The JNCIA Experience

The JNCIA Experience
Photo by Marcin Jozwiak / Unsplash

I really wanted to be lazy and just post the video I shot for this post instead of just typing it out, but the upload failed twice already—too much work!

Anyway, what I wanted to talk about was the Juniper JNCIA-Junos Exam I took yesterday—and passed (hooray)! Juniper is a network vendor, similar to Cisco, and the particular certification is the same level as the CCNA that I took and passed back in March. Both exams are associate level, but that is about where the similarities end.

There were really only three things I wanted to share about my experience to hopefully help as you get ready to take the exam.

First thing: The software

Pearson OnVue is the same software that Cisco use to deliver their at-home, proctored exams. It doesn’t play well with macOS. The software is required to have elevated privileges to the point that is conflicts with the security settings of macOS enough that I gave up after much research. I ended up just running Windows with bootcamp and the software passed all the checks no problem. Just maybe think about whether you really want to leave software that has the ability to remotely watch, listen, and block you out of control of your own computer. I deleted the windows partition after completing the exam, but you do you.

Next: The question levels 

There is no shortage of websites advising those who have tried to pass the CCNA and failed to “just get a Juniper certification—it’s easier.” I won’t say that the questions were easier, however I will say that they were simple. Let me explain. Where the questions on the CCNA exam are layer-y, filled with nuance, and generally complex, convention of the Juniper exam seemed much more in tin with the mantra, “Test one variable at a time.” Sure there were some downy-soft, pillowy questions, but they were balanced with questions that Cisco is too shy to add to the battery of questions for their fundamental networking exam. No magic or secrets though, just the import and export or routing policies, firewall filters, etc. that Juniper broadcast will be on the exam.

Last: So just get ready

Being that the test has advanced routing as part of the question pool, might you be tempted to cheat by using a brain dump? Don’t! Just use the material freely provided on the Juniper website. It’s all you really need. Besides, if you use a brain dump (one of those dodgy websites that sells exam questions and answers), you will eventually regret it. If not on the day at work when you realize you are ill-equipped for the task at hand, then certainly you wish you never handed over your personally identifying information when that website is in court for copywrite infringement and ends up handing over your name to the company whose exam you cheated to pass in the first place.

That can be problematic for a few reasons, but I will just say that Cisco have reportedly in the past invalidated certifications for those users whose names appeared in brain-dump website’s sales databases and gone so far as to bar those users from future exams. Seems like a career-limiting mistake to me. 

SO… just get ready for the exam the right way, and don’t worry if you don’t pass. Exams come and go, but your learning is for a lifetime. Keep going, you will get there. And while I’m selling you a load of bumperstickers, here’s one more to leave you with: Friends don’t let friends use brain dumps.

Until next time, and as always