Continuing professional development (CPD)
Wherever you are in your career, your continuing professional development (CPD) really matters. But what is CPD and why is it so important? And how do you do it?
Let’s find out...
What activities count as CPD?
There are many activities that can contribute to enhancing your knowledge and skills - these include:
Activities at work
This is about working outside of the usual scope of your role, maybe with different technologies, in other business departments or a larger team, or with more responsibility. You might have a new role requiring you to undertake training and development to become more effective.
Study for a qualification over an extended period, or take a short course to gain specific knowledge or develop skills in leadership and management. These could be:
- a programme or short course run by a college or university
- a practitioner qualification awarded by a specialist training provider
There’s always an event or meet-up happening, where you can connect with other tech professionals and learn from your peers. Attend a conference or trade show, or check the BCS calendar for a branch or specialist group meeting near you. Organising or presenting at these events will also contribute to your CPD.
Earn your place on a professional register by demonstrating your knowledge and competence. There are a range of professional registrations awarded by BCS to suit your career stage.
Continue your professional development by gaining new skills and acquiring new knowledge through self-study. This might be by reading and researching in books, blogs or journals, listening to podcasts or watching webinars.
Contribute your professional knowledge and competence in a voluntary role in your community, at work or with BCS - find out about volunteer roles with BCS.
The CPD cycle
As the name suggests, your CPD is something that you should be continually doing. When planning your CPD it’s useful to break down the activities into four key stages.
Self-evaluation is key to understanding what to focus on. Identify your needs in your current role as well as for any future roles. You could review yourself against requirements in a job description, or consider what you need in order to complete specific work or overcome challenges.
2. Create your plan
Once you've carried out your self-evaluation, use the information you have acquired to create a personal development plan (PDP). This will allow you to set yourself some specific goals and plan what types of CPD you can undertake that align to your aspirations.
3. Undertake CPD
There are many types of CPD activities you can do ranging from formal training activities and informal learning e.g. reading a blog or watching a video, to those that allow you to stretch your current capabilities, rise to new challenges and learn from your experiences within the workplace.
It’s always important that you take time to reflect on the CPD activities you have undertaken in order to identify what you've learnt and how you can apply it within your own context, and to establish what you are going to do next.
Fine-tune your continued professional development
Get a taster of BCS membership by accessing our full CPD guide and planning your next goal.
Keeping track of your CPD progress
As you complete your development activities, it’s essential you keep a record of them so you can track what you’ve done and monitor how your knowledge, skills and competencies improve over time. This will also help you to plan your future development goals.
The BCS personal development plan is designed to help you do all of this.
Keep your skills on point as a BCS member
Access the tools and support you need to continue growing throughout your career - including our CPD portal, IT skills framework, member-only learning events and knowledge challenges.