Although there are a number of software courses at present from different organizations (e.g. IEEE, CompTIA, BCS etc.) and companies (Oracle, Microsoft, Sun Microsystems etc.) most existing certification programs are paper-based examinations that do not sufficiently test the ability of software developers to write and execute high quality code. It is therefore proposed to develop and roll-out an internationally benchmarked software developer certification program that tests the ability of software developers to write and execute code through an authentic examination in a proctored setting, that tests the exact same skills that are used professionally by IT companies.
Objective of the assignment
The objective of this assignment is to recruit a leading international academic institution or standards body to develop and implement an internationally recognized and sustainable software developer certification program (Certification Program) for Kenya. The Certification Program will have multiple components, including content and processes for local software developers to prepare, register and be certified; an Internet enabled credentialing program; and an initial pilot testing, evaluation and fine tuning of the Certification Program. The program should be underpinned by a sustainable business model.
Scope of services
i. Inception Report and Business Plan: Provide an Inception Report that contains a description of start-up activities, the detailed work plan, methodologies, and an estimate of the time allocation for involved personnel from both the Government of Kenya and the organization’s team. In addition, to provide a business plan that spells out the resources to be deployed and the results proposed to be achieved. The business plan should also propose long term, sustainable business model options for the Certification Program.
ii. Content Development: Develop appropriate content for certification in close collaboration with relevant partners; including leading international and local IT companies, academic institutions, governments, international standards bodies and industry/trade associations. The developed content should have their explicit support in terms of relevance and quality, be based on the latest technologies and extensible to address the major languages (C, C++, Java), operating systems, language combinations, and software development tools and environments.
iii. Certification Process Development: Develop an internationally recognized, authentic, secure and valid process for software developer certification. This process should be developed in consultation with leading IT companies and academic institutions as well as have the buy-in of at least two industry associations of established countries in the area of BPO, and two countries aspiring to establish themselves in this domain. Countries should be chosen to be representative of at least three regions out of the following: Latin America and the Caribbean, Europe and Central Asia, Middle East and North Africa, South Asia, East Asia and other parts of Sub Saharan Africa. In addition, the processes should be based on proven experiences in similar certification programs. The testing process should be representative of real-life, professional software development. The examinations should also be refreshed annually; and extendable to address the full software development life cycle (including post-deployment maintenance) and modern issues (including the development of secure software systems). The examination must be developed using recognized techniques for validation and verification of quality. Linkages may be established with one or more organizations with leading testing and certification mechanisms to ensure that the certification will be conducted in a secure and proctored setting.
iv. Provision of Internet-Enabled Credentialing Program: Provide a web-enabled credentialing program, including functions for online registration, preparation and certification.
v. Piloting: To pilot the Certification Program with an initial batch of at least 50 enrollees, comprising of local software developers who should be benchmarked against a control group.
vi. Evaluation Reports: Conduct an evaluation of the pilot to prepare a detailed report to recommend strategies and action plans for improving the Certification Program. An evaluation should also be conducted on gaps and weaknesses in software development skills, so as to recommend changes in curriculum and pedagogy required as part of broader education reforms in Kenya.
vii. Program Refinement and Local Capacity Building: Refine the Certification Program based on the agreed recommendations of the Evaluation Report, and develop capacity within the country to conduct the assessments for certification.
viii. ‘Live’ Rollout: Commence ‘live’ rollout of the Certification Program with assessment of certification by local institutions, with the target of testing at least 200 local software developers. In addition, to obtain the commitment of leading companies operating globally and locally to use the results as a necessary pre-requisite for their hiring decisions.
ix. Mass Rollout and Marketing, and Business Model Implementation: Implement mass rollout and marketing campaign for the Certification Program across Kenya, with a target to test at least 500 local software developers. In addition, to implement a business model for the Certification Program that is internationally recognized, financially self-sustaining and affordable for local software developers by the end of this consultancy service (24 months after contract signature). A final report is to be prepared to highlight the next steps to be taken by Kenya for the Certification Program, including future steps on training content development, certification process and local capacity building.
Key activities and milestones
Negotiations and contract signoff