I will only have JNCIE-SP status for a few more days. My renewal strategy of taking the JNCIP-SP exam to refresh myself on the structure and to determine my weak points in the exam was sound. But I decided much too late that I was going to try to renew my JNCIE and so the schedule did not allow for it. And so, this is the end.
I'm going to break this down for anyone looking to renew their JNCIE and this will likely be the final post I make on this topic.
The Policy As Written
Exam Retake Policies
Candidates who fail their first attempt at an exam can retake it at any time. However, for any future attempts, a candidate must wait a period of 14 calendar days, beginning the day after the failed attempt, before they may retest for the same exam. Once the exam is passed, the candidate must wait at least 18 months before retaking the exam, which would generally be for recertification purposes.
What You Need to Know
If you are renewing your JNCIE, what you need to know is that it will NOT be counted as your first attempt.
They don't reset the attempts counter after you pass. They don't reset it ever from what I can tell. The counter is permanent and for all time.
So, if you need to plan for taking the exam twice for renewal, please allow sufficient time for a 14 day waiting period in between your attempts.
Failing is Freedom
I didn't interpret the policy correctly and I failed the JNCIP with less than 14 days until my certs expire. According to the Pearson Vue scheduler, I will not be able to take the exam again until after the expiry date.
And so that is the end for me and the JNCIE-SP. It's liberating to know that I will not have to concern myself with rote memorization tests any longer. In our age, anything worth memorizing is worth looking up on Google. And the only exception is poorly formatted tests such as the JNCIP which do a better job of playing word games and testing memory than of testing your understanding.
(A proposal for alternate structure: The test might be better structured as a 30-minute test with access to Juniper documentation rather than a 120-minute test relying only on memory.)
My current focus on creative work that changes the nature of work for the better (the bits I publish to my blog and the code I write for network automation) doesn't require this kind of certification. There are no certifications that matter for creative work. There is only shipping and seeing if you have made any kind of connection and/or positive impact.
For those who are still interested to keep their certifications up to date, consider yourselves warned of a potentially nasty trap and disappointment. You have an opportunity to learn from my $300 mistake. You're welcome.