What is a professional development plan and why is it important?

Continuous professional development is all about keeping your professional skills and knowledge up to date. Examples of CPD activities include courses, regular reading, or taking on new challenges. It helps you reach your career goals and achieve more at work.

Digital technology is constantly changing, making professional development planning essential for IT professionals. With the right development plan in place, you can win new opportunities and follow your ideal career path.

How to create a professional development plan

BCS offers a whole library of CPD content, from qualifications and short online courses to articles and podcasts from the experts. While you’ll need to pay for some of our courses, others are completely free. Each one is aligned with the Skills Framework for the Information Age (SFIA) to ensure you’re developing the most relevant and in-demand skills.

Discover professional development plan content with a free MyBCS account

Ready to progress in your career? Set up a free MyBCS account to start exploring our content library and begin your personal development plan with plenty more to discover. It takes just a couple of minutes and is completely free.

Check out a sample of our popular Green IT course

Professional development plans for every stage of your career

CPD is crucial in every area of digital technology, from software development to business analysis. It also supports you at each stage of your career, whether you’re a senior leader or just starting out.

New starters

The professional world can be daunting at first, even if you’ve got plenty of technical knowledge. As well as covering specialist topics like AI and cyber security, our CPD helps you develop the soft skills you need to thrive in the workplace.

IT specialists

Access advanced knowledge and fresh thinking in areas from data analysis to user experience, all developed by leading experts.

Career changers

Whether you’re taking on new responsibilities or switching to an entirely different career, we’ll help you develop the skills to flourish in your role.

Senior leaders

Leading your team towards success requires different skills from the technical ones you’ve gained throughout your career. Join us to develop fundamental leadership skills, stay aware of issues like diversity and inclusion, and access insights from thought leaders.

Non-IT professionals

While our continuous professional development plans support thousands of IT professionals, digital technology is now integral to most job roles. Explore topics like sustainable IT to achieve more whatever your profession.

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More from BCS

Check out what BCS has to offer, from a vibrant community to expert publications.

Your personal development plan

Easily plan, record and reflect on your progress with our personal development planning tool. You’ll need a MyBCS account to access this.


Read the latest insights, ideas and perspectives from BCS and our global community of digital experts.

Specialist groups

Explore more than 50 specialist interest groups where BCS members share knowledge and experiences, debate ideas, and grow their network.


Broaden your network, develop new skills, and raise your profile by joining BCS as a volunteer.


Discover over 60 titles that draw on the expertise of our community to bring you the latest knowledge.

Online IT professional development courses

Reach your professional goals by staying up to date with the latest digital developments. From ethical AI to digital leadership, our online IT courses develop the most in-demand skills so that you can stay ahead in a fast-changing and competitive profession.