst taking it and ended up making a few stupid errors and failed that the first time too. Let this be a lesson here, try taking the pre-assessment in real exam conditions so you cannot be distracted. Thankfully, another great thing with these tests is that you can retake the pre-assessment exam without penalty, so I retook it and passed. There was, however, a problem.
When you take and pass the "Fast Tack" pre-assessment, you are given a voucher code. You enter this when booking the exam and are given your discount. The system decided to give me a blank code. Now what do I do? Panic? I had a quick look around the site and stumbled across a contact e-mail address, firstname.lastname@example.org. I immediately sent off an e-mail to this address and if I am completely honest here, I wasn't expecting much, however the response was very fast and Juniper gave me a code straight away, so I immediately booked the live exam. Upon arrival at the testing centre, because of all the help and support I had received I felt full of confidence and I passed JN0-343 first time too.
This nicely leads me to where I am right now. Rather than moving to JNCIS-SEC, I am now studying JNCIP-ENT. My ‘lab’ has a new addition as I now have access to a J2320. The only downside with JNCIP is, there is no “Fast Track” program, however, Juniper do still provide a pre-assessment test, albeit without the discount after passing but it does mean you can still gauge your progress and so far I have discovered that the area that requires my most attention is Multicast.
I hope reading about my experiences has been enjoyable for you and I hope that I have in some way helped inspire you to continue with your own studies just as I am doing. Please remember that if you ever need assistance whilst you are studying, you can always ask for help in the Juniper Training and Certification forum or in their group on facebook, where you will always find someone willing to offer you guidance.
There is one final thing I should mention before I finish. As you may recall, in part 1 I mentioned that during my first experience with Juniper, the customer was using dual firewalls. During my studies, the rather logical reasoning behind this became apparent: If a corporation has a single firewall and it is attacked and the attacker uses a known vulnerability to bypass the firewall, your network is compromised. If, however, you have multiple vendors protecting your internet edge and the attacker bypasses the first firewall, that known vulnerability won’t exist in the second vendor, thus ensuring the safety of your network.
Until next time, may I wish you the very best of luck in your next certification exam, no matter at what level you are studying.