My Certification Journey
Share and learn from real life stories of those who are on the path to become Juniper Certified
, Contributor
My Certification Journey
Transitioning from CCNA to JNCIA
Oct 5, 2011

This is a guest blog post. Views expressed in this post are original thoughts posted by Graham Brown, Network Support Engineer at Imtech ICT Limited. These views are his own and in no way do they represent the views of the company he works for.


My first true networking role was a familiar one to many; configuring and supporting Cisco routers as part of a managed service. Working in a Cisco house, I was encouraged to embrace the Cisco way of doing things and in turn, became certified as – CCNA, CCDA, BSCI, BCMSN etc.


I later found myself managing a network based around Foundry Networks switches and within this role I made a pivotal decision for my career – deploy new switches for the network. The existing switches were ageing and performance was quite poor. So, I evaluated what was on offer from other vendors including Foundry (now Brocade), Cisco and
Juniper Networks, then picked the best for our scenario, which was Juniper Networks. The EX platform brought the benefits of the virtual chassis technology, enabling ease of management, redundant power supplies and the carrier class background in terms of reliability and support.


So, this is where my Juniper journey began with the EX platform – I now needed to become JNCIA certified! The transition to JNCIA (and Juniper in general) was quite straightforward. After all, I already knew the routing and switching
fundamentals so all I had to do was become familiar with Junos.


Juniper and Cisco certification tracks are quite similar, they both have associate, professional and expert levels; although Juniper also does a specialist level, nestled between the associate and professional. Only the expert level for both companies is now lab based – the old Juniper professional was an 8-hour lab!


With Juniper you have a base foundation exam – the JNCIA-Junos. This exam covers many aspects of running a
Junos device and leveraging its powerful features. In addition there are the usual IP subnetting, routing, switching and firewall questions that you would expect from a technical exam. After just a few days of hands-on and the trusty JUNOS for Dummies book, everything was falling into place and becoming familiar to me. If you are looking to take the Junos exam, I would suggest this book as an overall base guide and you will find everything else that you require from the Juniper Fast Track site. I have always self-taught myself and Juniper provides all of the material you need to achieve the certification.


If you are unfamiliar to Junos, as I once was you can find a wealth of information on the Juniper Fast Track site. This is dedicated to teach both new and experienced engineers how to get the most out of their Juniper equipment and become certified on one of three tracks – Enterprise, Service Provider or Security. In addition to the Fast Track program, there
are great discussion groups on the Juniper forums, LinkedIn and Twitter, all full of people passionate about Juniper and Junos. There are even Day One books for deploying certain features within Junos, to aid engineers to ‘hit the ground running’. These have been written by engineers with real life deployment knowledge and are a fantastic resource.


Next steps; I will decide which track to focus on once I’ve passed all three specialist level exams. My next certification will be the JNCIS-SEC, utilising the Junos Security book, followed by the JNCIS-ENT and then the JNCIS-SP. You may be wondering why I am taking all three Specialist exams, rather than concentrating on a single track. This is because I wish to have a sound understand of all aspects of the tracks and to have a broader knowledge base before I specialise on one particular area. The good news is that all Juniper certifications are only one exam (or one lab) – so you get instant recognition back for the effort you put in. After getting involved with Juniper products and certifications, you’ll soon realise why fellow engineers love this equipment.


If anyone has any questions about making the transition from Cisco to Juniper or IOS to Junos, ask away. Or if you’ve a similar change, let me know your thoughts – I’m sure you’ll agree that you did the right thing!

Oct 5, 2011



Very nice blog post. I'm currently facing the same - after switching from Cisco to Juniper we have several departments that will need to relearn their skills on the new equipment. I still have to walk the walk - so far I'm tied up talking the talk - so to speak, but from what I have learned by talking to Juniper's certification department as well as several Juniper partners the switchover should indeed be rather straight forward.


And I cannot agree with you more on the wealth of resources available on the Juniper website - especially the Day One book series - they are outstanding.



Oct 5, 2011

I could not agree more. I recently installed a pair of Juniper MX routers instead of selecting Cisco ASR's and I found the Day One and Fast Track portitions very valuable in switching from IOS. I recenlty passed my JNCIA-Junos and plan on achieving a professional level certification. I like your idea of taking the three specialist exams to get a good, well rounded base of all aspects.



Oct 5, 2011
Trusted Contributor

Thank you for sharing.  The Day One book program continues with new books this year and next year, all by networking engineers writing for other networking engineers.  Let me know what's missing or what you'd like to see, and I'll try my best to tackle someone in the labs to get it done.


Patrick Ames, Editor in Chief, Juniper Networks Books

Oct 5, 2011

Hi Jasper thanks for the kind words, I hope you manage to get your entire department skilled up with Junos - I am sure that they will find it a joy to work with too. If you need any resources or help on anything, you give me a shout - I'll be happy to help.


Matt, I'm glad you made the right decision! The more you use the Juniper kit, the more shortcuts and awesome features you will uncover - it certainly makes our job easier. Congrats on the JNCIA, are you going further? Once I have completed all of the JNCIS tracks, I am going to concentrate on the ENT route - did you catch the webinar this evening on the JNCIP & JNCIE preparation tips? If you missed it, the recorded session should be posted soon.


Patrick that's great news, the Day One books are invaluable! I'm glad there will be more to come, I'll have a think and if I can think of anything to add to the collection, I'll drop you a message. Thanks for taking the time to read my blog, Graham.

Jan 6, 2013

I see this is an old post, but I'm in kind of the same boat now. Hired because of my CCNA to a place that only had Foundry and Brocade. After getting one small Junos switch, I'm now slowly replacing foundry with Juniper because of the price, support and the awesome info on the website. I've been studying for the CCNP Switch off and on, but need to do something before my CCNA expires. Everyone is impressed at the skill level just mentioning CCNP. But if an employer doesn't know Juniper, I probably don't want to work there anyway!





Feb 13, 2013
Hi Wayne,
Thanks for taking the time to read through the blog and post your comments. It seems that your path is identical to the way my networking career went - it's a good path BTW! My advice for you would be to pass you Cisco SWITCH exam - that will ensure that your CCNA is still valid for another three years - you don't want to lose that as it's a pain to re-certify.
Obviously you can chose to continue to get the CCNP as you stated it is a well respected and known certification; however if you are using Juniper equipment on a daily basis, then I would suggest taking your JNCIA-Junos, then the JNCIS-ENT. Both exams are part of the Fasttrack system where you can get excellent trainng materials and IIRC discounted exam vouchers. I have used Juniper equipment for the last five years and haven't looked back - I'm planning to take my JNCIE this year so keep your eyes peeled for a few JNCIS, JNCIP and JNCIE blogs from me.
Good luck,
Mar 30, 2018
Kuldeep Singh

Nice blog post. This Day One book walks you step-by-step through a best practice change process that will ease, and actually simplify, a migration from ASA to SRX. Thank you for sharing.