I did it! #JNCIE-SP #1999! (and 5 tips on how to prepare for it)

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?

  1. 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.

  2. 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.

  3. 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.

  4. 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.

  5. 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.