So how does the JNCIE-SP compare to the CCIE R&S?

This is not an apples to apples comparison. The tracks are different so it’s difficult to give a thorough review.

Now that I have taken and passed both I can give a little info on how they compare. I’ll be blunt right from the start. The CCIE R&S was a LOT more difficult.

I work in an ISP for a living and so MPLS/BGP is a quite an easy subject. Requirements in exams can be quite ‘odd’ – but no more so than real life. I’ve been in this game too long to know that you some customer requirements are simply off the charts in craziness.

The CCIE R&S is a lot more time-intense. You have a 2 hour TS section followed by 6 hours config. In the JNCIE-SP it certainly felt like I had roughly the same amount of config work, but I had 8 hours to do so. Yes there was some TS in the config section itself, but it’s certainly not like the CCIE TS. It’s perhaps this reason I finished with well over 3 hours to spare and simply used that time to verify everything at least three times.

On the way to my CCIE I learned a lot of lessons which I pulled over into my JNCIE prep. One of the most important ones is learning how to verify. Config is easy. How do you prove that something works though? This is absolutely vital in both exams as well as real life. Another lesson was don’t believe what you read until you’ve labbed it up and seen for yourself. Not just how your devices operate, but what kind of packets do they send at each stage? Load up wireshark and see for yourself.

I much preferred the CCIE lab room over the JNCIE lab room. Cisco provide much bigger screens which is helpful on an 8 hour lab exam. Juniper provided only laptops which was upsetting considering we pay a lot of money for these exams.

Cisco provide you with a result generally within 3 days, but usually by the next day. I waited just over two weeks to get my JNCIE result. Sitting a lab exam is a bit of a rush and that rush dies out pretty quickly. By the time I got my JNCIE the lab rush was long gone and it certainly felt that way when I received my result. While result time is not ‘vital’ to get quick, it made a big difference to how I felt. Maybe that’s just me?

resource-wise there is a lot more training out there for CCIEs. I used the very excellent INE vol2 workbook for my CCIE prep. For the JNCIE-SP I used the InetZero SP workbook. There is less material in the InetZero book compared to the equivalent INE WB. For this reason I think it’s a bit too expensive for what it is, however it’s still a great resource to learn though. If you need go deep configuring MPLS and BGP policies in Junos it’s most certainly the book for you.

I also took one Proteus Networks SP mock exam which I felt was very close to the real exam in difficulty. I initially wanted to take two but ran out of time to get my second one in.

Overall I would have spent a lot more time in the lab if I had not done my CCIE first. Once your know OSPF you know it. The biggest thing is simply learning how a different vendor does it’s defaults, and how you configure what you need.

I’ve definitely have a lot of fun doing both. What next?

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