Samsung Electronics SA and Dariel Solutions provide insight
‘South Africa does not have high level software development skills.’ ‘There are no resources available for this industry – despite the growing need for software integration and applications across both the traditional and mobile platform.’ This is the sentiment of the South African market and it needs to be dispelled says Samsung.
Myth vs. Reality
“In reality, there are companies based locally that are not only promoting the developer community, but are also providing the necessary resources and incubation investment to encourage and build the development and creation of local content,” says Craige Fleischer, Head of Mobile Communications at Samsung Electronics SA. “The problem is that the support is not easily recognised, which has created this ‘myth’ that we are currently faced with.”
Dariel Solutions, a local software development house fully recognises the predicament that the market finds itself in and agrees with Samsung’s sentiment. Says Malcolm Rabson, MD of Dariel Solutions; “South Africa is a hub of software talent, but the move towards what is seemingly cheaper software and app creation from the likes of countries such as India, has caused a unique local perception – that there is no focus on local development, which has certainly caused a gap in the market.”
In reality, the software development industry in South Africa has grown immensely over the years and according to Gartner*, was ranked as one of the top 30 software development outsourcing destinations. Government has also recently realised the industry’s growth and potential and in an aim to further the software development industry, has amended the Income Tax Act to allow South African software developers to claim back 150% of research and development (R&D) expenses against tax. The change is expected to stimulate local innovation and create jobs among South Africa’s estimated 1 000 software development firms.
Software app developers must take advantage
Additionally, with the power of smartphones growing and the rise of mobility from both a consumer and business perspective, South African mobile software app developers can take advantage of the open Android architecture. It is further driving entry into the field as the open architecture enables developers to modularise their own applications, interface with apps developed by others and of course, join a broader developer community that appreciates both international and locally created applications and software programmes.
“The South African developer market is certainly a growing one – one that needs to be fully understood if it is to be capitalised on. The first step to this is acknowledging that there is a need for local content and local applications and more importantly – there are companies in the industry that are supporting ‘local is lekker’ and are investing in developing the necessary skills and of course, providing access to resources to further grow and stimulate the industry,” concludes Fleischer.