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Home > News > May 2004 > 06-May-2004

BCS launch Chartered Professional grade to address IT confidence issue

The British Computer Society has been empowered to award the title of Chartered IT Professional as part of a major new membership recruitment programme that promises greater recognition and status for thousands of experienced IT practitioners.

The Society is also broadening its membership entry criteria to reflect the growing diversity of the IT profession, which now employs over one million people, supported by a new range of IT skills enhancement programmes.

The BCS has introduced these new changes to its membership to assist the IT profession in boosting its current flagging status, particularly as IT project failure is reaching a new all time high according to a recent report issued by the BCS and the Royal Academy of Engineering - "The Challenges of IT Projects".

The BCS's new membership programme will target a large proportion of the one million plus people who make up the IT profession today. Society membership will now be opened up to a wider number of practitioners including managers, architects, project managers and health informaticians, while maintaining a gold standard level of membership excellence through the new Chartered IT Professional grade and the equally prestigious Chartered Scientist status to those who meet the strict criteria for conferral. This will enable the BCS to reflect the new diversity of the IT profession and enable more practitioners to advance their skills and achieve greater industry- wide recognition.

The BCS now offers three grades of membership, ordinary, professional and chartered. And all of these grades bring with them the responsibility of signing up to the BCS's code of conduct. Ordinary membership will be aimed primarily at IT students and non IT professionals who wish to partake in the Society's activities.

The main change is to introduce a new professional level of membership - MBCS or FBCS. This is for those who have graduated with a specific or relevant degree, or through working in the IT industry have gained sufficient experience to be termed an IT professional in their own right. The vast majority of the people that are expected to be attracted under this new scheme would not previously have been eligible for membership.

Finally BCS chartered status, which will be available to those who can meet strict entry criteria - a true gold standard; it will recognise a broad range of academic qualifications with industry experience also taken into account. The Society believes it will quickly be viewed as a benchmark by which to identify highly skilled and well qualified IT practitioners.

According to BCS chief executive David Clarke, "Continuous professional development is talked about in many institutions, but nowhere is this more important or relevant than IT. Probably only the medical profession is facing the same fast moving changes. In this environment it is so easy to let skills become dated. We will be providing services to our members to allow them to compare their current skills with the market requirements, and find ways of developing their skills and maintaining their value. These new products come under the heading of BCS Career Manager, and we will be formally launching those next week.

"It is also really important that employers of IT professionals can make the best of the resources they have at their disposal, and in support of our Career Manager products we will also launch BCS Skills Manager, which allows IT managers to make absolutely the best use of their IT resources.

"Changing BCS membership grades is only one part of the story. We have to make being part of the BCS important to potential members. That means offering a high value service. This means being able to help them gain employment, improving their market value and evolving their skills to meet the challenges of this fast moving market.

"We have, or are now developing, products in all of these and many other areas. Networking amongst member is also a valuable service. The BCS currently has over 500,000 man years of experience, much of it world class, within our membership. By appealing and attracting a greater percentage of the IT profession, I believe we can demonstrate that IT is the profession for the 21st century."

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