Advanced Curriculum Adoption

(This article was written in Nov 2008.)  Reposted here because the old website is inaccessible.

Some of the Advanced Curriculums in Cisco Academy Program are CCNA-Security and CCNP. Some of the expired advanced curriculums are Cisco Network Security and Cisco Wireless Networking. CiscoNetworking Academy started the program with CCNA and CCNP in late 90s. Exactly which year, we are not sure because MMU joined in the program in 2002. Cisco Networking Academy introduced two advanced Curriculum in late 2002, which are Wireless Networking and Network Security. There are also talks on introducing Cisco Voice and IP Telephony back then. The Cisco IPT was started a while in 2006 and then just stop there with much progress. In this article, some of the challenges in advanced curriculum adoption are described.


Before even talking about advanced curriculum, the academy CCNA program must be operating in steady condition. Some of the instructors must be CCNA certified and there are ongoing CCNA classes every 3-6 months with active student enrollment. Each year there should be at least 10 certified CCNA student coming out from the program. These are just merely an example the exact numbers may varies from academy to academy.




Problem 1. Cost of equipment

In advanced curriculum the equipment required is more expensive. Thus, not many academies can afford it. It may not be a problem in rich countries. In Malaysia, it may be a problem for some self-funding academies, for government academies they may be tied down with the lengthy financial purchasing procedure. The equipment cost can be 2-3x more than what is required for CCNA.


Problem 2. Instructor Training


Most of the advanced curriculum cannot be obtained inside a particular country unless there is sufficient funding to pay for the training fee of 10 persons, accommodation, flight and other expenses for CATC (CiscoAcademy Training Center) to fly an instructor to train in particular country.


The training fees per instructor for advanced curriculum are

CCNP one semester :- AUS$2100/- . 10 working days.

CCNA-Security :- around USD1000/-?5 working days. Philipine. This problem is solved as University Malaya is the CCNA-Security teaching center since 2012.

Flight, Accomodation, Food and other traveling expenses are excluded.


Problem 3. Cisco Voice Curriculum


In Cisco Voice Curriculum requires the most expensive equipment. Even some of the big academies in developed countries found it difficult to buy the required equipment for the voice curriculum. Thus, it will not be a large deployment as there will not be many takers. Finally, as of now (2008) there is no plans to introduce any voice curriculum.


Problem 4. Cisco Wireless Networking


When it was first introduced in 2002, the curriculum was written for IEEE802.11a/b. By the time, academy started their first class, IEEE802.11g came out. By the time, the curriculum due for review IEEE802.11n came out. Thus, the wireless industry grew too fast for everybody to catch up with them. This also means that the equipments need to be changed every 2-3 years, which is going to be too expensive for most academies. For CCNA, they still can use the old 2600 routers and it is still fine. Thus, in 2008 the wireless curriculum was put in unsupported state.


Problem 5. Cisco network security


Initially, there are two courses for Network Security which is Network Security-1 and Network Security-2. Each is a 5 day course by itself. Cisco PIX firewall is required for the course. Each PIX will cost RM10,000.00each. On minimum two PIX firewall is required to complete the laboratory question. On average for a class 6-8 PIX firewall are required for a class size of 10 to 15 students. That is a RM60,000.00 upfront capital cost with an uncertain return.


However, Cisco PIX firewall is already obsolete by 2008. Thus, the PIX component in Network Security was removed in CCNA-Security. The remaining Cisco IOS security part is covered in a 5 day instructor course. The new CATC for CCNA-Security is located in Philippine. Instructor who passed the Network Security-1 and Network-Security-2 course, are exempted from attending the CCNA-Security course.


With the removal of PIX firewall in the network security course, academy can leverage on their existing equipment used in CCNA. Thus, there will be a growth in CCNA-Security adoption in ASIAPAC region for few years to come.


Problem 6. Academy Setup


In order to run advanced curriculum, a large base of CCNA-4 graduated students is required. For every 100 CCNA-4 students, maybe only 10-30% of them will proceed with advanced curriculum. It all depends on interest, course fee, available time and other factors.


In some academies by the time student completed their CCNA4, they have only 1-2 semester left. Thus, they can only take 1-2 courses in advanced curriculum.


Some academies integrated their curriculum with CCNA, thus take some time to convince their management, authorities etc to make a change. This only happen every 3 to 8 years, depending on academies.



Problem 7. Student?????


