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IT Professional ? - Prove it !

Discussion in 'Employment & Jobs' started by UKDarkstar, Nov 13, 2008.

  1. UKDarkstar
    Honorary Member

    UKDarkstar Terabyte Poster

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    Ok, provocative title maybe but I thought I'd throw this open for discussion following a Dorset BCS meeting I went to last night. The meeting details were :

    Abstract:

    The world of continuing professional development (CPD) and work-based learning (WBL) is changing fast. Yet two clear themes are emerging: first, professionals – including IT professionals – want recognised career paths with progression routes and structured development programmes; and secondly, employers want evidence and external accreditation of what a person can actually do. Professional bodies have responded by developing skills frameworks. The BCS is no exception here through its participation in E-skills' PROCOM professional competency model and the SFIA Foundation's Skills Framework for the Information Age, not to mention CEN/ISSS' European e-Competence Framework. As individual professionals, we need to reflect on and evaluate our achievements, and identify our own CPD needs. We are all, necessarily, lifelong learners now. This talk focuses of what universities have to offer in this new world of continual professional development and lifelong learning.

    The speaker was : Colston Sanger - Faculty of Business, Computing and Information Management at London South Bank University


    Ok, so it reads like a bit of a "dry" subject and as it turned out there were only a few of us there so it became a much more informal affair. The speaker made a short presentation around what we mean by a "profession", how activity to retain professionalism could be measured and what role educational establishments could play linking with employers.

    As some here will know, the BCS adheres to SFIA (Skills Framework for the Information Age - www.sfia.org.uk ) and we got into a lively debate about how CPD can be verified or audited for an individual, what sort of things would count towards a CPD requirement and how CPD could be used.

    There were some calls for CPD to be made mandatory in order to increase the perception of IT as a profession but it was also recognised that there were alternatives. One scenario was that if your personal IT CPD record was well regarded and recognised across the industry (and by this I mean by all employers (not just IT co's), recruiters etc) then it could provide a valuable aid to job-hunting - possibly even doing away with recruiters as employers could assess for themselves the strength of a candidate based on certifications and CPD record.

    On a final note, just to say thanks to Colston Sanger and Dr Dan Diaper who chaired the meeting as, although the numbers attending were small, I certainly felt it was useful and productive.

    Anyway, this thread was just to spark people thinking about it, so what's your view ?
     
    Certifications: BA (Hons), MBCS, CITP, MInstLM, ITIL v3 Fdn, PTLLS, CELTA
    WIP: CMALT (about to submit), DTLLS (on hold until 2012)
  2. dmarsh

    dmarsh Terabyte Poster

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    I think we are in a virtual quagmire, every year I get more experience, qualifications and skills yet finding work gets harder.

    Employers cannot reliably differentiate candidates, recruiters generally make the situation worse, HR could care less, certification and professional bodies say they have answers, but as we have seen with braindumps their answers can bring as many problems as solutions.

    All the time I see impossible job adverts like "Mandatory 10 years C#", or "Mandatory these 10 random very rare skills", often for derisory rates of pay. The recruiters don't even realise that they are asking the impossible.

    Generic roles and skills are whats important, the exact template based approach in my mind is very short sighted.

    I see no reason why a truly open market can't be created, this does ask many questions. Are recruiters helping to inflate prices, would an open market result in IT workers in fact getting less ? Can it really be created given that HR departments seem to shun the recruitment role ? Many times I have sent my CV direct never to hear a call when a couple weeks later an agent places me there. I have also recommended colleagues yet campanies have often insisted on them going through an agency.
     
    Certifications: CITP, BSc, HND, SCJP, SCJD, SCWCD, SCBCD, SCEA, N+, Sec+, Proj+, Server+, Linux+, MCTS, MCPD, MCSA, MCITP, CCDH
  3. UKDarkstar
    Honorary Member

    UKDarkstar Terabyte Poster

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    Do you not feel then that a recognised CPD system would go some way to get around that problem as it would show you stay up to date with your subject etc ? It would surely help to get around the problem of the paper certs as a CPD record would surely go some way to back up certs and experience ?
     
    Certifications: BA (Hons), MBCS, CITP, MInstLM, ITIL v3 Fdn, PTLLS, CELTA
    WIP: CMALT (about to submit), DTLLS (on hold until 2012)
  4. dmarsh

    dmarsh Terabyte Poster

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    Well thats how I thought about my GCSEs, A-levels, HND, Degree, Certifications, experience...

    Who decides whats relevant ? Who grades the professionals development ? There is a natural conflict here.

    If I worked for a small groundbreaking company on open source how would the system affect me ?

    How do I know that this new system will be fair, relevant and effective ?

    As I've mentioned before, there seems to be a perpetual inference that IT professionals are not professionals, regardless of how hard they work or train.

    In fact I'd probaby go further to say that the UK has a fairly poor record for how it treats scientists and engineers in general.

    We are about to enter financial meltdown but nobody says Gordon Brown is not a professional politician, or that the investment and retail bankers that brought it on are not professionals. In fact these people probably have far more status, professional memberships and letters after their name than you or I will ever have.
     
