(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.