A reasonable student size (> 8 person) is required before a class can begin. For CCNA program, all students are still inside the campus. Thus, marketing is very easy. Sales is right in-front of you. All you need to do is talk a bit. It is a fish farm, every day you just feed them end of the month, you scooped them up for sales. For advanced curriculum, the available qualified students are 75% lesser. Most of them already graduated. Thus, it will be a challenge to open a class unless additional student can be sourced from working-adults pool..


Problem 8. Laboratory


Over time academies must be able to run their courses in more than one lab. This will provide the maximum flexibility in lab class offering. However in most academies, CISCO course are conducted in the same lab irregardless of CCNA, CCNP etc. If an academy opens a CCNA class, the class size will be 20 students while a CCNP course may only have 5 students. Thus, it is more profitable to conduct CCNA courses instead.

More students are required before advanced Curriculum can be conducted.



Progress Status (instructors trained) in Malaysia



CCNP1 and CCNP2 :- Sufficient instructors trained.

CCNP3 : (Troubleshooting : Not so many students).

Most of the instructors trained are from MMU, UiTM, UM, UniKL and UTM. If there are some mistakes please let us know via email.

Hopefully, this enable the public to understand the challenges for Malaysian Academy to run these advanced curriculum courses for the public.

Thank You.

Networking Course (4 credit hour) vs Cisco Networking Academy Course.


A Computer Science Course should come with theory and practical. However, in some universities only networking theory is taught and there is virtually, no practical at all.

University Networking Course

Worst Case Scenario

a) Lecture 2-3 hours per week for 13 – 16 weeks for long semester

b) Tutorial 1 hours for 12  – 15 weeks for long semester

c) No Lab

d) 1 test (mid-term) 1-2 hour

e) 1 final exam?2-3 hour


Best case Scenario

a) Lecture 2-3 hours per week for 13 – 16 weeks for long semester

b) First 2-4 weeks tutorial

c) 5th -16th weeks Lab practical

d) 1 test (mid-term) 1-2 hour

e) 1-2 assignments

f) 1 final exam. 2-3 hour

Bear in mind that, for lecturer teaching is only part of their evaluation. They are also evaluated on research, grants, publication and postgraduate supervision. If the lecturers do everything to deliver the best case scenario, can they do everything or will they do it if they can? What about their research? In some universities, the lecturer has to teach for 15 hours per week, 3 semesters a year. How is the lecturer going to allocate his time?

CCNA Course

In each CCNA course there are

About 10 modules exam (online)

1 trial exam (online)

1 final exam (online)

1 skill based exam (practical)

lot of laboratory hand on practical.

lab–sheet is 200 page thick for laboratory exercises. How many hours does it take one to finish all that 200 sheet of laboratory exercise?

Lecturer saves a lot of time on material content, assessment and laboratory exercise.


Let look at each of the item one by one so that you can judge it by yourself.


Non-Cisco Academy Cisco Academy
1. Text-book Buy/Borrow Books Online-Material. Free ?online access. Pay internet charges. Free if Internet access is widely available
2. Text-book lab exercise Most text books are separated into theory and practical. If you want both, you have to buy 2 books. Many practical text books are difficult to read and lab exercise are difficult to follow. If lecturer prepares his own lab-sheet, how long does it take him to get a 200 page lab-sheet with answer as well?


Complete lab sheet done by a team of people. Most of the lab exercise can be done.
3. Text book content Only 1-3 expert authors wrote the book on a wide range of topics. The online content is written by a team of people with feedback from thousands of students worldwide and some industrial feedback.
4. Lecture notes content Provided by the text books or lecturer own slides or a combination of both Standard lecture slides are provided. Lecturer can modified and enhance it
1. Marking Whether it is quizzes, test etc, thelecturer has to mark it. Online exam, automated marking
2. No of quizzes and test 2- 10 . How many? 10 modules exams, CNS online practical, online final exam.
3. Practical No of labs. 200 pages of lab sheet. Sufficient lab exercise for the whole semester.
1. Instructors Lecturer with Master Degree and above. Qualification varies from universities to universities Instructors are trained before they can start a class. They have to pass all the online exam, practical etc before they can start a class. Some Instructors took the industry certification and pass.
5 pillars
1. Ability Can talk only. Theory only

Can show (If there is lab exercise)

How many things can you show?

Can talk, can configure, can show.

