Continuing Professional Development (CPD) FAQ's

To help you with your Continuing Professional Development (CPD) planning, we’ve answered some frequently asked questions:

What is CPD?

It gives you the control of your career-long professional training. It’s an effective method of formally recording your skills, learning and results, in one “document” that allows you to track your progress. A regularly updated CPD record gives you professional kudos and should increase your employability.

Why do I need to do CPD?

To be a professional you need to do CPD; you need to keep your knowledge up-to-date. You also need to develop your skills and competencies throughout your career to enable you to achieve your career aspirations. Even where employers may be able to assist, you are primarily responsible for your own CPD.

Do I have to be a member of BCS?

No. Many BCS, The Chartered Institute for IT, CPD resources are available to anyone working in the IT industry. There are some aspects which require membership login. It’s one of the many benefits of BCS membership to have access to exclusive resources.

Is CPD just training?

No. A CPD activity could be any activity that helps you with your personal and professional development; it could be formal training, it could be a work activity, or it could be reading a publication. Consider developing softer, interpersonal and teamworking skills.

What is reflective learning?

Reflective learning is about planning some learning activity, undertaking the learning activity, and then analysing what you have learnt, how you have applied it to your work, and the real benefits you’ve derived from it (allowing some period of time to see the benefits before reflecting).

Why has BCS adopted this reflective learning approach?

CPD used to be about collecting points for hours attended – whether attendance was beneficial or not. BCS has moved on to follow a reflective learning approach, so that you can reflect on how some learning has been beneficial to you. In doing so you learn what CPD will deliver the results you want.

How much CPD do I need to do?

You are in control - do what you feel you need, and remember, even if you think you are too busy, your day-to-day activities could be CPD if you are developing new skills or operating in more challenging environments.

Does learning outside work count?

Yes, any learning experience counts. Events, courses, home-study, team-building sessions or even personal experiences outside of work (such as a weekend survival course) count. All you need to do is show how it benefitted you personally and professionally on your CPD record.

Is there a minimum number of hours training or study I have to do?

No. Our approach is not all about taking a training course. Training courses are an important type of CPD but it’s not the sole mechanism. It is likely that you will use a mix of different CPD activities to build the knowledge and skills you wish to develop. Sometimes a training course might be the best mechanism, but sometimes other mechanisms may be better.

What if I don’t have the time?

Our CPD programme slots perfectly into a busy career and should be viewed as an important part of your workload. You need to allocate time to your CPD so that it can work for you. It will give you greater employability and more choices about the direction of your career. There are elements of CPD that may already be part of your day-to-day activities, such as developing new skills or operating in more challenging environments, but you may not yet be recognising them as CPD.

Is there a form or template I need to use?

You could use any forms as appropriate, but BCS has developed a recording tool that enables you to record your CPD online and take it wherever you go, to make it easier. Learn more about the recording tool

Why should I do CPD with BCS?

Our approach is flexible and will enable you to tailor it to you needs. The BCS framework remains available to you always and so (as you move throughout your career) the BCS scheme is available to you whenever you want to use it.

My company operates a CPD scheme - do I need to duplicate things?

If you are fortunate enough to have an employer that takes an active interest in your CPD you should use their scheme. However, there are very real benefits in maintaining your CPD with BCS as well, which may mean duplicating things including your appraisal feedback. It is very unlikely, if you change employment, you will be permitted to take your CPD records with you, should you change employer, when they are recorded in your employers system alone.

How should I present my CPD with regard to CITP Certificate of Current Competence revalidation? 

Although BCS does not prescribe the specific CPD activity to be carried out for revalidation of certificates of current competence, following a structured process and recording your CPD is recommended. Don’t leave it to the last few months to do some CPD in time for revalidation and remember, the format of your CPD records is less important than the content when it comes to revalidation; that said, the BCS Personal Development Plan provides an easy mechanism for you to record your CPD and outcomes, and generate a report in preparation for your revalidation submission. More details on how to make a revalidation submission will be provided to those holding a certificate of current competence in advance of their certificate expiry date. More information about CITP Revalidation

What if CPD is not relevant to me and my situation?

If you work in IT or are a new entrant to the industry and want to make progress in your career, you will need a CPD record. Although some used to consider it optional, undertaking CPD and updating your record is now expected by the industry and seen, by many employers, as a key strength. It also gives you kudos among your peers and keeps you at the top of recruiters’ candidate lists.

Additionally, if you are a member of BCS, The Chartered Institute for IT, you have agreed to “develop your professional knowledge, skills and competence on a continuing basis, maintaining awareness of technological developments, procedures, and standards that are relevant to your field”

Record your CPD using the BCS Personal Development Plan!

On a compatible smartphone, tablet device or PC, record your development goals and activities. Start using the BCS Personal Development Plan at pdp.bcs.org today using your MyBCS login and password.

Personal Development Plan

Not a BCS Member? Register here to get your free login and password to use the Personal Development Plan.