As a result, I passed the 300-420 Enterprise Design of the ENSLD (EN-Salad) exam at the end of July. That was the end of his CCNP Enterprise. I was shocked! I went to my manager and told him this exciting news. He said, “Congratulations, I’m so happy. He should have five Juniper certifications by the end of September.” It was hard enough just to solve the two issues that we completed with CCNP Enterprise. In just 2 months he didn’t know how to get 5 Juniper certifications.
First, why 5 certs in two months?
First, why am I being asked to get 5 Juniper certificates with a time limit? I work for a VAR, Value Added Reseller, aka Partner. We work with all major OEMs including Cisco and Juniper. As a partner, you have access to resources that can help you assist your customers. In order for an organization to become a partner, it must meet certain requirements based on the level of partnership it wishes to achieve.
Different partner tiers “unlock” access to exclusive discounts, training, resources, and more. One of these requirements is a certified individual. The company I work for wanted to improve its partnership with Juniper. A Juniper certification was required to reach a specific partner level. Many engineers in your organization are now being asked to become Juniper certified. But I was one of the few engineers commissioned by her five. Five are:
- JNCDA – Juniper Networks Design Associate
- JNCIA-Junos – Juniper Associate – Junos
- JNCIA-DevOps – Juniper Associate – DevOps
- JNCIS-DevOps – Juniper Specialist – DevOps
- JNCIS-SP – Juniper Specialist – Service Provider
Several other engineers had already taken this route, so I highly recommend the Junos Genius content. Juno’s Genius is completely free! I was lucky enough to get a free associate level certification voucher by completing the training and passing the exam at the end before the program changed. Each training track targets a certification. There are recommended lab videos. The videos were very thorough, the exercises were informative and challenging enough. At the end of the training, one or he even took two practice exams. I had to pass both practice exams before taking the voucher exam. I only had to pass 3 attempts at the voucher check. Due to recent changes to the Junos Genius program, you can no longer receive a free exam coupon, but you can still receive a 75% discount coupon!
The questions on both the practice and voucher exams were very similar to the questions faced on the actual Juniper certifications exams for each of these certifications. So use these practice tests!
Apart from a good study plan when preparing for such a certification, there are labs. While talking to others on It’s all about the Journey Discord, one of our members, Carl Zellers, recommended his vSRX virtual appliance. You can try royalty-free for 60 days. The beauty of SRX is that it is a part firewall, router, and switch. This allows you to practice all the skills you need to use a single platform. Juniper vLabs are also available. These vLabs are preconfigured topologies that you can use to explore routing and switching, service provider technologies, and even DevOps in Juniper platform virtual labs. Some of these labs are the same labs referenced in Junos Genius training.
So, having just finished design testing, I decided to tackle JNCDA first. We felt that JNCDA was the easiest entry point as it covers Juniper certifications-specific matters such as network design, common protocols common to all vendors, and product line knowledge. I didn’t have to learn or get used to the Juniper CLI.
It came up next in the JNCIA Junos exam. Many people compare JNCIA Junos to CCNA. I think this is an unfair comparison, as JNCIA-Junos only focuses on Junos OS and doesn’t include as many networking fundamentals as CCNA. After JNCIA-Junos was the DevOps exam. The only saving grace here is that this was not my first introduction to DevOps. I already had a lot of experience interacting with Ansible and APIs. Still, this was a challenging test.
So, I was able to take and pass these exams once a week for three weeks. I was only able to do that because work was a little slow and I was allowed to focus on these due to the deadline. It was literally my job to go get these certs. After I got those three it was time for a family vacation so I took a week and a half off from work. After I returned though, it was on like Donkey Kong as I turned my attention to those Specialist Certs!
So, as far as my plan goes I was right on target. Grabbing those JNCIA`s so quickly left me additional time to tackle the JNCIS-Service Provider and DevOps exams. The Service Provider exam was extremely routing-heavy. But, I`ve been studying for the CCNP for the last 18 months, so I was no stranger to routing. The only new-ish topics to me were MPLS and IS-IS – two major service provider topics. However, I was familiar with routing protocols like static routing, OSPF, and BGP, but not Juniper certifications. So there was still a learning curve.
I failed my first attempt, just barely, at the SP exam. I quickly went back, studied some more and scheduled my retake ASAP, and got the pass on the second attempt! So then it came down to the DevOps exam. Work was starting to pick back up. I was actually scheduled to be onsite in Maine the last two days of the month so it was the 28th of September or bust, or so I thought!
I learned as much as I could between meetings and other assignments. The 28th was approaching and my exam was scheduled for 3:15 PM EDT. Log in to his Pearson website, find your upcoming exam, and click Start to download his OnVue. I took a picture and waited for the exam to start. And I wanted…and waited…and waited. I waited almost 45 minutes before getting out.
Now, as I`ve stated in preceding articles, with checking out from domestic I constantly take the tests in my son`s room. My domestic workplace is, well, much less than compliant as a checking-out environment. There`s an excessive amount of in there. So, I positioned a spare table in my youngest son`s room and use that to take my tests. You can see the Tweet above, and the observe-up remark approximately in no way being driven into examination mode.
And that’s exactly what happened! I never took an exam. An hour after the scheduled start time he still hadn’t attended the exam and had to pick up his son from daycare and had to move out.
The Juniper Certifications Twitter account saw my tweet and immediately responded. For some reason, Pearson’s system scheduled my exam for 8:15 pm EDT instead of his 3:15 pm EDT. I sent you a screenshot showing me.
Within an hour the issue was resolved and I was able to reschedule the JNCIS DevOps exam. So I did what I could and scheduled it for 8:45 a.m. on the 29th. After exams, he had to drive from Vermont to visit a client in Maine, five hours away. Luckily I managed to get my passport!!! The JNCIS DevOps exam was, unsurprisingly, harder than the JNCIA DevOps exam. But again, using Junos Genius and adding Juniper certifications documentation on a few topics, I was able to get my pass!
Some Final Thoughts
I cannot recommend Junos Genius enough. Also, I highly recommend looking into a few other providers – I’ve spent most of my career with Cisco. I’ve worked with his HPE (before the Aruba acquisition) and some Dell Networking equipment, but have the most experience with Cisco. Joining a new provider was a big challenge. Things are completely different in terms of command syntax and configuration lines. I feel like other vendors I’ve worked with are trying to imitate Cisco. But Juniper certifications definitely do something very unique and it was a pleasure to spend time with them. We are looking forward to our first project with Juniper certifications. If you have any questions, feel free to contact us or leave a comment here. Good luck on your way to certification. If you haven’t already, please consider joining the It’s All About the Journey Discord. You can find like-minded IT professionals and new friends here!