846 Words. Plan about 3 minute(s) to read this.
I’ve been working with Juniper SRX firewalls, MX routers, and EX switches for over a year now. I don’t spend a ton of time at the CLI. Mostly, I have some project I need to accomplish, so I do my homework, mock up in a lab what I’m able to, and wing the rest. Usually, that gets me to “good enough.” Sometimes, I feel like the ignoramus that I am. I don’t like that feeling. When it comes to networking, what you don’t know often can hurt you.
Over the years, there’s been three main ways I’ve learned.
- In the hot aisle.
- In a classroom or via self-paced learning.
- Teaching something I think I know to someone else. (Best way to learn. Try it, if you never have. Good times.)
Most of my Juniper learning has come in the hot aisle thus far, where I’ve applied what I do know about networking to the Junos CLI that I do not know. That’s worked, in the same way that driving a car through a wall gets you into a building. There’s probably a better way to get certain things done. Training is the answer I’m looking for. I want Juniper to tell me the way they want me to manage their boxes, the pros and cons of certain configuration approaches, etc. All those are things that you might pick up as you go, but that are just as often undiscovered nuggets of wisdom that can be gleaned from competent training programs.
I got around to digging through Juniper’s learning portal today. I’d heard from a friend of mine in the Juniper Ambassadors program that there’s a good bit of free content up there, and sure enough, there’s lots of free stuff. That’s not to say all of the content is free. From what I can tell, most of the meatier courses cost money. One-day courses were 700 learning credits or $700 USD. Multi-day classes were some multiple of $700.
For free, you still get rather a lot of stuff, though.
For Certification Seekers
The Juniper Learning Portal offers the Fast Track program (free login required). From what I can tell, Fast Track is aimed at folks with experience in networking who want to crank through some entry level Juniper certifications. There are four.
- Juniper Networks Certified Associate Junos (JNCIA-Junos). This the entry level Juniper cert. I went through the self-assessment on a whim, and scored a 60%. Lots of little things about how Junos interacts with physical hardware, manages files, and so on that I was unfamiliar with. Plus simple syntactical ignorance. See? That’s the sort of stuff you need training for. The Fast Track program offers a “Network Fundamentals” e-learning course, plus some self-study PDFs. In theory, learn all that stuff, pass the exam.
- Juniper Networks Certified Specialist Enterprise Routing and Switching (JNCIS-ENT). JNCIA-Junos is a prerequisite. Free self-study PDFs. Self-assessment exam.
- Juniper Networks Certified Specialist Security (JNCIS-SEC). JNCIA-Junos is a prerequisite. Free self-study PDFs. Self-assessment exam.
- Juniper Networks Certified Specialist Service Provider Router and Switching (JNCIS-SP). JNCIA-Junos is a prerequisite. Free self-study PDFs. Self-assessment exam.
Passing a self-assessment exam is good for 50% off of the corresponding Pearson VUE official exam according to the Fast Track home page.
For General Knowledge Seekers
From the Learning Portal home page, you can click on Courses to reach a search form. To see everything that’s free, choose “eLearning” or “Learning Bytes” under the “Delivery Modality” drop down, and click “Search”. A plethora of different courses are available, all free as far as I can tell. Naturally, you can use the search form to narrow the results set down more.
The eLearning courses tend to be narrowly focused topics related to deploying specific Juniper platforms, although there are several foundational and introductory classes as well. Here’s a sampling of eLearning course titles.
- E Series Edge Router Product Overview and Service Procedures – WBT
- EX6210 Ethernet Switch Installation and Initial Configuration (WBT)
- J4300 & J6300 Services Router Installation and Hardware Replacement – WBT
- Junos as a Scripting Language-WBT
- MX480 Hardware Installation and Configuration-WBT
- QFX3600 Node Device Overview and Deployment (WBT)
Learning Bytes, as the name implies, are looks into some niche topic, but seem to be more technology focused than platform focused. Here’s a sampling of Learning Byte titles.
- AS-Path Regular Expressions Learning Byte
- Basic OSPFv2 Configuration Learning Byte
- Configuring Layer-3 Routed VLAN Interfaces on an EX Series Switch Learning Byte
- Junos CLI Advanced Techniques: Load Patch and Replace Pattern Learning Byte
- Junos-PythonEZ (PYEZ) – Basics Learning Byte
- SRX IPv6 source NAT: Part 1 – NAT66 for IPv6 only hosts Learning Byte
Other Juniper Training Resources Worth Mentioning
- Jeff Fry has written some unofficial Juniper (and Cisco) training material that he’s selling for real money. Why? Because it doesn’t suck. Check it out.
- Juniper offers a series of “Day One” books that are, last I knew, free to download, but are behind a regwall. They are decent guides, at least the ones I’ve sampled.
Ethan Banks writes & podcasts about IT, new media, and personal tech.
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