Plan your activities

These should be realistic within the context of your personal and professional goals (taking into account those of your employer) and should include SMART (Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Results oriented & Timely) objective setting. 

We recommend you record your activities and goals in the BCS personal development plan, and use the Desired Outcome field to record your SMART objectives. If you're just planning, you can set the goals and activities to "Pending".

Execute and record your activities

Carry out the activities you have planned and monitor the progress of achieving your objectives against that plan.

We recommend you update your CPD records within the BCS personal development plan, ensuring your activities are linked to your goals (where appropriate) and marking them as "In Progress" once you have started them.

Record the outcomes

Once you have completed your activities, identify the results and the achievements and record them. Identify benefits to you as an individual and to your employer.

Reflect on your experience

Once you have been able to put what you have learnt into practice (which may be after a few weeks or even a few months), look back at the experience as a whole; identify learning points both positive and negative to help prepare the next cycle. Some types of development may be particularly beneficial to you whereas others may be less effective. This step helps you to develop your own CPD programme.

The BCS personal development plan is designed to help you reflect on what you have gained. All completed goals and activities show a "Review" button until you have entered a Reviewed Date. You can then, if you wish, record a brief synopsis of what you have gained in the Outcome Achieved field.

Because your plan may require you to complete a number of activities, it may look like this:

In planning your CPD you need to have a number of CPD cycles (which may be quarterly or annually) within a longer time period, perhaps 3 years, which provides the context for your career progression. This means planning on two levels - career aspiration planning, containing cycles of short-term CPD planning:

Your personal development is unique to you, so it is important to plan and monitor your CPD. Planning your CPD will ensure that time doesn’t just go by without you getting the development you need, but it will also ensure that you get the high-value development that is going to give the greatest contribution to your longer-term career aspirations.

Over time, your career aspirations may change and your career direction may change, so you will need to modify your development plans to reflect those changes.

Career aspiration planning

Your career aspirations provide the context for your CPD and allow you to focus short-term CPD activities within your chosen career path.

In general you should not be too precise, but have more general objectives and be looking around three years out. You should be asking yourself questions like:

  • What role do I want to be doing in three years' time?
  • Do I want to stay in my current career path or do I want to make a transition?
  • Do I want to stay technical and progress towards a thought leader role?
  • Do I want to move into a management position?
  • Do I need wider breadth of experience for the role I want?
  • Can my current company give me these opportunities?

It is likely that your career aspirations will change over time and you should keep this career plan up-to-date.

To help you with your planning, members can use Browse SFIAplus. This helps identify work activities, the knowledge and skills required, training activities, professional development activities and potential qualifications.

Shorter-term CPD planning

Identify the CPD you need now and over the next few months to progress your career along your chosen career path. 

This is likely to be a mix of activities including formal and informal training, networking events, private study and stretch tasks that contribute to your development in the role you are currently performing and the roles you aspire to. Fuller list of the types of CPD

Your plan should cover the short-term between 6-12 months; any longer and it tends towards career aspiration planning; any shorter and it tends to be a modification of your CPD plan or the identification of an opportunistic CPD activity. You should look to enhance your capabilities in the areas most important to you, and seek to use the type of CPD that suits you best or suits your current situation.

While it may not always be possible to be so prescriptive, you should consider the bullet points below in planning your CPD; you should at least know why you want some particular CPD and what you hope to gain from it.

  • Specific - Identify a specific development activity; something that addresses a particular need and that can be clearly identified.
  • Measurable - Ensure that the activities identified have a clear objective and that it is possible to determine whether you have achieved it.
  • Achievable - Ensure that the activity is achievable; it is not way beyond you in terms of your ability, and that it is not something you would not be allowed to do. If, for example, your employer will not fund specific training there is no point planning to do it unless you have some other means of achieving it.
  • Results oriented - Ensure you have an expectation of the outcome of your CPD activities – if you can't identify the results you hope to achieve, perhaps you should look for other CPD activities.
  • Timely - Ensure that the objectives can be achieved in an appropriate time-frame and that any sequencing is appropriate.

There may be a single, large CPD activity that effectively is the CPD plan for the next 12 months, an MSc or MBA for instance. Clearly this is planned, in which case your short-term plan may identify particular modules or any additional aspects not covered by the former.

While volunteering is not a specific type of CPD, many people have found that voluntary activities (such as being part of the organising committee for a Specialist Group, Branch or conference, or taking a role in supporting a charity) often provide solid learning and development opportunities.

Revalidation for CITP

For those with Chartered IT Professional (CITP) status who wish to renew their certificate of current competence (every five years), the revalidation process will look for evidence that you have continued to work in the IT profession using skills equivalent to SFIA level-5, for three of the previous five years. We will also look for evidence of appropriate professional development activities which you have undertaken.

CPD is therefore an important part of the CITP revalidation process. Although BCS does not prescribe the specific CPD activity to be carried out for revalidation, following a structured process and recording your CPD activities and outcomes is recommended in order to ensure the maximum benefit. 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. 

Continuing professional development is also a core part of Science Council and Engineering Council registration.