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What is the value of a Juniper Networks certification?

‎01-27-2012 09:23 AM

We asked this question of over 7000 Juniper certfied network engineers and were amazed by the responses.  Check out my blog with a summary of the survey results http://forums.juniper.net/t5/My-Certification-Journey-EMEA/Why-get-Juniper-Networks-technical-career...

Liz Burns
Director, Education Services
Certification and Marketing Programs

Kudos are always appreciated!
5 REPLIES 5
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Re: What is the value of a Juniper Networks certification?

‎06-19-2012 03:24 PM

It might be true to bring statistics showing showing the value of the certification but what about all these qualified Juniper engineers without a job.

I am part of this statistic.Certified but without experience and getting knocked down at each interview when it comes to the dreadful question"how many years of experience do you have with juniper".

In melbourne Australia, its different, the certification is not quite relevant but the experience matters most to the employers.

I am still on the job amarket , with a CCNP & a JNCIS qualification.

 

Education and the real world is totally different.

Mark

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Re: What is the value of a Juniper Networks certification?

‎06-19-2012 03:42 PM

Just my point of view having sat on the interviewer side of the desk in various capacities over a 20 year plus career.  The short version is read the ad carefully.  The word "required" in front of experience, education or certifications means this is required.  No amount of logic or great interview answers will overcome this important word.

 

Experience, education and certifications are not the same, nor are they generally viewed as qualities we pit against each other.  We are not choosing between experience and a certification or education.  These are all just components of your full package.

 

Typically if a job asks for and requires experience there is no substitute.  That requirement was put into the job description by the hiring team and we had a good reason to put it there.  If the ad says 2 years experience, then don't bother to apply if you don't have the experience.

 

Certifications and education are not a substitute for experience.  So it is a false dichotomy to ask which means more they are simply not the same and are therefore not competing with each other.

 

Likewise, some companies have policies or vendor relationships that require specific certifications.  If the ad says these are required and not recommended or strongly considered, then they are required.  The same with degree requirements.  Sometimes they say required and sometimes preferred or with specific substitutes for years of experience.

 

In my limited experience I've seen that certification and educational degrees are an edge and a differentiator for candidates.  They give you an advantage over someone with the same experience level.  But they don't substitute for experience.

Steve Puluka BSEET - Juniper Ambassador
IP Architect - DQE Communications Pittsburgh, PA (Metro Ethernet & ISP)
http://puluka.com/home
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Re: What is the value of a Juniper Networks certification?

‎07-09-2012 05:21 PM

I sort of agree with you Steve but you must open your eyes to certification and the reason why is was created. All certification is not equal and just because you have 20 years of experience does not equate to knowledge. I know CCIE's and JNCIE with 3yrs of experience who know  heck of allot of more than a person who's been around for 20 years.  My point being ... years of experience is relevant when you know something and you continually update yourself but  you should never under estimate a candidate with less experience with credentials. The old school thinking is no longer applicable !

 

Also CCNP is no JNCIE-CCIE or JNCIP.   Earning the CCIE or JNCIE is hard work and demonstrates expert level knowledge!  You can't stop at the CCNP and expect jobs to fall in your lap...it doesn't work that way.

 

 

 

Allen Baylis

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Re: What is the value of a Juniper Networks certification?

‎07-10-2012 03:33 AM

Allen,

 

I believe we are on the same page.  Picking the best candidate for an opening is never cut and dried.  Everyone has their whole package and they are never easily comparable.

 

Yes, experience only matters if you keep yourself up-to-date on current needs.  But at the same time experience is a category all its own and is not the same as education or certifications.  And the same problems exist with education and certifcation.  There are people with degrees that coast through and are just looking for the paper.  There are people with certifications who "teach to the test" and not the concepts.  The tough job of the interviewers is to sort out what each candidate has to offer.

 

Your own example illustrates the point and I agree.  Your certified candiate with some experience would compete well against an uncertified candidate with more experience.  But this is not conclusive either.

 

Many other factors also go to success at a position.  Companies have cultures and other employees.  You have to work well with peers and be comfortable with the way the IT operation runs.  There are also secondary and tertiary job responsibilities that come to play.  Maybe one candidate has industry experience that will save time and give them better insight.  A person can be a great technician but if everyone finds them a pain to deal with they may not last long.

 

In a job hunt you are selling your entire package as an employee not just your "main" qualification be that education, experience or certifications.  Play to your strengths and work on your weaknesses.

 

But the job requirements are still the job requirements.  If the job requires certain certification, education or experience then it is very unlikely you will talk your way out of that requirement.  Trying to get around plainly listed job requirements is just going to make a person crazy.

Steve Puluka BSEET - Juniper Ambassador
IP Architect - DQE Communications Pittsburgh, PA (Metro Ethernet & ISP)
http://puluka.com/home
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Re: What is the value of a Juniper Networks certification?

‎08-17-2012 04:53 PM

Apologies for being a little late to the party but this is definitely an area that I am very passionate about!

 

Personally, the real value of the certification comes from the journey to achieve it. Regardless of what your role is within an organisation, the way that you use products will typically encompass only a percentage of what it's able to do. A good network design for example will typically use a package that was researched, tested extensively and then deployed repeatedly.

 

Working in this way minimizes costs, keeps design, ordering, sparing, deployment and support simple ... and you know in advance what you're getting. Working in this way however also means that you don't need to think about  subnetting, route redistribution, QoS, routing protocols etc as they're also already pre-packaged. Sure some people have to think about this a lot ... but I'll bet that the overall percentage is pretty small. Even those who do have to configure and/or support complex networks will rarely have to think about the underlying technologies and configurations in the detail that the certification process forces. Be honest, outside of an exam when was the last time that you worried about the OSPF LSA type? 🙂

 

The knowledge gained from the certification process helps experienced people to recognise how things should work, and how features that they may never have touched can really improve things. Is it perfect? Nope, but I can't think of a better way to approach it. It's good that production designs are kept "simple" and stable ... constant firefighting is a great way to learn, but not so impressive to your customers!!

 

All of the nonsense above I feel "reflects" the impressive numbers for performance improvement and perceived value. After all, the participants have had the opportunity to get out of the trenches/boxes and begin to really understand how the pieces fit together. Quite how there can be as much as 10% who see no increased value though ... I guess testing isn't for everyone!

 

The rest of the discussion about value of the certification to an employer is obviously a lot more complex. Any certification program worth its salt represents a baseline; a 3rd party has assessed the candidate and found that they are able to understand X, Y, and Z at a certain level. It's a nice easy box to add to a list of requirements that's not subjective - you either have the certification or you don't. A degree is treated in exactly the same way. Unfortunately what tends to happen is that the recruiters don't really understand what they're looking for and so will often request certification as "CCNA/P/CCIE or JNCIA/S/E" as thought they are somehow similar. Adding experience is obviously a natural part of the process, but immediately you have the problem that time isn't really a good measure of experience; a person with 5 years experience babysitting a stable network will almost certainly have less experience than someone with 6 months in the Juniper TAC. 

 

Having gotten through the screening process, the rest then becomes a subjective matter. As I ran interviews I saw relevant certifications as an indication of interest and an investment in personal development. Prior experience is just an indicator, but the ultimately it should be more about the potential you aspire to rather than the baggage you've collected!! This is why it's always worth trying for roles that are of interest even if you can't tick all of the boxes. 90% of the time you may get no response but eventually you stumble across someone willing to take a chance ...

 

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