CCNA2 :- Can configure IP routing + ACL on 5-6 routers



Some universities make the following arguments. You may want to look at the question portion of the argument before making your own judgments.


1. Teaching philosophy We should stress more on Theory. Practical they can learn once student join the industrial.
Questions How do I know the theory taught by the lecturer is correct if he can’t show it to me in real-life?

We don’t expect the lecturer to show 100%, perhaps maybe 50% of what is taught.

In theory, there can be many variations? It depends on how you describe it. How do we know a particular theory is feasible or not from implementation point of view?


2. Vendor specific We must not be biased
Question In order to be vendor independent then you need to have equipment from at least 3-5 different vendors. Do you have the budget to buy? What will be the equipment utilization? Can you find or afford a staff that knows most or some of the things from 3-5 different vendors and if he doesn’t, is he willing to learn? Will he stay after he had learnt?


Please bear in mind, open-source implementation is not so easy to learn.

3. Reputation We can do it on our own. No need to depend on other.
Question Let us look at their university lecturer profile if they said they can be stand-alone

a)       no of working networking implementation in undergraduate and post-graduate program

b)      no of real-life working implementation in undergraduate and post-graduate program

c)      Staff industrial attachment or working experience to networking vendors

d)      No of (ISI-cited) journal publication in networking

e)       Contribution to open source implementation in networking

f)       No of Patent


If you have some of these then you can be on your own, otherwise you may need Cisco Networking Academy Program as a jump start.

4. No problem Our degree program is already popular why change?
Question Subsidize situation.

If the meal is free, even a simple nasi-lemak people will queue for it.

When you start to charge, then only you know how tasty is your nasi-lemak?

During recession, you will be the first to hit.


Private university (popular)

During the years of peak IT course 2001/2002, some universities had 1000 IT students in one year for 3 year program. Once these students leave, there are only 1000 IT student in the whole 3 year program. If you don’t plan or embrace changes, but the time the changes come, it is too late to survive.



Lecturer can learn from the existing material and then re-enforce their learning when they teach.

Cisco Networking Courses + Lecturer Modification and Fine-tuning ?/span> Best Course for students.


If you are getting just a theory class for your networking course, then you should begin to ask your lecturer why other universities student gets to configure router and switches in their classes.




MMU Cisco Networking Academy Instructors use its best effort to make sure information on this article is accurate and up to date. We cannot take any responsibility for any loss and liabilities arising out of use of the information on this article. Some parts of the article are merely instructors’ comments. If there is any mistake, please send us an email. Thank You

Working Adults Student Problems.


There are many comments about the difficulties in enrolling Cisco program in MMU, getting the contact of the right person in-charged to talk to etc etc. Let us focus on specific problem one at a time.

Problem 1. Don’t know about MMU offering Cisco CCNA program

Some students said “If we have known it earlier, we could have come much earlier.?However, most of the times when someone does a google search on CCNA program in Malaysia, MMU FIT Cisco NetworkingAcademy website can be easily located. If someone commented this in 2005, 2006, probably it is acceptable but now it should be known to many.?Bear in mind newspaper advertise is quite expensive. It cost RM3,000/- per day to advertise in prime newspaper.

Problem 2. Immediate gratification

Whenever someone wants to enroll in CCNA class, they want it now. The problem is not everybody comes at the same time. One two person turn up every two week, how does a training center able to open a class in this scenario. After a while, they lose their interest as better prospect coming along the line. In order to attend classes, you must follow the schedule given by the training center. MMU FIT Cisco schedule is published long ago and repeated yearly. Nevertheless, if someone can commit more than ten paying students for a class at one time, then the class can start soon. So far, this has not happen before.


Problem 3.No commitment

For those who have sent in their registration form, they are invited to attend a two hour free preview on CCNA every time a new batch is started. The free preview enables attendee to understand the whole program in great detail. However, most of them did not make the effort to attend it. Rather, they prefer personalized attention via email, telephone or face to face meet-up. Bear in mind, if someone cannot commit to come for the two hours briefing which is free and known few months ahead of time. What kind of commitment can other expect from him when it comes to attending the class every Saturday or Sunday, pay the fee every semester, do online exam after working hours etc.


Problem 4. Logistic

The best way to contact us is via email, most emails are responded. Just make yourself available on the briefing day. Then everything will go smoothly as you’re following the session. It‘s impossible to buy any durian when the durian session is long over. As one always see in National Geography, if you look for mate after the mating session is over, you are done. Your genes are doomed.



