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Anthrax in Pakistan




Nov 12 - 18, 2001

Farrukh Afzal Munif was born in 1975. He is a Chartered Management Accountant from Chartered Institute of Management Accountants (CIMA), UK. He got his early education at Habib Public School, Karachi and completed O and A levels from St. Davis College, Wales, UK. He did his B.A. (Hons) in Accounting and Finance from Manchester Metropolitan University. After working for Askari Commercial Bank in Treasury Department, he has joined Sir Syed University of Engineering and Technology. Currently he is working as Resource Manager at Software Technology Innovators of the University. The STI established in 1999 has clients which include some of Fortune 50 companies. The others are Oxford Centre for Islamic Studies, Iqra Education Foundation, Al-Ghurair Group of UAE and Madni Welfare. The STI is involved in multimedia development, websites development and solutions for e-commerce. Some of the affiliated institutions are Dr. A. Q. Khan Institute of Technology and Management, OPSTEC and Sir Syed College of Medical Sciences for Girls.

PAGE: Why did you decide to come back to Pakistan?

Farrukh Munif: This is a question often being asked to my generation. Elders expect that any one who goes abroad for studies would never come back. My submission is that our generation is willing to work in Pakistan, even at a lesser salary, provided jobs are given on merit. If my generation is able to work efficiently in an alien country, it is a clear demonstration that we are not inferior to others. Saying this much I would still say that the country needs improvement in education, better job opportunities and consistency in government policies.

PAGE: You have chosen a career in Information Technology. In your opinion what are the prospects for future growth?

Farrukh: I am a Chartered Management Accountant by profession and currently working at Sir Syed University of Engineering and Technology (SSUET) as Resource Manager for Software Technology Innovators. I divide my job responsibilities into three key areas: 1) looking after existing clients and soliciting new business, 2) providing on going support for employees for on the job training and 3) developing methodology for software development. This offers me enormous potential for growth. Being associated with SSUET, which serves some of the world technology leaders, helps me in keeping myself fully aware with the latest developments in the Information Technology.

PAGE: How do you try to overcome the possible hurdles?

Farrukh: My association with SSUET also envisages helping students. SSUET offer a conducive environment for learning and its fees is lower than any public or private university. SSUET not only help graduates in seeking good job opportunities but the University is always in touch with its graduates. SSUET is also supported by some of the leading charitable institutions. With their help SSUET has been able to get computers free of cost which in turn help it in keeping the fees low. SSUET has the largest number of computers, all branded. Working for the world leaders also help in learning about new technologies, which in turn help us serve other clients in a better manner.

PAGE: A large number of SSUET graduates are working for world leaders in technology. What are your suggestions for improving their skills?

Farrukh: You know that the government has assigned highest priority to Information Technology. Various departments are involved but they lack coordination. In my humble opinion all the concerned departments should be put under one grand umbrella. Software developers should be encouraged to open their offices abroad because the overseas clients desire this. Another factor which has been highlighted again and again is the PTCL charges. These charges are prohibitive and a major hurdle in transfer of data between clients and software developers. This issue must be resolved at the earliest. Software developers should also seek to introduce CMM and ISO standards into their development process.

PAGE: Will you please explain the term CMM you have just used?

Farrukh: It is a certification provided by Software Engineering Institute (SEI) of USA and stands for Capability Maturity Model for software development standards. This certification helps software developers in soliciting business from reputed clients. Allow me to explain this by referring to ISO certification. If any company acquires this certification, it is a testimony that they follow a documented process which also ensures quality standards.

PAGE: What are your suggestions in the regard?

Farrukh: First of all an awareness has to be created about the importance of CMM and then software houses should be encouraged to get this certification. This is a rather expensive proposal and very few local software companies will be able to afford the cost. I suggest that the government should invite people from SEI to let the local developers know all about this certification. Since the fees to acquire certification is very high the government should also provide subsidy to software developers.