BCS relaunches with focus on quality of IT professionals

The British Computer Society has announced a new strategy and branding, with a strong emphasis on the quality of the IT professionals who are its members.

In the face of a tough economy, the failure of high profile IT projects and the loss of data, and the sometimes poor perception of IT as a career choice, the BCS said it was vital its members could attain more rigorous qualifications. These would offer real career paths and be recognised by businesses, it said.

The relaunch includes the introduction of a new BCS logo, which says “BCS – The Chartered Institute of IT”. Over the coming five years it is planned that the “Chartered Insitute of IT” will take prominence as the name.

The BCS has also relaunched its Chartered IT Professional Qualification (CITP) as a “more rigorous” qualification, which will have to be renewed every five years by those qualified. It aims to make this qualification a standard requirement for senior IT positions.

It also wants the CITP to become the international standard for highly qualified IT professionals, and has spent three years developing a new version of the qualification. The BCS is also launching a green qualification for small businesses, as well as one for datacentre operators in large firms.

David Clarke, chief executive at the BCS, told Computerworld UK at today’s relaunch: “We’ve been working on the new strategy over a long time. The quality of the qualifications we offer is vital – organisations want a strong, independent assessment of potential employees and the individuals themselves need to prove their abilities.”

He added: “IT is often seen as a cost, but it is a vital function that transforms organisations. We are well aware of the perception of project failures and we don’t want IT to be seen as a function that fails, when it’s often really a project management issue.”

Clarke said that there was a serious skills shortage in the market of IT professionals with a strong business background, even in spite of the heavy cuts to IT that have been made by many organisations.

“We want to create technical professionals with a business understanding, so they shape strategy,” he said. Additionally, he added, IT directors needed to be seen as vital strategists and to be “back on the board” of organisations.

Taking a long-term view of the future of IT, the BCS is launching an ‘Academy of Computing’, which will work to ensure that IT teaching is improved from primary school through to higher education, and to increase the number of people entering the profession.

The website has also been relaunched, and can be seen here.

Copyright © 2009 IDG Communications, Inc.

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