    Certifications: CITP, BSc, HND, SCJP, SCJD, SCWCD, SCBCD, SCEA, N+, Sec+, Proj+, Server+, Linux+, MCTS, MCPD, MCSA, MCITP, CCDH
  5. UKDarkstar
    Honorary Member

    UKDarkstar Terabyte Poster

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    Well, there are alternatives to SFIA and I would say that at a personal level it's not so much about grading as showing that you remain in touch with your field of work.

    For example, some years back I was an IFA and we had a compulsory requirement to log 60 hours of CPD in a year. Now that could be achieved by background reading or attending a technical seminar and things of that nature. It was broken down into specific areas so you couldn't just say that reading the FT every day was sufficient.

    You could apply a similar thing to IT and if you look in detail at SFIA it goes beyond any CPD assessment and into a framework for specifying job parameters and at various levels of seniority and experience too. I'm not saying that's right or wrong, it's just one way of doing it.

    From my own perspective of jobhunting, if there was a recognised system of CPD that I could present as part of my CV or at interview, I would welcome it.
     
    Certifications: BA (Hons), MBCS, CITP, MInstLM, ITIL v3 Fdn, PTLLS, CELTA
    WIP: CMALT (about to submit), DTLLS (on hold until 2012)
  6. Arroryn
    Honorary Member

    Arroryn we're all dooooooomed

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    Thanks for a great thread, UKD.

    CPD has long been an acknowledged way of accrediting and developing professionals, without the need for "recertification" per se.

    DMarsh's point on who would grade the development is the most critical factor.

    As ever, my only personal(ish) experience of this is the CPD points required by every admitted solicitor to enable them to continue practising each year.

    This is regulated by the Law Society, as the recognised national regulatory body for the profession.

    CPD in technical professions is normally administered by the professional body awarding chartership for the profession - in this case, it would be the BCS that regulates the CPD points for the IT profession, perhaps until the IET release the ICTTech track.

    But with IT being such diverse career minefield, how do you begin administering it?

    One would presume you have to be a BCS member to fall under their CPD requirements. So would students and AMBCS members require less CPD points, with higher amounts of points being required, the more advanced in your career you become?

    With the way the BCS doesn't even seem to be in control of its mailing lists (anyone else on the list that's been having some fun this morning?!) I wouldn't put it in control of administering my CPD.
     
    Certifications: A+, N+, MCDST, 70-410, 70-411
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  7. steve_f

    steve_f Byte Poster

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    Great thread.

    I work in a firm of accountants, and I am very jealous of the structured progression that accountants have.

    For example, come in as an accounting student, with any degree, start studying for the ACA, start on say £23k, get a raise of about £1.5k each time you pass an ACA exam, 2-3 years later you have an in-demand qualification and are on nearly £40K.
    You could still be only 24 years old and making 40k!

    Then there are structured paths to become supervisor, assistant manager, manager, senior manager, partner.

    None of that in the IT department though. At least not here.
     
    Certifications: MCDST, MCSA 2003+Messaging, MCITP:SA, MCSA 2008, ITIL v3 Foundation, Comptia Server+ 2009, CCA Xenapp 6.5, VCP5-DV
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  8. UKDarkstar
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    UKDarkstar Terabyte Poster

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    The point here, though, is that however quickly those accountants qualify, they will then have a yearly CPD requirement which lends credibility to them as a profession (ok, they may get called a few other names too ! :D ).

    The proposal is that by having some sort of certified CPD scheme for IT people would be more likely to have their careers viewed as a profession and that there would be knock-on effects (positive ones) for employers being able to confirm skill levels.

    Arro - take your point about the BCS but I did raise some issues personally with the new President yesterday and whilst his replies to me were of a personal nature I think it fair to say that I was impressed with his attitude in trying to "update" the BCS. Like all these things, it takes time.
     
    Certifications: BA (Hons), MBCS, CITP, MInstLM, ITIL v3 Fdn, PTLLS, CELTA
    WIP: CMALT (about to submit), DTLLS (on hold until 2012)
  9. Wassup

    Wassup Byte Poster

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    some good points and having some form of CPD within the IT industry would be an excellent idea.

    I was at the AGM for the Dorset BCS when another speaker raised some points about getting CITP status recognised at the same level as other chartered professionals, but as you say it will all take time.
     
  10. Jiser

    Jiser Kilobyte Poster

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    Sounds great, specially for someone like me, starting out in the world - just finished my degree etc. I am getting on for 3 years I.T. working now and I must admit other professions to put the 'I.T. Career' to shame.

    However nothing is really gonna change is it unless a mass voice presents itself to said important institutions.

    Ah well, maybe with a bit of hard work and time one can earn a bit of money in this I.T. world..
     
    Certifications: BSc (Hons), PGc, MCTS:Win 7, MCSA W7/MCITP EDST, ITIL Foundation, Prince 2 Foundation, C&G: Web Design, MOS 07: Excel, Word, Powerpoint, Outlook.

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