Kuala Lumpur, 19 December2007– In recent years, Malaysia has grown to earn its place on the world map as an emerging information technology (IT) hotspot in the region, ranking in AT Kearney’s recent Global Services Location Index 2007 as the world’s third most popular IT outsourcing hub.
The expansion of the country’s IT industry is largely due to a number of factors including the increased presence of foreign companies in Malaysia and the local government’s vision to elevate Malaysia as an IT hub, producing quality resource and generating intellectual property assets to drive economic growth under the nation’s 9MP plan.
For the past few years, multinational companies (including technology conglomerates) have set up shop and made Malaysia their operations and services base, supporting their other outfits in the region locally. Companies like Shell and BASF have increasingly pumped investments into Malaysia.
On the national front, MSC Malaysia and industry caretaker, Multimedia Development Corporation (MDeC) have been entrusted with the mandate to nurture and grow the Malaysian software industry, enhancing the value of local software companies and their solutions, spurring the creation of world-class IP assets that will directly contribute to economic development for the country.
Improved foreign investments, the advent of technology as an avenue for enhanced competitive advantage and the national vision to develop the local software economy means increased IT spending and demand for human resources with relevant skill sets pertaining to the industry. In short, as IT spending intensifies, so does the demand for developers and programmers to fill the strengthening IT job market.
Demand for .NET Developers
IDC research estimates that overall IT spending in Malaysia for 2007 will hit RM16.7 billion with a growth forecast of 9.1% between now till 2011, reflecting the growth potential of the local IT industry. As this number continues to escalate, independent studies also point towards the increasing demand for developers, especially those proficient on the .NET platform.
In a recent MDeC survey, IT software related companies under the MSC Malaysia banner registered a total number of 1,025 IT professionals and developers that build on Microsoft technology, with an estimated 500 more required before the year ends.
In a recent MDeC yearly impact survey, IT software related companies with MSC Malaysia status, illustrated that there is the need for over 1,500 IT professionals and developers that develop on Microsoft technology, with an estimated 500 more graduates required for 2008 alone.
Commenting on the survey, Rizatuddin Ramli, General Manager, Software Development Cluster, Industry Development Division, MDeC, said, “The market outlook for .NET knowledge workers is very encouraging. The survey indicates that the top most demanded skills amongst MSC Malaysia’s cluster of software companies are for skills on Microsoft technologies. This reflects the current trend and need in the industry – to put in differently, the market could do with more .NET developers on board”.
“We are seeing .NET technology driving more and more of the IT industry today, and with it driving a high rate of employability for Microsoft certified professionals with skills in .NET. With most Malaysian companies adopting this technology, our partners, customers and the industry at large is calling for the entry of more .NET developers into the market.” said Tyson Dowd, Senior Director, Malaysian Software Economy division, Microsoft Malaysia.
Tyson added that the Malaysia .NET Developer community, more recognized as MIND has also seen a remarkable growth in its numbers since its launch in September 2006. To date, the community has 2100 members and continues to generate interest amongst true blue .NET programmers, developers and experts to converge and share ideas, experiences and best practices, reflecting the expansion in the .NET community and the growing demand for their expertise.
The Real Deal
Whilst industry trends call for a greater number of .NET programmers, the demand for these professionals currently outweigh the supply, even with the growth of the developer community.
“It is a reality the industry is presently faced with, while knowledge workers skilled in the .NET language are sought after, the output quantity of IT professionals with these technical competencies are not matching up to industry needs,” said National Entreprenuer Forum President, Ashran Ghazi.
“Based on numerous independent studies, many industry players have steadfastly moved towards the adoption of Microsoft’s technologies for their businesses resulting in increased IT spending and the use of .NET as a platform of choice to rapidly produce web-based software, there is a shortage of .NET human capital to sustain this movement,” continued Ashran.
Surveying the growing trend, key stakeholders in the market have placed systems to fill the skills gap. In 2004, learning solutions provider Info Trek Sdn Bhd was commissioned by MDeC to train IT graduates with “needed” skills based on market demand, most of them largely on .Net.
Moreover, Info Trek devised a placement program post training for companies to interview the graduates for employment purposes. “To date, we have placed over 30 .NET certified professionals and have had companies attending more than one recruitment workshop to enable them to employ more .NET specialists for their businesses. It reflects largely on market demand and technical skills training on .NET is significant in filling the gap,” commented Sally Hew, Executive Director, Info Trek Sdn Bhd.
Start on .Net
Speaking on bridging the gap, Tyson added, “We recognize that .NET has become increasingly popular and its adoption rate is moving faster than the market currently produces skilled .NET developers. As a result, we’ve worked to provide easy and very affordable access to .NET skills training, the most recent being the START.NET Program Workshops.”
According to Tyson, the START.NET program workshops are an easy and affordable means for developers to learn .NET expertise. Costing only RM80 for each session (worth at least RM1500 each), training workshops offer IT programmers a range of skill topics which include Getting Started with .NET, Upgrading to VB.NET and sessions on .NET Framework 3.0.
“We’ve partnered with IT training consultancies to make this comprehensive syllabus in order available to enable more IT staff to develop .NET skills, ensuring more developers are equipped with the relevant skills required by the industry to move forward with the the .NET adoption phenomenon in the market,” Tyson commented.
Commenting further on meeting industry requirements, Tyson also added, “Students should check if their prospective universities or colleges are teaching the most relevant technologies and skills that meet market demand. .NET technology ensures you are up-to-date and can develop applications for all important areas of technology such as web, PC, server or mobile devices – not to mention robotics, gaming, rich interactive online services, embedded applications and many other fascinating and emerging areas.”
With the upcoming release of Visual Studio 2008 and the .NET Framework 3.5, developers will have access to a set of integrated capabilities, tools and infrastructure to easily build greater software and services on the latest platforms. Both tools continue to deliver on the increased productivity and collaboration promise, enabling developers to all types of developers to break through their development challenges.
Tyson believes that with the anticipated launch of Microsoft’s Windows Server 2008, Visual Studio 2008 and SQL Server 2008 in February next year, .NET expertise will be even more sought after and considers the year ahead to be an opportune time for IT professionals to develop their .NET capabilities.