By JO TIMBUONG
KUALA LUMPUR: The Malaysian Software Testing Board (MSTB) believes it is making progress in honing the country into an international software testing hub.
By next year, it hopes to offer product certification for software that passes through its testing labs. This new initiative is aimed at helping software manufacturers innovate and improve their product quality to prepare for the international market.
According to its director, Michael Cornelius, MSTB is working closely with the Korean Software Testing and Qualifications Board (KSTQB) in Seoul, which will be helping MSTB qualify for accreditation.
Cornelius said the board has been working on the qualifications for product certification with the team in South Korea over the past year and there is a team of software testing professionals from MSTB in Seoul to learn the product certification process.
"This will help us hit the ground running next year when we start product certification in Malaysia," he said.
Cornelius said that when MSTB meets the requirements for product certification, the market can be assured that products approved by it will be accepted globally.
"We also believe this will help Malaysian-made software be on par with those produced by international manufacturers," he said. He was speaking on the sidelines of the Software Testing Conference here, organised by the MSTB.
Currently MSTB's lab in Puchong only tests for the reliability of software to meet customer and industry requirements. Products that require higher certification are sent to its strategic partners, like the KSTQB.
MSTB also offers consultation services, where it highlights to software manufacturers any flaw found in their product and suggests how it can be remedied.
However, once it receives accreditation for product certification, this consultancy service may cease because international standards do not allow for both functions.
"You either pass or fail. The tester cannot tell you where you failed," said Amiruddin Jaafar Sidek, director of MSTB's software testing lab, Q-Lab.
Amiruddin said that with the additional product certification function, MSTB can better help the country achieve plans outlined in the recently announced Digital Malaysia initiative.
That initiative is aimed at raising the ICT (information and communications technology) industry's contribution to the national economy.
"With new standards, new testing techniques and new technologies, we will be able to boost the software industry and help with the Digital Malaysia goals," Amiruddin said.
To support its vision, MSTB is also working on increasing the number of testing professionals in the country through its Q-College Corp programme.
This will take in high performing software engineering undergraduates and groom them to be software testing professionals.
During the six-month programme, trainees will be given the appropriate software skills and will have the opportunity to work on actual testing projects, under the guidance of professional testers who will be mentoring them.
Amiruddin said there are about 1,600 software test professionals in Malaysia and MSTB would like to raise that to 10,000 by 2020 to meet future demands.