Technology / Networking

Is JNCIA-Junos Worth It?

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Published on May 21, 2020

Cisco certifications are in high demand, so it is not surprising that IT pros might not consider alternative certs. And for a long time, competition didn't exist in the networking sector, making Cisco the go-to vendor for IT infrastructure and certification.

However, in the 90s, Juniper arrived on the switching and routing scene — and quickly became a new player in the space. In a few short years, Juniper found itself with about a third of the market share in traditionally Cisco-dominated areas. Throughout the years Juniper has established itself as a viable alternative to Cisco products.

Fast forward to the present and we have ourselves an important question: is earning JNCIA-Junos worth it? We plan on answering that question by taking a look at who this certification is aimed at, and what would make it a worthwhile path to follow. Let's dive in!

Who Should Earn the JNCIA-Junos?

This is an important question to start with, so we've gone ahead and outlined three situations where it might be beneficial to earn JNCIA-Junos certification. It is worth mentioning that this is an entry- to intermediate-level certification. It covers basic concepts of networking and routing  as they pertain to Juniper products. So, you should have some networking knowledge when attempting this cert — but there are no actual prerequisites to sit for the exams.

Scenario 1: You are starting out in IT and have basic networking knowledge

This is an associate-level exam, meaning that it covers all of the basics right from the start. The JNCIA-Junos is one of four certifications that lead toward Juniper's Data Center certification track, with the JNCIA-Junos being the first certification on the list.  

Even if you have a firm grasp on these topics, it is still useful to see how the Juniper devices apply these fundamentals within the software and hardware that controls your environment's networking infrastructure. If you are looking for a good place to start in the Juniper studying ecosystem, then this is a solid option for you to pursue.

Scenario 2: You are Cisco-trained and you need to learn how the Junos OS and syntax works.

Let's say you've landed a job at a company that only uses Juniper equipment in their environment. You've got networking theory and experience from other vendors like Cisco, but you need to learn the best practices and operational requirements from Juniper. Thus makes the JNCIA-Juno cert a good fit in this scenario because you already have networking fundamentals under your belt.

The exam covers Junos OS fundamentals, user interfaces, operational monitoring and maintenance, Routing Fundamentals, and Routing Policy and Firewall Filters. All of this knowledge is Juniper specific and explains familiar concepts to you in a Juniper context. Getting this certification will give you the necessary skills to undertake the day to day administrative tasks of running the equipment in a production environment.

Scenario 3: You want to stand out from your peers

Maybe you've never taken a Juniper certification exam, even though you work at a company that uses their products exclusively. If you want to distinguish yourself from your fellow employees, then getting the JNCIA-Junos will help you do it. It demonstrates to your manager that you have the hands-on experience to install, monitor and maintain the Juniper equipment that they have on-site.

You also show that you possess the theoretical knowledge that the Juniper ecosystem of certs requires. There are other benefits too, potentially. Certification could help you to get a promotion or a pay raise because you've validated that you have in-demand skills. Once you have gotten started down this certification track, more doors will open in your career as you build up your skills and qualifications.

Exam Prerequisites for the JN0-103: None

As mentioned earlier there are no required prerequisites for this exam. If you have previous experience with basic networking concepts or certifications like CompTIA Network+, then that will make your exam prep much easier. But this is not a requirement.

The JNCIA-Junos assumes that you have little to no experience in networking and routing. Therefore, it emphasizes networking fundamentals and Juniper-specific methods. This certification is a starting point for many people, so it is not reliant on having prior certifications.

The Bottom Line

Earning JNCIA-Junos certification is worth it because it is relatively straightforward to study for and opens up many possibilities for career advancement. If you fit into any of the outlined scenarios above, then this is the certification for you.

It is an excellent starting point and gives you the knowledge and foundational skills that will help you work toward a career in IT, regardless of what vendor. When it comes to networking, having a diverse skill set is always a plus.


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