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Alastair Revell is the Managing Consultant of Revell Research Systems, a Management and Technology Consulting Practice based at Exeter in the United Kingdom.
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The material published in this web log is for general purposes only. It does not constitute nor is it intended to represent professional advice. You should always seek specific professional advice in relation to particular issues. The information in this web log is provided "as is" with no warranties and confers no rights. The opinions expressed herein are my own personal opinions.

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Review Entries for Day Wednesday, December 02, 2009

I’ve been mulling over Michael Cross’ article of 23rd September 2009 for the Guardian web site for a while now, which was written in response to The British Computer Society rebranding itself as BCS The Chartered Institute for IT and announcing that it was revising its process for Chartered IT Professional (CITP) registration.

The article sported the contentious title: “IT can have its professionals, if they don’t get stroppy” with a subtitle of “Government and employers will not recognise IT ‘professionals’ if they are demanding as doctors and lawyers.” 

Mr Cross’ article highlights the tight rope that the Chartered Institute for IT walks as it tries to raise the level of professionalism in IT. The government is currently very supportive of the Institute’s moves to raise the bar in the IT profession, but Mr Cross rightly points out that “the trend could swiftly go into reverse if a new government finds IT professionals to be as stroppy and independent-minded as they find doctors and lawyers today.”
He continues: “Governments like taking expert advice – but only if it’s ‘Yes, minister’”, which certainly seems to be true with the recent resignations from various expert advisory panels because they apparently didn’t say what the current government wanted to hear.
The problem, of course, is that so called “stroppiness” is an important aspect of professionalism. A professional has a duty to their client to advise them when their actions are contrary to their professional advice and to point out the probable consequences.
It is precisely this lack of professional ethics that causes much of the damage to the public purse and, no doubt, many private purses too. As Cross chides in his article, “the IT industry isn’t shy about talking up its abilities” and he rams the point home with the anecdote that he has a corporate t-shirt that boasts a company slogan of “Mission impossible achieved”.
A major problem with the IT industry is that it is too heavily driven by sales hype that plays on the naivety of easily persuaded customers. Professionalism, on the other hand, is about telling the truth, whether the client likes the message, or not.
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Wednesday, December 02, 2009 5:46:49 PM (GMT Standard Time, UTC+00:00)  #
Comments [1] General | IT Profession | Trackback

Review Entries for Day Monday, September 21, 2009
The British Computer Society (BCS) launched its new branding over the weekend and it is clearly setting an ambitious course. The changes clearly run far deeper than just the corporate colour change from blue to green. Firstly, it is obvious from the web site that it wants to fulfil a more global role rather than just one confined to the United Kingdom. It has conspicuously stopped calling itself The British Computer Society in favour of referring to itself simply as the BCS.
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Monday, September 21, 2009 8:29:48 PM (GMT Standard Time, UTC+00:00)  #
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Review Entries for Day Tuesday, August 25, 2009

I welcome the joint report produced by fellows of The Royal Academy of Engineering (RAE), The Institution of Engineering and Technology (IET) and The British Computer Society (BCS) entitled: "Engineering Values in IT", which was published on 3rd August 2009 and is available from the academy's web site.

The report recommends that "appropriately qualified Chartered Engineers (CE) and Chartered IT Professionals (CITP) should be employed to lead and manage major IT projects within both government and industry."

I sense that, in particular, Chartered IT Professional (CITP) status is a qualification whose time is now rapidly approaching. I’ve noted over recent months that many IT professionals in senior positions have recently been awarded chartered status.

It is a necessarily hard qualification to achieve and is certainly on a par with those in other chartered professions, such as Chartered Accountants or Chartered Surveyors.

The motivation for the report was the critical importance of IT at a national level.

The report notes that the take up of chartered status within information technology remains a problem. I certainly think that those who have attained the CITP qualification should make it clear that they are "Chartered IT Professionals", since I believe that this will accelerate its adoption.

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Tuesday, August 25, 2009 9:29:16 AM (GMT Standard Time, UTC+00:00)  #
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Review Entries for Day Wednesday, September 10, 2008
I think one of the long term problems that faces the IT profession is how we train new entrants to our profession. Established professions, such as law and surveying, have long had well-defined routes that graduates can take to become qualified.
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Wednesday, September 10, 2008 5:46:13 PM (GMT Standard Time, UTC+00:00)  #
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