ATSI aims to swell pro­gram­mer ranks

Bangkok Post - - NATIONAL - SUCHIT LEESA-NGUANSUK

The

As­so­ci­a­tion of Thai Soft­ware In­dus­try (ATSI) will urge the Dig­i­tal Econ­omy and So­ci­ety Min­istry to al­lo­cate funds for groom­ing 100,000 pro­gram­mers within five years to sup­port dig­i­tal trans­for­ma­tion and Thai­land 4.0.

ATSI pres­i­dent Janechira Pray­oon­rat said the coun­try needs at least 100,000 pro­gram­mers to get ready for soft­ware ser­vice cus­tomi­sa­tion and im­ple­men­ta­tion over that pe­riod.

The in­dus­try cur­rently has 30,000 pro­gram­mers and 2,000 IT stu­dents grad­u­at­ing each year. Soft­ware firms need to spend 140,000 baht per pro­gram­mer for six months of train­ing.

The in­dus­try wants the gov­ern­ment to al­lo­cate funds for hu­man re­source train­ing to rapidly grow the size of the work­force.

In the fu­ture, pro­gram­mers may be re­placed by ar­ti­fi­cial in­tel­li­gence tech­nol­ogy, but they can up­skill to sys­tem an­a­lysts or sys­tem engi­neers, Mrs Janechira said.

In a bid to ac­cel­er­ate mar­ket de­mand, the as­so­ci­a­tion is also ask­ing for a 200% tax de­duc­tion on up to 1 million baht in pur­chases of lo­cal soft­ware.

Mrs Janechira said lo­cal soft­ware firms are still wait­ing for new in­cen­tives from the gov­ern­ment to en­cour­age the use of soft­ware.

The tax ex­emp­tion mea­sures are in­tended to help stim­u­late de­mand.

Lo­cal soft­ware also needs to re­ceive ISO and CMMI cer­ti­fi­ca­tion in or­der to en­sure qual­ity, Mrs Janechira said.

“The tax priv­i­leges will help at­tract some 14,000 medium-sized com­pa­nies to in­vest in lo­cal soft­ware,” she said. “Most lo­cal soft­ware firms have ex­pe­ri­ence, are more re­li­able and less risky com­pared with star­tups, so the gov­ern­ment should sup­port them to stim­u­late growth of the coun­try’s dig­i­tal econ­omy.

Of Thai­land’s 2.8 million small- and medium-sized en­ter­prises, 700,000 are small firms.

Apart from new ac­count­ing soft­ware that sup­ports Promp­tPay, SMEs also need cus­tomer re­la­tion­ship man­age­ment, project man­age­ment and bud­get man­age­ment soft­ware, Mrs Janechira said.

“We fore­see huge op­por­tu­ni­ties for which busi­nesses will need to in­vest in new au­toma­tion and dig­i­tal trans­for­ma­tion ap­pli­ca­tions,” she said.

ATSI has 900 mem­bers, fewer than 10% of whom have shifted to the cloud model. But by the end of next year, at least 70% of lo­cal soft­ware firms are fore­cast to shift to cloud-based ser­vices be­cause of pres­sure from cus­tomer de­mand.

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