Is the JNCIA-Cloud Worth It?
| technology | networking - Graeme Messina

Is the JNCIA-Cloud Worth It?

The Juniper network certification program allows participants to demonstrate that they are able to work with Cloud networking architecture. These architectures include items such as multi clouds software-defined networks and other cloud Technologies. Successful candidates show that they understand how to develop, deploy and implement the configurations of many different kinds of juniper networks cloud Technologies.

This is the first of many certifications on this particular track and the cloud certification track is an associate level this particular certification was created for network professionals with basic to introductory-level skills with juniper networks cloud-based network architectures. Candidates must learn fairy and best practices in order to successfully write this exam and pass. Passing this exam verifies that the candidate understands the basics of cloud-based networking principles and technologies as they fly to Juniper networks.

What is the JNCIA-Cloud?

The JNCIA-Cloud certification is the first of many certifications on this particular certification track and this cloud certification is an associate level qualification. The JNCIA-Cloud certification was created for network professionals with basic to introductory-level skills with Juniper networks and cloud-based network architectures. Candidates must learn theory and best practices in order to successfully write this exam and pass. Passing this exam verifies that the candidate understands the basics of cloud-based networking principles and technologies as they apply to Juniper networks.

What Does the JNCIA-Cloud Test?

The exam objectives of this certification cover quite a few different domains, all relating to key concepts as they relate to IT fundamentals. The full document containing all of the exam objectives can be found here.

  • Cloud Architectures
  • NFV
  • SDN
  • SDN WAN
  • Cloud Monitoring
  • Cloud Managed Services
  • Cloud Security

Cloud architectures –  Identify the concepts and purpose of different important parts of cloud networking.  Candidates should know about public private and hybrid cloud Solutions. Candidates must know about XaaS components that are offered as services in Cloud environments. They must also understand underlay vs overlay.

NFV: Candidates must identify the concepts, pros and functionality of Network Function Virtualisation. These technologies include the following: vMX, vSRX, cSRX, and NFX use cases, NFV framework and VNFs.

SDN: This section focuses on areas such as SDN types, Contrail Cloud, Networking and CEM. You will also be tested on your knowledge of OpenStack, NSX, Orchestration and Automation.

                

SDN WAN: In this section, candidates must demonstrate knowledge of architectural elements relating to Juniper Networks WAN SDN offerings. These are NorthStar and NorthStar Planner.

                

Cloud Monitoring: This section requires that candidates are able to identify the methods that Juniper Networks uses to analyze cloud networking operations and devices. These items include AppFormix smart networks, Telemetry and alerts.

Cloud Managed Services: Here a candidate must be able to identify Juniper Networks cloud services solutions or components such as CSO, vCPE/NFV (distributed), SD-LAN, SD-WAN, CSO with NGFW.

Cloud Security: Cloud Security requires that a candidate is able to identify the concepts or functionality that is required when securing cloud networks. These items include Connected Security and Policy Enforcer, SkyATP, Security Director and Policy Enforcer, and JATAP.         

How Much Does the JNCIA-Cloud Exam Cost?

The JNCIA-Cloud exam currently costs $200 USD and is a multiple-choice format and there are 65 questions. You have 90 minutes to complete the exam and there are no prerequisites. This exam has a variable pass rate that is approximately between 60 and 70%.

What Experience Do You Need for the JNCIA-Cloud?

There is no experience required in order for candidates to write this exam, however the Juniper website does say that the exam is "Designed for networking professionals with introductory-level knowledge of Juniper Networks cloud-based networking architectures…". There are also no prerequisites in order to qualify to write the exam. However, it is advisable that candidates have at least a rudimentary understanding of networking principles. This will make many of the principles far easier to conceptualize.

Who Should Take the JNCIA-Cloud?

The JNCIA-Cloud certification was designed with networking professionals in mind. If you are interested in working with Juniper equipment, or if you are working in a network environment that uses Juniper equipment then you will find this entry-level certification quite useful, especially as it relates to WAN and cloud technologies. The basic principles that the course material teaches might have some applicability as far as networking goes, but the exam does concentrate on Juniper equipment and software.

JNCIA-Cloud for a Network Engineer in a Juniper Environment

If you are already working with Juniper equipment then this certification will be a good fit for you. It focuses on the technologies that are required to establish and maintain connectivity between sites and cloud platforms using Juniper equipment and software. The exam will teach you how to configure equipment and setup network architectures with software defined networking and SD-WAN. Learning how to configure these cloud environments will help to advance your skills and knowledge, and could help you to move up in your organization as you take on more challenging and complex networking tasks. Network Engineers make between $51,000 and $108,000 per year, according to payscale.com

JNCIA-Cloud for a Juniper Cloud Engineer

If you already work with juniper equipment and you manage SDN and cloud infrastructure then this certification might be a little too entry level for your role- but it is still an important building block towards building towards a JNCIE-Cloud certification, which is the most advanced cert in this range. This means that in order to get there you will have to work your way through the JNCIA-Coud, JNCIS-Cloud, JNCIP-Cloud, and then the JNCIE-Cloud. By following through with these certifications you can expect to find yourself in a league where there are not too many other people with equal knowledge and experience. This has the knock on effect of giving you more employment opportunities wherever organizations use Juniper equipment. Cloud Engineers earn an average salary of $114,589 according to indeed.com.

Is the JNCIA-Cloud Worth It?

This certification will only really make sense for individuals that plan on working with alternative networking vendors other than Cisco or Nortel. You might even be in an organization that uses a mixture of different vendors, as not all companies can upgrade their entire infrastructure all at once. This means that there are certainly opportunities where a Juniper certification will hold you in better stead than another vendor, especially as it relates to cloud technologies. However, it is worth noting that Cisco holds the majority of the market share in enterprise routers, so you will have to decide if you will use the cloud based skills that you learn with this certification.

Using the JNCIA-Cloud to Learn Skills

This certification is light enough for relative newcomers to learn important configuration and management skills to operate, configure and set up Juniper cloud equipment. It is advanced enough to teach technical skills that are important to understand for modern network engineers, so it is definitively a good source of learning new skills.  

Using the JNCIA-Cloud to Validate Skills

If you are already using Juniper equipment but you have not formalized your knowledge, then getting started with the JNCIA-Cloud is an excellent starting point. It will help to validate your skills, and reinforce the correct best practice methods that are advised and taught by Juniper. Once you have learned this entry level certification then you are able to move on to more advanced qualifications that will not only continue to build upon your already learned knowledge.  

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