Problem 5.  Money

Money is always an issue. It cost easily RM30,000.00 to RM75,000.00 to get an IT?degree in private university?depending on which university. Most IT degree does not focus much on practical. Yet, in no time, you will choose to enroll in it after your SPM, STPM or pre-U. Not much question is asked about the cost because it is affects your future. Sadly, after completing the degree, all education investment stopped.


However, you only pay RM4000.00 to get the real life hand-on practical. Yet it took you years to decide. You see why some people are very successful, because they are willing to invest for their future. There are few types of people,

a) Those who willing to invest time and money for themselves. “I will pay for my course

b) Those who willing to invest time but not money for themselves. As such they will grab every single scholarship available etc. “I will attend only if my company sponsors me

c) Those who not willing to invest time and money for themselves. “If I take this course, company must give me study leave and pay for the course. You wait lah

Progress is depended on investment.

Thank You.

Margin to pass CCNA test.

CCNA Margin

In this article, we going to present to reader what are the technical margin to pass the CCNA Certification. Reader will better understanding how to study and pass their certification exam. The passing marks for 640-801 CCNA 200-125 (new exam code)  is 849/1000. Out of the 60 questions, assume each question has the same marks you need to get 51 questions correct. 51/60 = 85%

The question can be in the form of

a) Multiple Choice Single Answer Question

b) Multiple Choices Multiple Answers Question

c) Drag and Drop

d) Fill in the Blank

e) Router Simulation

f) Others

To be realistic, let assume everybody are just average. Below is the realistic target

No Questions Target Verdict
1 Multiple Choice Single Answer Some mistake 95% confident
2 Multiple Choice Multiple Answer Some mistake 95% confident
3 Drag and Drop Zero /no mistake 100% confident
4 Fill in the Blank Zero /no mistake 100% confident
5 Router Simulation Zero /no mistake

Whatever stated in the text, complete it

Even though you 100% confident. You will never get 100% mark
6 Others Zero / no mistake 100% confident

Generally, no matter how good and confident you are, you will get wrong for 3-5 questions either from router simulations and the multiple choice question. So, that will leave you with a margin of 3-4 questions with doubtful answers and the rest of the questions you must know 100%.

If the question is Multiple Choice Single Answer Question, statistically you may be unsure to choose from 2-3 choices. Thus, you have only 33% chances of getting it right.

If the question is Multiple Choice Multiple Answer Question, the number of different combination is 10 or ( 5C2 ). Assume, unsure in 4 out of the 5 choices, thus, you only have 10% – 25% of getting it right. Thus, if you are doubtful in 4 questions, chances are you will get only 1 question right.


Study 110% before you sit for the certification exam. Don’t take the exam if you are not confident and without adequate preparation as it will be a waste of money.

Get the latest exam scope correct at . This will be helpful in determining what you need to study. Candidate on budget tends to get books from library or friends. Thus most likely it is not the latest book and probability of an outdated book is high. In these books, some of the new syllabus may not be included in the book but some of the old syllabus is still be there.

You must have adequate hand-on experience or lab practice. There are just too many combinations in lab practice, thus it is something you have to understand and cannot be memorized. Without hand-on experience, you cannot pass the simulation exam. Those who failed the simulation exam normally fail the certification exam.

Don’t be over-confident.

Candidate mind: “Arh, I play with Cisco7000, 5 year working experience. Should be no problem for me?”

After the exam, when he see the score 780/1000 Failed.

Over-confident candidate tends to read the question quickly and assume their understood the question and give the answer immediately. Thus, they fail into the trap.

You must read the question and see the network diagram carefully before you answer.

Plan your time properly. Monitor your remaining time and progress every 20 minutes.

Off all the multiple choice questions, you can only be unsure of 3-4 questions. The rest you have to be 100% sure.

Try out some CCNA preparation test question (At least 200 – 500 questions) either from Cisco Press, Cisco Leaning Connection ( or other third party vendor before you sit for the certification exam. This is certainly helpful.

Now, if someone just come and tell you that they managed to pass by flipping through the books for 1-2 weeks. Would you buy their story? I definitely will not buy the story unless I said “aksjhdf;lasdf0980q2935234k5tlnglsajdgvo8sadgsazfdvg;l” to him and he recalled it back 85% correctly to me.

Good Luck.

published in 23rd July 2006. (republished here as old website  is no longer available).