Juniper: Is It Time For A New Design Certification – with Liz Burns

by Mirek Burnejko

Liz BurnsThis is a short QA session with Liz Burns. Liz is the Director of Education Services Certification and Marketing Programs in Juniper Networks. She is amazingly helpful for the Juniper community.

Today we talk about changes in the Juniper Networks certification program.

In this QA session you will find:

  • What changes were introduced with the new JNCIP-SEC?
  • Why Juniper decided to retire JNCIA-FW?
  • Are we going to see changes in JNCIE and a new Design certification this year?

Mirek Burnejko: Hello Liz. It’s a pleasure to speak with for the second time. Please remind our readers what is your role in Juniper Networks.

Liz Burns: Hi Mirek. Thank you for inviting me back! I am responsible for the global Juniper Networks Certification program. My team manages exam development, exam delivery, operations, customer service and marketing. We are the “certification geeks” within Juniper!

MB: I would love to ask you a few questions about actual changes in your certification system. A few weeks ago you implemented a new version of the JNCIP-SEC exam (JN0-633). What changes were introduced to the exam?

LB: Actually we are continuously updating our exams. Sometimes you will see an exam number changes, like recently with the JNCIP-SEC and the JNCIS-FWV. This indicates we have made substantial changes to the exam blueprint/objectives – to the extent we want our audience to understand that the prep process for the new exam may be different then what was required for the previous exam. We will also do “silent” updates – where the exam content is updated but we do not change the exam number as the blueprint/objectives for the exam remain consistent, with no impact on the prep process for the candidate. We do these updates for several reasons, including:

  1. Simple refresh of an exam that is two years old, so that people doing a re-certification do not have to take the same exam again.
  2. Security update required because the exam content has become widely available in the market place.
  3. Update required by changes in the features/functions of the represented technology.

We are now in a regular cadence of updating 3 to 4 exams a quarter. This is all part of our commitment to building the best IT certification program available.

MB: Should we expect some changes with JNCIS-SEC and JNCIE-SEC?

Juniper NetworksLB: You can expect updates to any of our exams as need arises. However, I do not see any significant changes in the content/tracks for the core Junos tracks – ENT, SEC, SP.

We will be adding additional forms to all the JNCIE exams this year as those exams have been out there for two years and it is time.

MB: Why you decided to retire JNCIA-FW?

LB: The FWV exams are our highest volume exams in the Product/Technology tracks and are part of our partner compliance requirements. So we are committed to keeping this track current. We did a much needed update on the JNCIS-FWV exam recently and decided at that time to collapse the two certs into one. You will see us doing that on most of the Product/Technology tracks moving forward. We felt there was significant overlap between the JNCIA and JNCIS FWV exams. So again – made it easier for our candidates by collapsing that content into one Specialist level certification.

MB: Can you describe the actual changes with JNCIS-FW?

LB: Structurally we took out the JNCIA-FWV as you noted above. Also combined the A and S level content into one exam. For details on the new exam blueprint/objectives candidates should to go to the exam description.

MB: I would love to talk about your two new exams JNCIS-SA and JNCIS-QF. Who should start thinking about these certifications?

QFabricLB: These two certifications are on our product/technology track – so more product focused in their content. So anyone responsible for implementing, administering or troubleshooting Junos Pulse Gateways and specifically the Junos Pulse Secure Access Service would benefit from the JNCIS-SA training and certification. Similarly, anyone working with QFabric systems in the data center would benefit from the JNCIS-QF training and certification.

MB: Do you provide any materials for JNCIS-SA or JNCIS-QF?

LB: We have detailed training for both – available as classroom based or on line instructor led. Both Juniper and our education partners provide this training. Interested individuals can go here to learn more. If candidates cannot get to an instructor lead class they can purchase the training materials – without labs – at our courseware store.

MB: The last question. Juniper still doesn’t have any design certification. Are you going too introduce this year something like Juniper Networks Certified Design Expert (JNCDE)?

LB: We are still considering our design strategy. We may develop a Data Center Design certification this year or early next year, but no firm plans are in place.

MB: Thank you so much Liz.

Thank you. I really appreciate this opportunity and all the good information you provide about IT certification programs. I also encourage your readers to keep up on the latest JNCP news by following us on Twitter – @JuniperCertify, by participating in the discussions in the certification forum on J-Net and by reading the great blog articles from JNCP certified individuals on the My Certification Journey blog.

[This is part of the Interviews with Vendors Series]