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Juniper Networks Certification Guide: Overview And Career Paths

Juniper Networks Certification Guide: Overview And Career Paths
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If you're looking for a new networking career opportunity or if you work for a company that utilizes Juniper Network products and services, participating in the Juniper Networks Certification Program is a definite career-enhancing move.

Juniper Networks helps companies build high-performance networks by providing networking equipment, services and its own network operating system. With about 9,000 employees worldwide, Juniper Networks provides networking services to the world's top 100 service providers as well as banks, stock exchanges, government agencies, health care organizations and many other industries.

To support the wide array of networking technologies and customers who use them, the Juniper Networks Certification Program offers several credentials at the Associate, Specialist, Professional and Expert levels.

A Juniper Networks certification can distinguish you from noncertified peers, provide career growth opportunities, give you greater insight into Juniper Networks' products and services and benefit your customers.

Juniper Networks Certification Program Overview

Juniper Networks' Certification Program (JNCP) has several tracks, categorized by career path, that are based on Juniper's technologies, products and services. JNCP tracks include:

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

We refer to these certifications collectively as "network engineer" certifications because they're all geared toward network engineering professionals. Each track is covered in more detail in the following sections. You can also find more details at the Juniper Networks Certification Tracks website.

Each certification requires one exam, along with any prerequisites. Associate-level certification exams cost $200, Specialist exams are $300 and Professional exams are $400, all of which are offered through Pearson VUE. Expert-level certifications require a hands-on lab exam, which costs $1,400 and is available only at select Juniper Network testing centers.

Juniper Networks requires certification holders to recertify every three years to maintain their credentials. For Associate, Specialist and Professional certifications, credential holders must pass the current exam. Unlike other IT certification programs, however, passing an exam (or taking an approved course) also renews all lower-level certifications achieved on the same track. To renew an Expert-level certification, candidates must pass the current Professional-level exam.

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JNCIA-Junos Certification

The Juniper Networks Certified Associate - Junos (JNCIA-Junos) is the entry-level certification for most of the company's network engineer certifications.

This credential is geared toward individuals who have basic experience with the Juniper Networks Junos OS, and understand the fundamentals of networking, routing and switching. You must obtain this certification to advance to the Specialist, Professional and Expert certs in the Service Provider Routing and Switching, Enterprise Routing and Switching, and Junos Security tracks.

The JN0-102 exam has 65 multiple-choice questions and takes up to 90 minutes to complete.

JNCP Enterprise Routing And Switching Track

The JNCP Enterprise Routing and Switching track is useful for individuals proficient in networking technologies in general and Juniper Networks' enterprise routing and switching platforms specifically. The four certifications in this track form a certification ladder, with each certification acting as a prerequisite to the next cert in the sequence:

  • Juniper Networks Certified Associate - Junos (JNCIA-Junos)
  • Juniper Networks Certified Specialist Enterprise Routing and Switching (JNCIS-ENT)
  • Juniper Networks Certified Professional Enterprise Routing and Switching (JNCIP-ENT)
  • Juniper Networks Certified Expert Enterprise Routing and Switching (JNCIE-ENT)

Beginning at the bottom of the ladder, the JNCIA-Junos certification is a prerequisite to the JNCIS-ENT certification.



The JNCIS-ENT recognizes networking professionals with fundamental to intermediate knowledge of routing and switching, platform configuration and troubleshooting in Junos. Candidates must pass a single written exam (JN0-343 or JN0-346), which contains 65 multiple-choice questions and takes up to 90 minutes to complete.

JNCIS-ENT is a prerequisite to the professional-level JNCIP-ENT certification, which is pertinent to networking professionals who have extensive knowledge of enterprise routing and switching technologies, platform configuration and Junos OS troubleshooting skills. Candidates can take exam JN0-643 or JN0-646, both of which have 65 multiple-choice questions and take up to 120 minutes to complete.

Note: Juniper lets certification candidates for the Specialist and Professional credentials in the Enterprise Routing and Switching track take one of two exams. The newer exams  ̶  JN0-346 and JN0-646  ̶  include questions on enterprise switching based on Junos Enhanced Layer 2 Software (ELS).

The JNCIP-ENT is a prerequisite to the Expert-level JNCIE-ENT certification, which is the highest certification in the Enterprise Routing and Switching track. This certification requires a practical exam that tests the networking professional's ability to deploy, configure, manage and troubleshoot Junos-based enterprise routing and switching platforms using a variety of devices, protocols and features. Candidates can enroll in a JNCIE bootcamp to prepare for the JPR-943 practical exam, which lasts up to eight hours.

Junos Security Track

Junos' Security certifications include Associate, Specialist, Professional and Expert levels. The first step is the associate-level JNCIA-Junos certification. It's a prerequisite to the next certification, the Juniper Networks Certified Specialist Security (JNCIS-SEC). This intermediate-level certification is applicable to candidates who configure and troubleshoot Junos' software for SRX Series devices, and understand security technologies. The JN0-332 written exam takes up to 90 minutes and consists of 65 questions.

