Juniper Networks Certifications for Networking Jobs - dummies

Juniper Networks Certifications for Networking Jobs

By Peter H. Gregory, Bill Hughes

Juniper Networks makes sure that Cisco doesn’t have all the fun. This is a good option if you are hoping on getting a networking job. The product lineup by Juniper Networks offers high-speed switching for enterprises and Internet service providers (ISPs). Juniper Networks is frequently second or third in market share across their range of solutions, which is not shabby at all.

Describing the Juniper Networks Technical Certification Program (JNTCP) is not easy because they have 19 certifications. Understanding which one is right for you involves understanding Juniper’s primary product lines, target markets, and sales channels. Buckle up and let’s start breaking this down.

First, the four levels of certification, in order of increasing difficulty, are

  • Juniper Network Certified Internet Associate (JNCIA)

  • Juniper Network Certified Internet Specialist (JNCIS)

  • Juniper Network Certified Internet Professional (JNCIP)

  • Juniper Network Certified Internet Expert (JNCIE)

All Juniper networks certifications start with one of these four levels. For example, an associate-level certification in Junos (JNCIA-Junos), the operating system used by most Juniper Network products, is a prerequisite for most of the other certifications.

In addition, Juniper Networks sells to enterprises and service providers, primarily Internet service providers. There are important differences between private network belonging to an enterprise (ENT) and Internet service providers (SP). For example, most enterprises have slow periods when they can accept some downtime. ISPs must support traffic on an almost continuous basis. Also, ISPs need accurate information flow into the billing system but enterprises want to track usage.

One area that is similar for enterprises and service providers is the network’s information security. The tools and strategies for ensuring information security are identical whether the customer is an enterprise or a service provider, so Juniper Networks has a single certification track for people responsible for information security.

Here is a matrix of ten of the certifications offered by Juniper Networks.

Juniper Networks certifications for network engineers.
Juniper Networks certifications for network engineers.

So far, so good. The next consideration is that Juniper Networks sells their solutions not only through a direct sales force to enterprises (ENTs) and service providers (SPs) but also through resellers. These resellers augment Juniper’s direct sales force. Many of these resellers add value by offering network engineering services to their enterprise and service provider customers.

The network engineers employed by reseller organizations can earn the same certifications as everyone else at the associate and specialist levels. A source of confusion is that network engineers who work for these resellers are called support specialists, and it is easy to confuse this title with the level of Specialist used for the Juniper Network Certified Internet Specialist (JNCIS).

In other words, network engineers working for a reseller first earn their Juniper Network Certified Internet Associate for Junos (JNCIA-Junos) like everyone else. Next, they earn their Juniper Network Certified Internet Specialist-Enterprise (JNCIS-ENT) like everyone else.

Finally, these network engineers (also called service specialist) can pursue a certification strictly for resellers called Juniper Network Certified Service Professional-Enterprise (JNCSP-ENT) at the professional level. These service specialists can also earn JNCSP-SP to supporting ISPs and JNCSP-SP to become a professional on security issues.

That makes 13 certifications. The last several are related to specific product lines:

  • E-Series: The E-Series routers are broadband edge routers.

  • Firewall/VPN: Juniper makes a number of solutions for firewalls and to create VPNs.

  • Wireless LAN: In 2010, Juniper acquired Trapeze Networks, a company that makes wireless LANs.

  • QFabric: These products provide distributed connectivity for data centers.

The E-series has three levels of certification: associate (JNCIA-E), specialist (JNCIS-E), and professional (JNCIP-E). Do not confuse the E here with ENT, which refers to enterprise. And this brings us to 19 certifications for Juniper.