As for the Academic Outreach, the programme reaches out to final-year students in software-related courses to promote software testing as a career and professional certification as a means to improve their employability.
For a longer term, we are working with the MOHE (Ministry of Higher Education) and local universities on adoption of ISTQB syllabus in software-related courses. A pilot implementation, involving six universities, is expected to start in September this year.
MSTB has also embarked on a programme to pave the way towards establishing a national certification scheme for software and software-enabled products. This is done in collaboration with the Korea Testing Laboratory, which has vast experience in certifying software products.
What has been the industry reaction to the establishment of your testing laboratory - Q-Lab - in mid-June 2010?
The establishment of the Q-LAB essentially gives a jumpstart to the development of software testing technology infrastructure in Malaysia. It is also intended to serve as the showcase for a world-class software testing facility.
We are also leveraging the Q-LAB to get the buy-in from local industry stakeholders on the important and relevance of software testing. To date, we have seen some reflection of success based on the fact that local organisations are starting to include testing as part of the requirements in their IT tender exercises.
For the Q-LAB itself, it has secured a number of contracts on commercial basis as well as several proof-of-concepts jobs. The LAB is currently in negotiations with several other interested parties including from overseas. A publicly-announced contract was with Mutiara Smart Computing, which engaged us to conduct field testing on its security application intended for deployment in secured environment.
As the software testing market develops and the push for product certification increases, it will become viable for more testing labs. However, the expansion will not be by Q-LAB alone. The most important thing is to have the services available nationwide. As such, we can also expand through clusters of companies either independently or in collaboration with the Q-LAB.
Do you feel the 'talent gap' of certified testing professionals in the country has been properly addressed?
We have identified from the onset that we must have sufficient and sustainable pool of skilled and competent software test professionals to support the ecosystem. Currently, we have more than 1,000 ISTQB-certified professional software testers. Our target is to have 10,000 by the end of the national 10th Malaysia plan (ends 2015), which will include those from existing workforce and those coming out from Malaysian universities.
We expect the increase to be much faster once our ISQTB syllabus adoption programme (under the Academic Outreach programme) starts to yield results. Under the Academic Outreach programme, MSTB also proposes to incorporate an 'extended' industry attachment component which shall see talented students be given real industry exposure from as early as the second year. As such, they will graduate with real work experience (as opposed to the standard 'internship' experience).
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