JNCIS-SEC is a prerequisite to the Juniper Networks Certified Professional Security (JNCIP-SEC) credential. It recognizes networking professionals who are highly familiar with security, platform configuration and troubleshooting of the Junos software for SRX Series devices. The JN0-633 written exam has 65 multiple-choice questions and takes up to 120 minutes.

JNCIP-SEC is a prerequisite to the Juniper Networks Certified Expert Security (JNCIE-SEC), the most advanced certification in the Security track. The JNCIE-SEC identifies professionals who implement, configure, manage and troubleshoot Junos-based security platforms. The JPR-932 practical exam lasts for up to eight hours.

Junos Service Provider Routing And Switching Track

Like other Juniper Networks certification tracks, the Service Provider Routing and Switching track has Associate, Specialist, Professional and Expert certifications. JNCIA-Junos is the foundational certification from which a candidate can achieve the Juniper Networks Certified Internet Specialist (JNCIS-SP), then Juniper Networks' Certified Internet Professional (JNCIP-SP) and the Juniper Networks Certified Internet Expert (JNCIE-SP) credentials.

Where the Enterprise Routing and Switching track focuses mainly on data center design principles, as well as firewalls and VPNs, the Service Provider Routing and Switching track zeroes in on WAN design and Juniper Networks' QFabric for Layer 2/Layer 3 switching.

JNCIS-SP identifies individuals with beginner to intermediate knowledge of routing and switching implementations in Junos. The JN0-360 written exam takes up to 90 minutes to complete and has 70 questions.

JNCIP-SP applies to experienced networking professionals with advanced knowledge of routing technologies and platform configuration, and can troubleshoot Junos OS. The JN0-661 written exam takes up to 120 minutes and has 65 questions.

JNCIE-SP is the pinnacle certification in this track. It requires passing an eight-hour practical exam (NPR-960) for networkers who implement, troubleshoot and maintain Juniper Networks service provider networks.

Junos Data Center Track

The Data Center track is the newest addition to the Juniper Networks Certification program. Professionals with a certification in this track deploy, configure and manage data center technologies and the Junos OS as well as troubleshoot issues. There are currently only two certifications available for this track – the Juniper Networks Certified Professional Data Center (JNCIP-DC) and the associated Expert-level certification (JNCIE-DC).

The JNCIP-DC certification takes on the Juniper Networks Certified Specialist Enterprise Routing and Switching (JNCIS-ENT) certification as a prerequisite, and requires candidates to pass one exam. The JN0-680 exam has 65 questions and takes up to 120 minutes to complete. Candidates are expected to understand chassis fabric (physical and virtual), IP fabric, data center interconnects and more.

At the Expert level is the JNCIE-DC, which recognizes professionals who build, configure and manage data center networks that include Juniper Networks' MX Series and QFX Series devices. They must also thoroughly understand several other technologies, such as Clos IP fabric, Ethernet VPNs, virtual extensible VLANs and Class of Service (CoS) features. Like other Expert certifications, candidates must pass an eight-hour lab exam.

Related Jobs, Training and Resources

Juniper Networks' certifications most commonly lead to network engineer positions, either with Juniper Networks itself, or with consulting firms that support the company's products. You can also find network administrator, network security engineer and network operations center (NOC) engineer job roles associated with Juniper certs as well as technical sales positions.

More than 2,800 positions bubble up on such job boards as Indeed and SimplyHired when searching for the keywords "Juniper Networks," a fair number of which require or desire a Juniper Networks certification.

With the average network engineer salary starting at $103,000 nationwide, and those at Juniper Networks earning in the $118,000 to $143,000 range, getting the needed experience and a few Juniper certifications can pay off handsomely. Achieving salaries in the higher end of the range typically means having five to nine years of experience and possibly a bachelor's degree (or higher).

Although each certification track's web page lists some exam prep materials, a good first stop is Juniper's Certification Quick Links page. Here you'll find a list of certification tracks, exam objectives, recommended training, learning bytes, course materials, books, practice exams and more. Learning bytes are short tidbits of information that help you learn about various Juniper hardware and software technologies. Another handy resource is Junos Genius, a certification prep app with practice questions.

Candidates can take training courses, boot camps and skills camps through Authorized Education Partners worldwide to get hands-on experience with Juniper equipment, which is needed to succeed on certification exams. The Juniper Training website provides a link to recommended courses and boot camps (where applicable and available) as well as other exam preparation materials.

Bootcamps are five-day, intensive, lab-based training courses for expert-level exams. Juniper Networks' boot camps typically cost more than $4,000, although prices vary depending on provider and location. (Some boot camps include a complementary exam voucher.) To participate in a boot camp, you must have already earned the prerequisite certifications for whatever exam(s) you're preparing for.

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