Continuing Professional Development

People climbing stairs Continuing Professional Development (CPD) is a concept that the Young Professionals Group (YPG) whole-heartedly support and indeed, it is a key element to the realisation of professional membership of the BCS - the only chartered professional body for the IT Industry.

As a concept, Continuing Professional Development is as applicable to any other type of professional industry as it is to that of Information Technology. Yet, for many different reasons, the ideas and principles that underlie this concept make it particularly well suited to a technical profession, such as IT.

Indeed, from a technically-biased perspective, the Engineering Council define CPD as, "systematic maintenance, improvement and broadening of knowledge and skill and the development of personal qualities necessary for the execution of professional and technical duties throughout the individual's working life". Now, while this definition very precisely describes CPD, it's perhaps a little verbose and so, in order to simplify the definition, we might describe CPD as "a BCS -supported, self-development scheme".

That is, CPD is something that provides us with a framework for systematically managing our own personal and professional development. But isn't this something that the vast majority of us do already? Isn't it in fact the case that as students and professionals, we're actually developing ourselves in many different ways? Absolutely we are. Indeed, in many ways, through our day-to-day experiences, we can learn and develop ourselves all the time.

But what's different about the definitions we've provided above and what makes the CPD Scheme significant is that it provides us with a framework for making this development process explicit and structured. And so rather than relying on day-to-day experience to provide our development, with CPD, we're encouraged to adopt a proactive approach to the learning process. But why exactly should we want to do this? A valid question.