The experience with my first Juniper certification

Last week I got my first Juniper certification, JNCIA-Junos, and I’m pretty excited about it. I had to start with this exam, which is somehow equivalent to CCNA,  for two reasons:

– it’s mandatory for all other Juniper exams
– as I start with a new vendor technology I need to get a good understanding of how Junos is working and how this CLI is different from Cisco one

Maybe you are curious why I wanted to go with another certification vendor than Cisco. Well, I felt the need to do something different, but still related to networking technology. I’m not thinking to move away from Cisco, as this is still my strong point, but I don’t want my mind to get used to think only “Cisco style”. If I may say like this, I want to “think  out of the box”. I went with Juniper as I was always curious about their products and the way they handle routing protocols, configuration, network interconnections and so on…

I must say it, the preparation and exam experience, was a very pleasant one. First of all, after registration, on the Juniper website, I got access to their Learning Portal from where I could download two books in PDF format, free of charge.  I already have the necessary networking fundamentals knowledge, so these two books were enough to prepare for this exam. If you are a beginner, there is another eLearning course available on the same Juniper Learning Portal called “Networking Fundamentals” which is also free of charge. I checked some chapters from this course and I was surprised how nice and clear the explanation was. Beginners can easy understand and learn the basic concepts.

The theory was fine, but I wanted to have some hands on experience, so I start looking on Internet about some cheap solutions to prepare. I was lucky enough to get two boxes with Junos on them. After connecting them, I was able to start with the basic configuration and ended configuring IGP, BGP, filtering, route manipulation, etc. I also established some connections between Cisco and Juniper and configure inter-vendor routing protocols IGP and BGP. That was fun and I will add in future some “how-to” on my blog.

Next, on the Juniper Learning Portal, any certification candidate can take a Pre-assessment exam. If you pass, you will get a voucher which offer you 50% discount from the exam price. A nice welcome gift!

Without breaking the agreement, I think I may say that the exam was “to the point” with clear questions expecting clear answers. No room for tricky interpretations of the questions, so if you did your lessons you will pass for sure.

On and on, it was a nice experience which did offer me an appreciated break from CCIE preparation. Depending on the available time, I think I will continue with JNCIS-ENT.

I have to mention only one ugly point during my entire experience with this Juniper certification. Those of you who follow me on Twitter or LinkedIN already know what I’m talking about. I had to attend this exam three times and not because I failed, but because the first two times, the testing center was thinking that my time worth nothing. Long story short, 1st time they said that there is an update ongoing and they cannot held exams. After rescheduling with help of Prometric, at the time and date suggested by the testing center, I went for the 2nd attempt just to find out that the testing center was closed and they did cancel (?!) all exams without any information. Finally, 3rd time I did book with another testing center. In the past I used this testing center for Cisco certifications. As expected the things went smooth this time. I’m not blaming Juniper or Prometric for the first two experiences, but nevertheless I’m expecting at least that they will notify the testing center about this unacceptable behavior.

Finally, my blog will remain mainly focused on Cisco, but I will also add some articles about Juniper / Junos in form of beginners how-to. I hope my articles will become more complex as I will gain more Juniper knowledge and my idea is to develop some scenarios which involve Cisco and Juniper mix environment.

If you have questions please use the comment form, but please don’t ask questions that I cannot respond to (ex. questions from exam).

Juniper Training … Get a Free First Look

Today in the morning, I received a notification in my Inbox about a new person following  me on Twitter. As I took a look on Jonah Manning’s (that’s the name of the person following me) twitters, one subject caught my attention immediately: Training … Get a Free First Look”.

I followed the link and this lead me to an document ( which explains that Juniper is renewing it’s learning classes and they need beta testers for this. In the following lines I will use some lines from the link posted above, so please don’t sue me for copyright infringement, rather let me know if there is a problem and I’ll remove them.

So, what’s going on Juniper:
“When we write new training classes (or even significantly revise existing ones), we conduct various kinds of reviews to ensure that the training teaches the correct audience the correct skills in the correct way.  Sometimes, we get input from members of the “target audience” prior to writing the training (or even while writing the training), to find out what they really want to know, or to find out if a particular example is going to work well.  However, one of the biggest tests of a new class is the beta class.”

What is a beta class?
“A beta class is the first real-life test of a new class”

Where will them take place?
“It is conducted in our (n.a. Juniper’s) Sunnyvale offices using student guides and labs that are candidates for final release, and it is taught on a schedule that imitates the final class.  This is where we find out whether the four-day class really is four days, whether that slide on the second day really does explain four-byte AS numbers well enough, and whether that lab really does explain the topic accurately.  This is our opportunity to double-check that the class includes the correct material for the target audience, that it teaches that material well, and that there are no missing “building blocks” of knowledge.”

What they will teach you?
“… we have many kinds of classes (introductory, intermediate, and advanced) on many different topics (routing, VPNs, MPLS, security, management, etc.)”

How much does it cost?
“Participants in the beta classes are allowed to attend the class for free (however, all incidental expenses, including travel, are the participants’ responsibility)”

As you can see this beta classes are free, but unfortunately  for some of us, network engineers, will cost some money (at least for me since I’m in Europe) to attend, due to travel expenses and accommodation. Anyway the lucky ones, which are interested in seeing what’s the deal with Juniper and have some know-how about networking can attend this classes for free. To take advantage of this offer, you have to register. Please find out how to do that at:, the paragraph before last one.

OK, if you cannot participate in this program, but you still want to get familiar with Juniper, there is a good news, as you can find online some classes. And the best part, some of them are completely free, you just need an Internet connection and you’re good to go. You can find this online classes here: