I recently took the JNCIE-ENT Beta exam in Sunnyvale, CA, and have been meaning to post my thoughts on the experience.

Back in September I took the JNCIE-ENT Exam in Herndon, VA. After being involved in several switching projects, and putting in over 200 hours of labs on my own I thought I would be ready to pass this exam. The study materials I had available are listed below:

I began to study and understand the wide world of L2/L3. It was a major change from the Security track that I was so familiar with, but all in all it turned out to be a very exciting and enlightening experience. It also was my first real exposure of IPv6 outside of a HE Tunnel on my SSG at home.

Unfortunately the exam itself was an eye opening experience for me in what I did know, and more importantly what I did not know. I fell short of the requirements needed to pass the exam, and got the unpleasant email that I failed the exam. It was a humbling experience, and after a few months I began to hit the books again for attempt #2.

In the meantime Juniper had put out an announcement for candidates for the JNCIE-ENT Beta exam in February, and they accepted my request to participate in the beta. This was an excellent opportunity to attempt the exam again as well as provide feedback on the exam team. A huge THANK YOU goes out to Liz Burns and her team on providing such an opportunity!

After finding out some of my friends and Internet colleagues were also accepted into the beta we began to collaborate to truly understand some of the techniques needed to understand the objectives of the JNCIE-ENT exams. We were able to provide scenarios/tools used to test many of the requirements needed to pass the JNCIE-ENT. Individuals such as Tim Hoffman were valuable as well as instrumental in leading the collaboration efforts.

February finally rolls around to sit the Beta Exam. It is important to note that these exams are under a very strict NDA so I cannot detail the exam itself. That being said I can say that the topics extremely thorough, and the tasks to configure/troubleshoot each topic would likely be seen in a real-world scenario. That being said even after taking the exam once already I almost got tripped up on a few requirements to get the network up and running. Fortunately Juniper does provide the entire configuration/examples guide, which was instrumental in helping figure the steps necessary to accomplish such tasks. The trick is combining PDF searches with CLI commands such as help apropos or help reference – quick tools to help find that correct command.

All in all I had plenty of time to review my work, and continually test portions of the configuration to ensure that new changes did not break existing functionality. I completed the exam with about an hour to spare, and had plenty of opportunities to review each task to ensure that I understood what was being asked as part of the requirements. It was another great learning experience, and I am hopeful that this time I will earn a passing grade. Since this exam was a beta, I will have to wait for 2 months before I learn the results of the exam.

Those two months give me plenty of time to start working towards JNCIE-SP…