This was my first Juniper test. I used only the free material provided by Juniper (of which I took notes). I found the subject matter to be very easy, and at this point in my career I definitely should, as this exam is essentially the “CCNA of Juniper.” However, I will say that I found the provided training material to be quite lacking compared to the final content on the exam. If I was just starting out in networking and took this exam first instead of the CCNA, it would have been much more difficult because there are some networking basics, such as conversion of binary to decimal and the operational differences between hubs, switches and routers, that I don’t recall seeing in the free training material.
So, with my introduction to using another vendor’s equipment, I can definitely say that all the important concepts are exactly the same, they are just implemented differently. This is exactly what I was hoping to get out of studying Juniper. I now know with confidence that I can take the things I’ve learned from Cisco and apply them to other vendor’s equipment with relative ease — it’s really just a matter of learning the syntax.
And on that note, I have heard people say that after they got into Juniper (coming from Cisco), they liked the syntax much better. I have to say that I am not there yet. Configuring Junos does not yet feel as natural to me as it does on Cisco. I’ll admit, I do like the way some things are organized in the command structure, but overall I still prefer Cisco’s way of doing things at this point.
Now I’m going to study for the JNCIS-SP, which is more or less equivalent to the CCNP Service Provider certification. One thing Juniper does that I very much prefer over Cisco is the pricing structure of their exams. With the Fast Track program, the JNCIS-SP is a single exam (despite covering three courses of material), costing only $100, compared to the Cisco CCNP Service Provider, which is four exams, costing a total of $800. The JNCIS-SP, I feel, is going to be a very nice introduction or maybe transition into studying for the Cisco CCIE coming from the CCNP.