New Straits Times - - Business -

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.

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