Building Vietnam’s Leading Center For Software Testing

An Interview With Hung Nguyen, Founder and CEO of LogiGear Corporation

This interview was published by Saigon Entrepreneur Weekly (Issue 186, February 2, 2007), the most respected and widely read business magazine in Vietnam.

Hung Nguyen is a well known author of best selling books about software testing in the United States and is a widely recognized software testing industry thought leader. He has helped many major multinational companies with their software testing efforts. While Hung may be well known in the software testing industry, the industry sector is virtually unknown to many Vietnamese.

Q: When you wrote the book, Testing Computer Software, did you ever think it would become a bestseller?
A: No. I started writing the book when I was in college and finished it before graduation. It represented something different from what I had learned in school. Also, at that time, in the early 1990s, there had not been very much research done and practical information on software testing.
Q: And the book, Testing Applications on the Web, is that something that naturally followed that earlier success?
A: Testing Applications on the Web has its roots in software testing with a focus on the Internet. When I wrote it, the Internet was not as fully developed as it is today.
Q: In the introduction for your latest book, Global Software Test Automation: a Discussion of Software Testing for Executives, released in 2006, Steve Wozniak – the famous co-founder of Apple – said “Read this book to learn what you need to do”. Is this your most satisfying work
A: Each of my books addresses a different audience. The first and second books are for engineers. The intended audience for Global Software Test Automation is management leaders, especially in testing technology before they make critical software testing decisions. This book is also intended to help large corporations with globally distributed development and testing operations that make use of multinational personnel.
Q: Software Testing is still a new idea for many people. Can you give a brief description of your current work?
A: In reality, writing software and testing it are two different functions. For a long time people had trouble keeping a clear distinction between these two disparate areas. The job of software testing is to discover software bugs so they can be fixed, enabling the software to function properly. This is very similar to people reading and editing an article to find and correct mistakes before printing the article. Even in the US, only recently has a clear and distinct focus on software testing emerged.
Q: You are currently very successful in America. What is the reason you are returning to Vietnam to establish the LogiGear Test and Research Center? Isn’t LogiGear Test and Research Center a rather lengthy and difficult name to understand?
A: Outsourcing is a natural strategy in the era of globalization and LogiGear cannot help but to recognize this necessity. To be honest, even though I had spent considerable effort to research the marketplace during many trips visiting Vietnam, I did not have any plan to invest here. The infrastructure and technical resources within Vietnam before 1998 were not sufficient. But within 2 years, I noticed definite changes, particularly the strength of the country, the infrastructure, and the capability of the younger generation. The challenge is to create opportunities for this younger generation to allow them to excel and make vital contributions. I believe that with the experience and knowledge that I have accumulated over the last two decades, I will be able to help the younger generation to produce and contribute.

The Vietnamese name “Luong Toan Rang Cong” came from the first syllables of the words in the English company name. The meaning speaks to the perfect success our US and Vietnamese companies can achieve together.

Q: We have heard that your customers are major corporations outside of Vietnam?
A: Correct. Even though all large corporations may have their own testing divisions, most simply lack specialized software testing expertise. While the size of US software testing market segment amounts to approximately 10 billion dollars, the need for specialized software testing resources has not been met. This is a case for many other software testing companies as well – that demand is outstripping the capacity to provide testing services.

As we move forward, Japan is also one of our main areas of focus. While we know that the local Vietnamese market has been largely ignored, I think that addressing the needs of that market are something for the future.

Q: Many people are perplexed why you did not choose China or India, the Silicon Valley of Asia, with a strong technical workforce and good infrastructure?
A: I am very familiar with those two marketplaces but the cultural difference (at least for me) is a major barrier. In addition, with China as well with India, I am not the first one to market. In Vietnam I am the pioneer. I want to turn Vietnam into one of the major centers for software testing in the world. With China and India, there are engineering services functions with which we cannot compete, but in the industry of automation and testing we can lead and compete very well and our investment in Vietnam will help us to succeed.
Q: You left your family and everything you had in Vietnam to come to America when you were 26 years old. In your situation, many people would have chosen to get a job to make money, but you decided to further your education. Why?
A: I did have to work upon my arrival to US, while I was in school. Without a job how could I pay for my 7 to 8 years of education? I believe education is essential to professional and personal enrichment. During the school year, I worked half time. During summer vacation I worked full time. The day shift was from 7am to 3pm, with a half hour break. I continued working until midnight.
Q: When you were in school, the software industry was still developing as most certainly was the software testing industry. Why did you choose an industry whose future was so unknown?
A: There are two reasons. First while doctor, lawyer, and engineer are professions that are well sought after by many Asian-Americans in my generation, my own nature is not suitable for medicine and law – that is why I choose engineering. Secondly, before starting school I had taken a career development test and the results showed an affinity for engineering. However, if I followed the beaten path of already well defined engineering, there were not many opportunities to learn and contribute developing concepts and practices. In America at that time, as well as now, disciplines that require a depth of research are always in demand. I choose software testing for that very reason.
Q: Outside of work, we also know that you are a Jazz player and the only Vietnamese-American in the San Francisco Bay Jazz Ensemble of 18 people. Tell us about that.
A: We started this band during our college years. After graduation we formed a non-profit organization. In 2005 I brought the band to do a country wide tour in Vietnam. When we were performing at the National Opera House in Hanoi, I invited a well known Vietnamese jazz saxophonist Quyen Thien Dac to play with us. One of our musicians stood up to cede a place for Dac to play, that image moved me very much.
Q: Even being busy as you are, you still have time for Jazz?
A: Passion will find its own time. With me, music is like the water you drink, the air you breathe.
Q: Thank you for your time.
A: You’re welcome. It was a pleasure.

Books Mentioned in this Article

Outsourcing to Vietnam Whitepaper

Articles by Hung Nguyen

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