Debating about what will be next for me. I could work on JNCIE-ENT pretty easily and add switching to my toolbox. But on the other hand I’m tempted to take some time to learn Ruby and Netconf/Sloe and/or XML interactions with routers. Screen scraping gets old. :)
The wait is over. I heard today that I passed the JNCIE-SP exam. Hooray!
I expect that I will get this question a lot so I’ll do my best to answer it here.
Franco, what tips can you share about how to prepare for this exam?
Read the Exam Objectives. Sounds obvious but this is your roadmap for knowing what topics are covered for the exam. Print it. Pin it up. Read it regularly.
Take the JNCIE-SP Bootcamp. When I first took this class, I wasn’t able to keep up with the material but I was able to get a taste of some of the topics that are covered and how to interpret the wording. Over time, I was able to go into the labs in detail at my own pace. If you’re flush with cash, consider taking it before you begin your prep and take the bootcamp again just before you sit for the exam. Above all else, remember that the Bootcamp doesn’t cover 100% of what you need to know but it’s most of the way there and illustrates some of the complex details.
Read some of my previous blog posts. The stuff I’ve written covers some of the less obvious details that are easy to overlook but they are best as a supplement to the Bootcamp material. Other people have also documented similar things that have helped them most during the exam. Use what you can, but remember to bring along your grain of salt and that the details may change with new versions of Junos.
Practice more than Study. You will either need a home lab or you will need to book time on Junosphere to practice configuration and troubleshooting. Once you’ve taken the JNCIE-SP bootcamp, you have a great springboard for performing deep exploration and making modifications to cover the things you think are lacking. Don’t be afraid to go into the weeds. Studying is good but it should supplement your practice and not the other way around. You can’t get good at the things you need to get good at to pass by spending most of your time reading and taking notes.
Fail the Exam. At $1k per attempt, this one is expensive but ultimately there is no substitute for having the experience of the real test itself. When you have gotten pretty far along with your practice, take the exam and see how you do. Keep good notes on what you observed, what was confusing, and what you want to do better next time. Any configuration that really stumped you needs to be explored in depth until you are satisfied that you have a good way to solve it. Use your experience with the exam to build more complex exercises for yourself in your practice.
These are my tips. I hope they serve you well.
To get the RPC command for “show version”, pipe output to “| display xml rpc”
lab@aristotle-re0> show version | display xml rpc <rpc-reply xmlns:junos="http://xml.juniper.net/junos/12.3R2/junos"> <rpc> <get-software-information> </get-software-information> </rpc> <cli> <banner></banner> </cli> </rpc-reply>
This yields “get-software-information”. Easy!
And another one just for kicks – View on Path.
Studying and practicing for your JNCIE examination means that you have a couple of conflicting things you need to work on. You need to practice for your speed of execution, but you also need to practice looking at outputs and developing your intuitive sense of where to look for problems when your protocols aren’t coming up or traffic is not flowing.
It can be hard to imagine the many different ways a protocol can break but the good news is you have an ally in this department: your lousy memory and your bad typing skills! :)
When I was sitting for my exam yesterday, I was missing a bit of configuration for a VPN I was configuring and the output was really a bit mystifying. It took me a while to sort it out. And it occurred to me that a person could really use their configuration mistakes to their own advantage while doing practice runs by patiently troubleshooting them without reaching for the books and looking things up right away.
So here’s the strategy I came up with:
Pick a technology you want to work on from the Exam Objectives. The more convoluted the better. Try to find ways to “tie one hand behind your back”, for instance by adding a restriction like VPN route-reflectors that don’t have MPLS running, or IGP total stub areas that require an aggregate route.
Configure the scenario as quickly as you can with as little configuration as possible. Don’t make mistakes on purpose but do rush it. Test with pings from the CE devices (end-to-end) if possible.
Assuming everything didn’t come up, start troubleshooting and really linger over the show commands. Do this especially when you have just found the problem looking at the before and after and seeing how the outputs are different.
Assuming everything did come up. You can still try to break it by removing an ingredient and comparing what the outputs look like while it is broken. (e.g. remove an interface from “protocols mpls” or remove an address family from the interface).
Make notes to yourself on what you learned in Evernote.
This will let you practice implementing things with speed while making an opportunity to practice spotting problems in your outputs when the network has missing or invalid configs.
photo credit: wifebot