Software certification, training to hit US$14B

Despite temporary drop in spending on training in 2009, ongoing need for skilled IT people will fuel sector's long-term growth in Asia-Pacific region, analyst says.
Written by Konrad Foo, Contributor

Despite companies spending less on software training and certification in 2009, the market in the Asia-Pacific region will expand at a rate of 19.5 percent, from US$5.59 billion in 2008 to US$13.58 billion in 2013, said Gartner.

In a report released Wednesday, the research firm said it expects the region to experience a 25 percent drop of such spending by corporations and individuals.

Asheesh Raina, principal research analyst at Gartner, said the training and certification market in the region has played a "pivotal role" in developing quality resources and addressing the long-term skills shortage within the IT industry.

"However, training budgets are usually among the first to be cut as part of cost containment efforts, with the result that investments have been temporarily suspended and expansion plans deferred," Raina said in the report.

Smaller training institutes and franchise setups in the region are under strain from sustaining themselves while the larger organizations are seeing considerable decreases in revenue.

Although the Asia-Pacific training and certification market will experience a temporary decline in 2009 due to recession-induced budget cuts, Gartner said the ongoing need for qualified IT personnel will fuel opportunities for the sector. It estimates the region will need 1.5 million IT experts by 2012.

Raina said the need for trained IT personnel continues to grow and enterprises and vendors need to work together on this.

"Enterprises need to recognize this is a short-term tactical strategy and vendors need to support them by offering discounts and industry-specific programs. This will make enterprises ready for pent-up demand when the situation improves and demand increases."

Opportunities for the region's IT training providers are also driven by several local factors.

For example, Singapore's Infocomm Development Authority (IDA) will invest US$47 million by 2013 to expand the country's IT workforce. The IDA will be investing in reality-high-performance computing, unlimited bandwidth and on-demand services. It has also announced investments of US$815 million to fund new ICT projects to generate skills of the next generation of IT professionals.

Gartner said, such investments indicate the potential for advanced training and certification programs in Singapore, with key segments such as Java EE, IT security, high-performance computing, data warehousing and enterprise resource planning.

In India, the software industry will require an estimated 2.3 million IT professionals by 2010, according to estimates by the country's National Association of Software and Service Companies (Nasscom). Based on the current supply, Nasscom predicts that by 2010, there will be a shortage of 500,000 skilled professionals in India.

The Australian government, which has identified the need for skilled resources to remain globally competitive, has earmarked US$56 million for IT training over four years as part of its US$837 million program to ease the skills crisis.

Australia faces declining numbers of IT engineers. Identifying and establishing this as a national competitiveness development area opens up potential future opportunities for IT training and certification providers in the Australian market.

Based in Singapore, Konrad Foo is an intern with ZDNet Asia.

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