Exam Review – JNCIA-ER (JN0-342)

Published On 2010/09/22 | By Kurt Bales | Certification

As a Network Janitor, I spend a lot of time mopping up other peoples mess!  When called in for a consulting job, it doesnt pay to be a vendor bigot. This is why we decided that staff at my company would need to get trained in the key vendors in the networking space. We identified our first 3 targets as Cisco, Juniper and HP. We then started working towards improving our partner levels with each of these vendors, and this is a process that is still underway.

The partner process opens up the requirement for X number of individuals with A, B and C qualifications – Juniper is no different. There was a requirement for at least one career certified individual (along with the obligatory sales and SE “certification). Being no stranger to certification, I felt I should at least attempt to meet all three requirements. Passing the Sales and SE was somewhat trivial, but Juniper has provided many good resources to accomplish this in their Partner Portal.

I had registered with the Juniper Fast Track program back in 2008, but had not really attempted to complete the process – I guess I took the slower track?! Back in 2008 my Account Manager sent me on the Junos as a Second Language course as an incentive to buy more Juniper kit. They threw in a copy of “Junos Enterprise Routing” and a Juniper Sports bag!

I had started to study for the JNCIS-ER (second level) exam when I saw the announcement from Juniper that they had decided to retire the JNCIx-ER and -EX certification and replace them with a single -ENT course. I decided to “wimp out” and instead sit the JNCIA-ER (entry level exam), as this still met the requirements for my partner status. I made this decision on Wednesday, sat the Fast Track prelim exam online, and booked the exam for 10am last Saturday.

I arrived an hour early (I live about an hour out of Sydney so I like to leave plenty of time), and after the usual pre-exam processing and ritual emptying of pockets, I made my way to my assigned seat.

What follows is my cliff notes from the JNCIA-ER:

  • The first thing I noticed was that I was able to go back and change questions after submitting them in the exam. This really took me by surprise after so many Cisco exams. I really had to resist the urge to swap and change my answers. I did give in at the end and did a complete review of the exam.
  • My allocated question set included 60 questions in 90 minutes. All multiple choice. No Lab/Sim questions.
  • There seemed to be a lot of product specific questions – “What is the default setting for X on the M Series Platform” etc.
  • Very few of my questions were protocol or technology specific, but rather “Which command implements feature Y”.
  • There seemed to be a surprising number of questions relating to the J-Web interface. “Where would you configure Z in the J-Web Interface”. Now Juniper have spent a lot of time making J-Web be pretty and functional, but to be completely honest I had never logged into this interface in the 12 months I have played on Juniper kit (Well… until I got back from the exam at least!). I’m a Network Engineer, not a Windows Admin 😉 I do everything from the CLI.
  • If you managed to work your way through the Fast Track material, and were able get some hands on with the Junos platform, you should not have problem passing this exam. (Lets just say I had more than 2/3rds my allotted time left over when I left the room, much to the annoyance of the other candidates who started at the same time I did).

In the end I passed this exam, and am actually looking forward to reading what the curriculum is for the JNCIS-ENT certificatiom, and would like to make a start on that soon after it is announced. Part of my certification road map has the JNCIE-ER (-ENT?) as a probability within the next 18-24 months, so I plan to put a lot more effort into the Juniper product portfolio.

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About The Author

Kurt is a Network Engineer based out of Sydney Australia. He a the Senior Network Engineer at ICT Networks where he spends his time building Service Provider networks, and enterprise WAN environments. He holds his CCNP and JNCIE-ENT, and currently studying for his JNCIE-SP and CCIE R&S. Find out more about Kurt at http://network-janitor.net/ and you can follow him on Twitter.