As you all know, I am studying for my CCNP currently and enjoying every minute of it. And I recently started following many, many Network Engineers or Network oriented individuals on Twitter and Google+. For a long time, I had that usual stigma that Cisco was the best network hardware/software company that existed. It wasn’t until I started following all of these individuals that I realized that I was wrong. Dead wrong. In fact, with Cisco’s current lay-offs, I started thinking that I shouldn’t be putting all of my eggs in one basket. Cisco is indeed a giant in the networking industry and no one can argue the abilities of their equipment and software. But with 6,000 projected lay-offs, that would make anyone stop and take a look at what’s going on in the industry.
Companies like Juniper, Brocade, and HP and many others all have viable alternatives to the Cisco equipment that we all know and love. And the equipment performs on par, if not better in some circumstances by what I’ve seen in social media these days.
This led me to look into studying for some Juniper certifications, as I’ve noticed a lot of attention being given to this company by the people I follow. Come to find out, Juniper is offering a program right now called Fast Track. It’s designed for any type of professional in the networking industry, be it entry level with very little knowledge, to people who have been working the field for decades. You can sign up – login – and start using their study materials to learn the in’s and out’s of the Juniper OS called JunOS. Along with the free training they’re providing, once you pass their assessments, they give you discounted vouchers to go and get the certifications. I think it’s a win-win for everyone involved.
I plan to move my studies toward a more broad horizon for the industry and allow myself to gain as much knowledge about all vendors as possible, and make myself more marketable in the long run. I suggest anyone looking to pursue this path, do the same. We all know that companies are like countries, and they can never last forever. And I do NOT want to be one of the people left high and dry because I am only trained and seasoned in one vendor’s equipment.