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Malaysian software testing board opens US$3.3 million Q-Lab in Malaysia

AvantiKumar | June 8, 2010
Move will establish Malaysia as a regional software testing hub: MSTB
KUALA LUMPUR, 8 JUNE 2010 MSTB [Malaysian Software Testing Board] has launched a US$3.3 million advanced testing lab, Q-Lab, to help establish Malaysia as a regional hub for software testing, said the industry association.

During the launch of Q-Lab, Malaysian ministry of science, technology and innovation (MOSTI) deputy minister, Fadillah Yusof, said this move would help the country become a major player in the lucrative software testing market.

The advanced software testing laboratory was one of the four key elements identified as enablers for the creation of a sustainable ecosystem of Malaysia's software testing industry, said the deputy minister.

This is a strategic move as software testing is well-poised to become the next thrust of the national economy, said Fadillah, adding that plans were in force to help develop the nation's capability in software testing and certification services.

Located in Puchong, Selangor, the Q-Lab is equipped with the latest testing tools, methodologies and infrastructure that support high-end testing works and activities. It offers a wide range of quality testing and related professional services including Laboratory Software Testing; Field Site Software Testing; Product Certification; Laboratory Facilities Rental; and Consultancy Services, said Fadillah.

The Malaysian Software Testing Board (MSTB) is a national body representing the industry interests in promoting software quality assurance (SQA) and software testing as core competencies in the development of IT-dependent quality products and services.
As a member of the International Software Testing Qualifications Board (ISTQB), MSTB regulates the accreditation and certification processes for Malaysia.


Potential economic returns

Fadillah said the potential economic returns in this market were significant, citing analyst firm Ovum Consulting's projected forecast that the worldwide market for computer software and systems testing services would be worth US$56 billion (about RM186 billion) by 2013.

Software testing is still regarded as an emerging market and as such, a large part of it is still untapped or undeveloped, said MSTB president Mastura Abu Samah.  The opportunity is there but we have to move fast.

A sustainable ecosystem will help propel our software testing industry to become a new thrust of our economy, contributing significantly to the national GDP, against a backdrop of large and growing global market, said Mastura.

Apart from the Q-Lab, the other key components are Q-Capability (Q-Cap), a programme designed to produce internationally recognised professionals and experts; Q-Industrial Development, a programme to create awareness on the overall initiative; and Q-Portal, an online gateway to information on software testing, development, and advances in the industry, she said.

Under the Q-Cap programme, we are adopting a two pronged approach to rapidly increasing the number of certified testers in the country to encourage working professionals to go for certification and to work with local universities on professional certification programmes for qualified final-year students, she said.


 A bigger pool of certified testers

Certifications programmes for working professionals have been running for quite a while and to date, we have managed to increase the number of certified testers from 90 in 2008 to 600 currently, Mastura said, adding that MSTB aims to have 10,000 certified testers in five years.

She said to achieve this, the MSTB has had to look towards a bigger pool of candidates the universities. As the programme for working professionals continues, we will engage potential final-year students to promote software testers as a career option. We want to encourage these students to go for professional certification.

Universiti Tenaga Nasional has been very far-sighted and they signed up for the programme immediately, while a few other universities would be signing up soon, said Mastura.

The ICT industry is perhaps best known for its speed of development and those who wish to lead in any segment of the market must move equally fast, she said. The Q-Lab cost about US$3.3 million (RM11million) to set up. A large portion of the investment has gone into equipping the facility with state-of-art systems and equipment, as needed to support the lab's planned services and activities.