Why get Juniper Networks technical career certifications in Networking and Security?
Aug 23, 2012
I am often asked this question by Juniper customers, partners and employees. What value will a technical certification have for me and for my company? My response to this question can be a little biased – I have managed technical certifications for almost 20 years in four different IT companies so technical certification is a bit of a passion for me. However, you don’t really want a biased response from the company sponsoring the certification. You want to know what your peers think!
To get that unbiased answer we surveyed over 7,000 network professionals that have gone through the process of earning a Juniper Networks certification. This survey was completed in November 2011 and included Juniper customers, partners and employees as well as students and people currently seeking employment. Individuals were from all parts of the globe – 43% in APAC, 32% in EMEA and 25% in Americas. An executive summary will be posted on J-Net in the next few weeks – but I wanted to give you a short preview of our key findings.
We asked lots of questions around;
Why did you go through the certification process?
What did you gain?
Was it relevant to your job and career?
The results were tremendous – even for this highly biased program manager! I want to share the most relevant responses with those of you who may be considering your first or additional Juniper certifications. Here is the “value proposition” your peers see in the Juniper Networks certification they carry.
But first, before we get to the “tremendous results”, remember that certification is simply validation of achievement in a process of gaining knowledge and skills, through either experience, formal training or most likely, a combination of the two. This is a continuous process, as shown in Fig 1 below, which involves:
Assessing your skill gaps
Going through formal training
Learning “on the job” or through hands on experience
Challenging the certification exam and gaining certification
Moving on to bigger or different responsibilities in your career
Assessing your skill gaps based on these new challenges and moving to the next level
Fig. 1 – Juniper Networks Approach to Technical Readiness
Certification – a critical step in each phase of learning, tells the industry that you have acquired certain knowledge and skills. We recognize that this is a significant investment in time and money, so wanted to understand how well Juniper training and certification aligned with the challenges youface in your job or career advancement.
As youcan see in Fig 2 below, 96% of survey respondents said the learning gained while preparing for the exam was highly applicable to their job. As a result of the knowledge gained during this process, and the direct alignment with their jobs, over 50% saw multiple areas of performance improvement.
Fig. 2 – Juniper Training and Certification Prepares You for Your Job
As you can see, the network engineers surveyed found the content of the Juniper Networks certification program relevant to their job or career advancement – but does it truly bring tangible career and personal benefits?
“After my Juniper training I am simply a better network engineer.”
Survey Participant Anonymous
Overall individuals and managers reported significant improvements in job performance and career opportunities as a direct result of the skills and knowledge they acquired while preparing for Juniper Networks certification, as highlighted in the results below.
Increased Skills and Better at their Job
We asked individuals and managers how the certification process impacted their day to day performance and, for managers, the performance of their teams. Did the knowledge they gained while preparing for certification actually build skills required in their job? We found that;
Over 50% of individuals saw multipleareas of performance improvement, resulting in improved performance on the job (see Fig 2 above).
98% of individuals saw a positive impact on their ability to work with the full functionality of Juniper products and technology, resulting in maximization of the organization’s benefit from their Juniper investment.
43% of managers realized up to 20% improvement in team performance. An additional 37% say team performance improved between 30% and 40%.
Career Development and Advancement Opportunities
As shown in Fig 2 above, Juniper training and certification is directly aligned to what the market place is asking for in network engineers. Over half, 56%, of the individuals surveyed said that during a recent job application/recruitment process they were asked about their certifications – indicating a preference for proven skills when recruiting.
What some survey participants said about the career benefits they realized from their Juniper certification:
“Better job prospects”
“More competitive in the job market”
“Recognition in the networking world”
“I am much stronger in my job description as a Pre Sales engineer”
Overall the survey respondents reported a consistent experience:
increased skill and job opportunities were the primary objective when seeking Juniper Networks certification, and
increased skill and job opportunities were the primary realized benefits from gaining Juniper certification.
Managers also rated these realized benefits the primary reasons for encouraging certification with employees. These results were true for certifications in general as well as advanced certifications (see Fig 3 below).
Fig 3 – Value of JNCIP and JNCIE
There are several certifications that a network professional should consider. We asked our audience how they thought their Juniper Network certification compared:
49% of respondents thought their Juniper certification was more valuable than other IT certifications, compared to 44% in 2010.
97% said they would recommend Juniper Networks training and certification.
Considering the above evidence of value from our survey participants – what are your thoughts about gaining your first ortenth Juniper Networks certification? Has a professional technical certification helped you in your career? Please share any stories you have regarding your certification journey and the impact this has made on your career.
To find out more about Juniper Networks’s certifications check out the various Juniper certifications tracks. Note that in my next blog post I’ll be discussing how to start your certification journey, so watch this space for more to follow shortly.