- To unveil Lagos Software Testing Centre
In progress … and soon for public launch: The Lagos Software Testing Centre
Nigeria’s first Software Testing Centre is soon to go into operation. The Software Testing Centre, located in Lekki, Lagos, Nigeria is built and funded by the National Information Technology Development Agency (NITDA). The Agency is entrusted with charting Nigeria’s IT destiny through a portfolio of mandates under the Statutory Act that established it as the country’s IT clearinghouse.
‘Software testing is the process of executing software in a controlled environment to establish it is functioning as expected and dealing with potential risks before going live or on site.’
Software testing centres operates a ‘process of finding functional faults in the product before it is being launched in the market – the process allows information to be provided to stakeholders regarding the quality of the programme or system under testing.Software testing plays a key role in delivering high quality products and is labour intensive.’
The Software Testing Centre is expected to certify or validate software in use within the country which in itself would act as catalyst for confidence building in both developers and users – the entire spectrum of value chain in the software industry. Because software testing is labour intensive, the new centre in Lagos, once in operation, will open opportunities for capacity building and skill upgrade. It willalso open afloodgate of newjobs.
As one expert puts it: ‘Today, software development has truly become a globally sourced commodity. This trend has been facilitated by the availability of highly skilled software professionals in low cost locations in Eastern Europe, Latin America and the Far East.’ The new Software Testing Centre in Lagos is expected to enlist Nigeria, nay the Africa region, in the rapidly growing global software industry.
The NITDA identifies software as a veritable tool for national development – that is why it has committed vision and fund to set up the Software Testing Centre. Software is an area of vital interest within the Agency’s mandate. In 2011, the Agency unveiled the National Software Policy, resulting from the work of the National Software Policy Committee which the NITDA had earlier inaugurated.
The National Software Policyasserts:“Software is a tool for good governance, optimal productivity, transparency and accountability with a proven potential to contribute to national Gross Domestic Product (GDP). Software is the new paradigm shift in the history of human development with immense ability to bridge the economic gap between the developed and developing nations.”
In publicly announcing the plans for the Software Testing Centre, the Director General of the NITDA, Mr. Peter Jack also affirms (in line with the position of the National Software Policy) that: “The whole essence of the centre is that any software developed in Nigeria will be taken to that centre to see the compatibility between the software and our systems. If it runs perfectly, we are going to pass it and then recommend it as approved software for use.
“We have so many incubation centres in the country and these are centres that develop software before testing. We are also trying to adopt the local content guidelines to ensure that Nigerians consume more of local products than foreign ones.
‘‘What we are trying to do under the local content guideline is to encourage our local entrepreneurs so that there is going to be competition between them and their foreign counterparts and make them globally competitive.”
The global software testing services market is valued at some $56 billion. It is largely dominated by India, and countries in Eastern Europe and Latin America. No Africa country features in this global premium market, though South Africa is making efforts to have a slice of the market. With her size, her desire to diversify outside the oil industry, and her huge youth population, Nigeria stands a great chance to leapfrog into the premium league of software testing countries.
The global software testing industry is rapidly growing and is expected to climb over $90 billion by 2017; shortage of skilled workforce could pose a challenge to the growth of this market. Even ‘India which has been the preferred market is battling to cope with demands, NITDA is keen to move Nigeria to ‘seizing opportunities in an area of the global economy that is not faltering, but is growing.” Once in full operation, the Lagos Software Testing Centre will allow Nigeria to create jobs and boost businesses by entering the $56bn software and systems testing market.