Exam experience JNCIA-Junos

This posting is ~5 years years old. You should keep this in mind. IT is a short living business. This information might be outdated.

The Juniper Networks Certification Program (JNCP) consists of different tracks, which enable you to demonstrate your skills with Juniper products and technologies in the areas most pertinent to your job function and experience. There are three main areas:

  • Junos
  • Support
  • Product and Technology

The Junos area consists of three tracks:

  • Service Provider Routing and Switching
  • Enterprise Routing and Switching
  • Junos Security

The “Service Provider Routing and Switching” track focuses on service provider and telecommunication (M-, MX-Series, Routing with OSPF, BGP, MPLS etc.), the “Enterprise Routing and Switching” on enterprise routing and switching in LAN and WAN (EX-Series, MX-Series, Spanning-Tree, VLANs, Routing etc.) and the “Junos Security” track is focused on the Juniper Security products (SRX-Series, Routing, Firewall, VPN etc.). All three tracks have the Juniper Networks Certified Associate – Junos (JNCIA-Junos) as a prerequisite. This is an entry-level certification and it covers the following objectives:

  • Networking Fundamentals
  • Junos OS Fundamentals
  • User Interfaces
  • Junos Configuration Basics
  • Operational Monitoring and Maintenance
  • Routing Fundamentals
  • Routing Policy and Firewall Filters

The certification is compareable to Cisco CCNA (Routing & Switching, Security) or HP ATP (FlexNetworks or TippingPoint Security). The certification can be achieved by passing the JN0-102 exam, that can be booked at Pearson VUE and which is delivered as an proctored exam. The exam costs ~100 € (depending on taxes). A Fast Track program for different certifications is available, so also for the JNCIA-Junos. If you pass a pre-assessment exam, you can get a 50% discount exam voucher for Pearson VUE. I strongly recommend to take the pre-assessment exam and save 50% costs. The voucher can only be used one time. So if you fail the first attempted, you have to pay the full price for the second attempt. It’s strongly recommended to get a CertManager ID before you schedule the exam. Otherwise you can’t get your eCertificate. You can get a CertManager ID later and connect it with your Juniper accounts. You can get a CertManager ID here.

To pass the exam you have to answer 70 multiple-choice questions in 90 minutes. I can’t tell you the passing score, because it’s not officially published by Juniper. But it’s compareable to other entry-level exams I passed in the last years. Nothing special. You get the result (if you passed or failed) immediately after the exam. But, and this was new to me, you get only a provisional score report! Juniper states on its homepage:

Juniper Networks then performs industry standard statistical analyses on all exam results to ensure compliance with the Juniper Networks Candidate Agreement and JNCP exam security policies.

It seems that Juniper tries to avoid that people pass the exam that have used braindumps or that have thrown a coin at each question. You get the final score report within three business days. I passed the exam on friday (based on the provisional score report) and today I had the exam listed as “passed” in my CertManager account.

Exam preparation

You can prepare for the exam in many ways. Juniper offers three different trainings that cover some of the exam objectives:

You don’t have to take a classroom or virtual training, you can prepare yourself for the exam. Juniper offers an excellent free software documentation, the Fast Track Self-study Guides and different Day One Guides (e.g. Day One: Exploring the Junos CLI). If you like CBT, try the course on Pluralsight: Juniper JNCIA-Junos – Introduction to Junos OS (thanks to Chris Frisch for developing the course!). Hands-on experience is strongly recommended! You can get cheap SRX 100 or 110 on eBay. Or try Juniper Firefly Perimeter, a virtual SRX. You can use it for 30 days without a license. Don’t make the mistake and buy Juniper 5GT or SSG series! They are running ScreenOS, not Junos! If you think you are well prepared, try the practice test that is offered by Juniper. If you pass the practice test schedule your exam at Pearson VUE.

The exam

I passed the Fast Track pre-assessment exam some weeks ago and scheduled an appointment for last friday (24. October). I had not much time to prepare for the exam. I used the Fast Track Self-study Guides (two PDF with ~ 160 pages) and a Juniper Firefly Perimeter to prepare for the exam. Since I’m quite familar with the SSG and SRX, I know how firewalls policies, routing and routing protocols work. As above mentioned the exam consists of 70 questions that have to be answered in 90 minutes. There is no bonus time for non-native speaker. Some questions can be answered really quick, but some questions, especially question with an exhibit, need more time. As far as I’ve seen all exam objectives were covered. I can’t reveal any details, but reading the study guides is not enough to pass the exam! You should be familiar with converting decimal to binary and IPv6. You should also be familiar with IP routing, subnetting, longest route match etc. Know the Junos CLI and the syntax for the important commands. You should also know how Junos routing engine and packet forwarding engine act together. Don’t waste to much time with basic questions. And very important: READ CAREFULLY! Some questions are nasty if you haven’t read the question, the exhibit and the answers…

I finished the exam after round about 60 minutes and passed it. I felt the exam as challenging, compared to other entry-level exams.

What’s next? I think I will start prepare for JNCIS-SEC and maybe JNCIS-ENT. The latter is more of a hobby because my employer does not sell Juniper EX. But in any case: It opens future options and learning new things is always a good thing.

Patrick Terlisten
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