Nokia Service Routing Certification and my experience


   Many times I heard that certification is just wasting time. And only real experience does matter. Of course, real experience is important. But often It’s so hard to get experience. E.g. your current job can’t give you opportunities to work with some technologies and you can’t get a new promotion or change a job, because you don’t have some experience. A typical loop. And in my opinion, certification is one of the suitable tools to break this loop and expand your opportunities.

Benefits of every certification:

    - We always need motivation for learning something. Every certification consists of several levels. Step by step approach. Levels are goals for us. And it helps to keep motivation on a high level. And every achieved level helps to feel more confident.
    - Every certification program has proper learning tools. Self-study guides, books, online/offline courses, etc. It helps to save time so we can just start to study.
    - Certification is not the main goal. Preparing is the main goal. And preparing results. For example, notes. Notes were useful before exams as well as they will be useful in the future.
    - Engineers quite often have knowledge from different sources: real experience, books, tech blogs and etc. But this knowledge doesn’t have a structure. It’s like a work table full of mess. And certification can help to make organization in your memory and mind.

And one more point in favor of certification: I know a lot of successful examples. I'm talking about people. Look at Linkedin or your teammates. There are a lot of strong successful engineers, which have certification (I speak about mid-level and high-level certification).

My experience

    Ok, let go ahead. Some pieces of my experience.
    Several times ago I've got a new job. It was a service provider. There were really strong engineers around me. Everything was good. I was getting new experience, doing different daily tasks, and so on. But also we had more serious tasks and problems, which I couldn’t resolve on my own. I didn’t have enough knowledge and experience. And furthermore, I didn’t feel confident to discuss it with my teammates. It was the main incentive. I had to raise my level quickly. As a result, I decided I should get certifications.
    Apparently, the next question was what's the vendor. I was choosing between Juniper and Nokia. Juniper certification is really popular. And it’s so easy to find a lot of related materials for preparation. As I know it has proper and clear tests and labs. But I chose Nokia because this certification could bring more value to my current job and helped me to feel more confident at that step of my career. There were main reasons.

Nokia Service Routing Certification

    First of all, I should say that Nokia SRC is mainly for service providers guys. I know that other vendors have different tracks: enterprise, service providers, data center, etc. Nokia SRC covers only core IP/MPLS topics. And in my opinion, it’s an advantage. We are going straight forward through the core routing stack without any proprietary and uncommon stuff.

Ok, what we have?
Three levels:
  • Network Routing Specialists I
  • Network Routing Specialists II
  • Service Routing Architect
    SRC home link. The most information I have got from this resource. I don’t want to describe every part of the certification, because requirements are changing right now. Just a short brief with my comments.


    The first level is really basic. But it will be useful for everyone who doesn’t have any experience with Nokia SR-OS products. You should pass only one exam.

Exam covers:
  • Introduction to the 7750 SR (Hardware, basic CLI)
  • Ethernet
  • IP routing (static, OSPF, BGP)
  • Services

    The second one - NRS II. It’s more complex. It requires good knowledge and hands-on experience. Certification contains a 3.5-hour lab. I should notice one moment: Nokia SRC is an agile program so you can start passing exams in any order. It’s comfortable enough.

Certification matrix


    SRA is the highest level. Certification covers all main parts of every IP/MPLS network. SRA has an 8-hour lab. I don’t know what else to say. It’s a good journey and good experience. If you complete SRA it means you are a strong engineer and you are ready to resolve a massive scale of network questions.

Certification matrix

My preparing experience and advice

    The most valuable resources for me were self-study books (see helpful links). I will briefly describe my strategy of usage books for preparation:
  1. Read a chapter and create short notes.
  2. Every chapter has a chapter review. There are several questions. Try to answer. I think it’s the most useful part of preparation. If you answer the chapter review questions you will pass exams (at least, the written ones).
  3. Every chapter has a post-assessment test. Choose answers and then review them. Every test has an explanation in the book’s appendix.
  4. Practice. Most chapters have practice labs and solutions with explanations in the book’s appendix. Try to create your own labs and topology. Use packet capture and debug mode. Try to break something and examine the consequence. Have fun!
  5. When you’ve done preparing for some topic (e.x IGP or MPLS) - take practice exams (see helpful links) and review answers.
Helpful links

Some links which help you for preparing:
  • Exams page. The page contains a full list of exams. And you can find practice tests at the bottom of the page.
  • Self-study guides. The page says that NRS I and NRS II are retired now. But I’m sure it’s still helpful for preparing. Also there are another SR-OS books(BGP, QoS, L2VPN).
  • Courses. I strongly recommend these courses. If you can purchase it do it!
  • Learning Essentials Video Series 
  • Linkedin group Nokia Service Routing Certification. It’s an official Nokia group. You can follow news about certification, try to find a mate for preparation, and etc.
  • This blog is not about certification, but it contains a lot of information about Nokia (labs, interops with other vendors, and so on). The great resource and job.

    Certification is a real great tool for achieving professional goals and helps to expand knowledge and experience. Despite different opinions, I recommend everyone try to get professional certification. But of course, we shouldn’t forget about a balance between theory and practical experience.


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