HEN it comes to software testing, which is an integral part of software quality assurance (SQA), the majority of Malaysians may not be aware that the industry even exists or may find the subject matter in the realm of the esoteric.
Nevertheless, the global software testing services market is projected to be worth US$55.3 billion (RM246 billion) by 2021.
As a result of positive intervention by the government, Malaysia is now presented with the opportunity to capture a niche segment of this lucrative industry.
“Identifying the opportunities the software testing industry has to offer, the Malaysian government conceptualised the Malaysian Software Testing Hub (MSTH) under its economic stimulus package in 2008,” said Mastura Abu Samah, president of the Malaysia Software Testing Board (MSTB), a national body representing the industry’s interests in promoting software testing. Since the inception of MSTH, MSTB has been the key anchor, driver and facilitator of the initiative.
“In tandem with its focus to develop a knowledge-based economy, the government had the foresight to recognise software testing as a strategic and viable new source of economic growth. MSTH, which is under the purview of the Economic Planning Unit, has continued till today because of the tangible progress, value and growth the initiative has contributed to date.”
Key to the MSTH programme is the establishment of an eco-system, covering all the stakeholders, which will drive and subsequently sustain the local software testing sector as an independent and thriving knowledge-based industry, leading to high-income job creation.
This is being achieved through the implementation of innovative and industry-friendly policies by the government; development of human capital for the software testing industry; and catalysing growth of software testing industry and business stakeholders.
As part of the MSTH initiative, MSTB works closely with relevant government agencies to propose industry-friendly policies that can help drive the growth of the industry.
The initiative marked a significant milestone in 2013 as a requirement for engagement of Independent Verification and Validation (IVV), or third-party testing for software and systems procured by public sector agencies, was added to the Public Sector ICT Procurements guidelines.
“Clearly, the government is leading the way by embracing software testing best practices within the public sector. In turn, this augurs well for the local software testing industry as a whole,” said Mastura.
As in any industry, availability of competent human capital is crucial to support and sustaining growth.
“In developing talent, MSTB has certified 6,000 professional certifications in software testing and requirements engineering.
“These are internationally recognised certifications from the International Software Testing Qualifications Board (ISTQB) and International Requirements Engineering Board (IREB),” she said.
For longer term sustainability, MSTB, in collaboration with international partners, has reached out to Malaysian universities to help them enhance their software testing and SQA courses.
This is to ensure the universities produce fresh graduates with sound foundations and knowledge of software testing and SQA.
The outreach programme, which is undergoing a national rollout, involves the introduction of software testing and requirements engineering subjects, which are based on industry-aligned syllabi by participating universities. Participating students are also given the opportunity to sit for a professional certification examination.
“What is important to note is that based on feedback from the industry and academia, certified software testing professionals are highly sought-after, and fresh graduates with certifications are paid approximately 20 per cent to 30 per cent higher compared with their non-certified counterparts,” Mastura said.
From an industry development perspective, MSTB has initiated the MSTH IVV service provider development programme to stimulate private sector interest to venture in the software testing business. The programme facilitates Malaysian companies to build their software testing capabilities.
“Our efforts in building the software testing eco-system have attracted multinational companies to set up their IVV operations in the country, which, in turn, help generate jobs and demand for test professionals.
“Local companies are also leveraging software testing capabilities to reach out and export their software products overseas,” she added.
MSTB has been proactively raising Malaysia’s profile in the global software testing marketplace through participa-
Former minister in the Prime Minister’s Department Tan Sri Abdul Wahid Omar after launching the Quality Software certification scheme at SOFTEC ASIA 2013 in Kuala Lumpur.
With him is Malaysian Software Testing Board president Mastura Abu Samah.
Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department Datuk Seri Abdul Rahman Dahlan being introduced to speakers and thought leaders at SOFTEC Asia 2016.