Aiming to raise professionalism

ArchitectAs the government pledges to increase all levels of skills in the UK, IT-related organisations continue their work to raise professionalism, which should improve skills too. We asked the Prof IT alliance partners what they are doing in that sphere.

BCS, e-skills UK, Intellect and NCC launched the Prof IT alliance as a signal of their intent to work together to raise professionalism in the IT industry. The impetus came out of the Professionalism in IT programme initiated by the BCS, which was set up in response to recognition of the need for the profession to play a full and effective part at all stages of IT-enabled business change programmes and projects.

Effective IT systems are fundamental to the ability of business managers to compete and to meet customer expectations. Exploited professionally the IT industry will gain respect and be valued by all its stakeholders.

National Computing Centre

The IS Professionalism Programme is a community research programme that is designed to capture current best practice across ten key aspects of IS management that together encompass professionalism in IS. The programme outputs have been generated through a series of facilitated workshops with end-users and vendors represented. A best practice guide will be published in the Autumn and the material will form the basis of a qualification recognised by the BCS.

The Enterprise Architecture & Systems Engineering Programme (EA-SE), which started in June 2007, tackles the key issues of technology strategy, deployment and management. Run in association with the IET, the EA-SE programme seeks to define best practice through a series of open workshops, ultimately leading to the creation of new, contemporary, consensual guidance to be published in 2008.

The CIO Competency Framework is a research programme that identified behaviours and competencies that lead to successful outcomes in the role of CIO or other leadership role in IS. The Framework will be published in September. www.ncc.co.uk/

BCS

BCS wants to see the IT profession recognised alongside longer-established professions such as law and medicine. This ambition aims to have recognition for IT professionals based on a defined set of professional qualifications with all practitioners aspiring to the status of Chartered IT Professional (CITP). CITP is awarded in recognition of experience and commitment to effective and consistent exploitation of IT.
 
This commitment to professionalism underpins the development of products and services offered by the BCS. A recent white paper demonstrated how its extended skills framework SFIAplus (Skills Framework for the Information Age) - which also includes details of training and development resources - reflects industry requirements for a respected standard against which to benchmark IT professionals.
 
To complement this, the BCS's three-tier ISEB qualifications support full career progression for the spectrum of job roles, covering everything from systems development and infrastructure to legal compliance and security.

Intellect

Intellect has developed a set of organisational professionalism guidelines and will be working with IT companies and the public sector to encourage their use. These guidelines are available from the Intellect website.
 
Also, a series of training courses and speaker presentations on professionalism-related themes and case studies from outside the industry have been organised for members for this summer. A set of metrics to demonstrate how implementing professionalism can improve productivity is also being developed and will be shared with the IT supplier community.
 
With the public sector representing a substantial proportion of the IT industry, Intellect supports a specific public sector professionalism programme. For example, it organises an annual dinner for, and other meetings between, public sector senior responsible officers and senior responsible industry experts where debate and sharing of best practice around professionalism is encouraged. www.intellectuk.org

e-skills UK

e-skills UK is campaigning to make the UK world class in technology skills. As part of its professionalism work to support the IT and telecoms professional workforce, e-skills UK has established an industry-endorsed framework for learning and qualifications, the IT Professional Competency Model: PROCOM. 

PROCOM supports the recognition of capability and the development of talent across the workforce. It is presented in clear, simple language and is applicable to businesses of all sizes, across all sectors. PROCOM has been developed through extensive employer consultation and is supported by the Prof IT alliance partners and the CBI. It builds on the Skills Framework for the Information Age (SFIA) and the National Occupational Standards for IT (NOS).

PROCOM will be at the heart of the qualifications reform currently being implemented by e-skills UK following the Leitch Review of skills to 2020. www.e-skills.com/profit

September 2007