Should Juniper Networks Certification Be Your Next Step?

By | October 31, 2013

juniper, it certification exams, junos, networks technology So, you want a fulfilling and financially rewarding career in technology, perhaps software engineering or networking. Which certifications would you look at? We’ve discussed some entry level certifications here and here, yet, it never hurts to look outside the box.

Recently, Glassdoor have conducted a survey and compiled the list of the top 25 companies with the highest base salaries for software engineers. Any guesses who pays the most? While Cisco, Google, Yahoo!, etc. have made it high up the list, they have been outshined by the company many wouldn’t think of: Juniper Networks:

The full list is available on Glassdoor’s website.

With these figures, Juniper Networks is worth taking a closer look at. Are these people sitting on a goldmine or what?

Even if you aren’t ready to send out your job application to Juniper Networks, what’s not to me missed is Juniper’s Network Certification Program. Is this something to consider? Yet, let’s look at the company first.

Juniper Networks, Inc.

Founded in 1996 and gone public in 1999, Juniper Networks hit the ground running and started shipping its first product, the M40 Router, in September 1998. By 2000, it took 30% of the core router market, mainly at Cisco’s expense. And yes, these two companies have always been competitors, even though Cisco’s market share is at least twice as big these days.

Juniper has always been a solid company, since the time it was started by Pradeep Sindhu, a principal scientist at Xerox’s Palo Alto Research Center back in the day. He brought in talented management, secured investments and developed innovative products, which led to Juniper having had of the most successful public offerings in history: during its first day as publicly traded company, Juniper’s stock grew by 190%.

Today, the company designs and sells high-performance Internet Protocol network products and services. Juniper’s main products include T-series, M-series, E-series, MX-series, and J-series families of routers, EX-series Ethernet switches and SRX-series security products. Junos, Juniper’s own network operating system, runs on most of their products.

Is Juniper really so great to work for?

We wish we had some personal experiences to share on this one! It certainly does not sound bad! In 2009, Fortune Magazine named Juniper among 100 Best Companies to Work for. The same year, the company ranked 4th in Fortune Magazine’s World’s Most Admired Companies list in Networking Communications category. From 2006 to 2011, Juniper kept receiving the Association of Support Professionals’ The Year’s Ten Best Web Support Sites award. Not bad, is it?

Yet, there is a query we all can’t stop thinking of: how do they manage to pay the highest salaries? While Juniper’s stock looks good, they aren’t the only ones doing well, right? And Cisco has more than double Juniper’s market share. So how can these guys afford it?

Experts tend to agree that paying salaries way above the industry average, Juniper attracts and retains talented professionals. A lot should probably be attributed to the company’s internal spending management, less ‘pizzazz’ and a little less of that Google-style office fluff: Juniper considers salary to be the primary motivation tool.

So, what about Juniper’s certifications?

The Juniper Networks Certification Program (JNCP) consists of 2 areas: Junos-based and platform-specific, multi-tiered tracks. The certifications validate your skills and understanding of various areas in Juniper’s technology.

Similar to Cisco Certifications, JNCP features various tracks, tiered from Associate to Expert level. Three tracks are based on the Junos operating system, while others cover various aspects Juniper platforms and equipment.

Each track comes in the following levels:

  • Juniper Networks Certified Associate
  • Juniper Networks Certified Specialist
  • Juniper Networks Certified Professional
  • Juniper Networks Certified Expert

The 3 Junos-based tracks/specializations are:

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

Besides Junos, JNCP includes a set of Product & Technology Certifications:

  • E-Series
  • Firewall/ VPN
  • SSL
  • IDP
  • Junos Pulse Access Control
  • Junos Pulse Secure Access
  • QFabric
  • Wireless LAN
  • WX Series

Here’s what is available as of today:

Level

Product and Technology Tracks

E-SERIES

FIREWALL/ VPN

SSL

IDP

JUNOS PULSE ACCESS CONTROL

JUNOS PULSE SECURE ACCESS

QFABRIC

WIRELESS LAN

WX SERIES

JNCIE

JNCIP

JNCIP-E

JNCIS

JNCIS-E

JNCIS-FWV

JNCIS-SSL

JNCIS-AC

JNCIS-SA

JNCIS-QF

JNCIS-WLAN

JNCIA

JNCIA-E

JNCIA-FWV

JNCIA-SSL

JNCIA-IDP

JNCIA-WX

 

Juniper Certification Exams are administered worldwide by authorized testing centers (including Pearson Vue who administers Cisco Certification programs, by the way).

With Juniper’s technology, reputation, sales and revenue going strong year after year, their certification program becomes a sensible option for many of us. Stay tuned as we go over Juniper’s individual certifications and exams in our next post.

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