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Topic Title: Membership of IT Skill Academy / British Computer Society
Topic Summary: Discussion, comment on the benefits, drawbacks for IT Professionals trying to track personal Professional Develop
Created On: 13 December 2011 08:29 PM
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 13 December 2011 08:29 PM
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Joined: 18 February 2011

I am a paying member of both of these organisations (IT Skill Academy and British Computer Society (BCS)) I am worrying more and more these days that I am wasting my money and I have recently noticed a worrying trend. I signed up to the IT Skill Academy earlier in the year (near on £100) to make use of their online resources. I struggled on with a few of the online courses until my feelings, that it seemed to me any mug can memorise the slides and keep taking the test until you get 100%, got the better of me, having by that point realised I would receive no professional recognition for doing these courses. I then turned to their online book resources only to again be frustrated by the lack of software development / software engineering texts which my colleagues have spoken about, and eerily similar to the book list provided my membership of the BCS... Today I received an e-mail from the IT Skills academy and half way down amidst many other links I spotted 'IT Professional Profile', ah ha! I thought, somewhere I can log in and track my professional development, seeing as the professional tracking facility of the BCS website was removed this year (no fee rebate I might add...) Anyway I was a bit shocked to realise anyone could access this page and basically 'drag and drop' their professional attainment and qualifications. I'm now worried I have aligned myself with completely the wrong organisations. I thought these organisations were about promoting professionalism in the IT but how can there be professionalism when anyone can just make up their own credentials

Am interested to know others thoughts on this, am I just a mug...

Yours, a "medium'ly" mature IT Professional who does not have a Computer Science degree but is trying to gain Professional IT recognition for the years of work and experience I have in the field of software development and engineering (also always looking for ways to improve and deepen my professional development)
 14 December 2011 05:38 PM
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I was also a member of the BCS.

My personal view is this:

There is no need to become professionally registered and/or have any "professional" qualifications as industry and commerce as a whole do not require software practitioners to exhude professional qualities.

No let me qualify this statement. Dependent on the structure of the organisation and its attitude to "coders" is generally that quality can be wholely managed and encapsulated by a process, rather than ensuring the software practioners will impart due diligence. Employers have no or little requirement for software practitioners to be professionally accountable either.
In my career I have worked at numerous wholely software producing organisations, non of which promoted professional registration, nor were interested in professional development. Due to my electronic and electrical training background has led me to be professionally registered, no other reason.
[I'd type more on a long tyraid, but my tea is ready...]

Ian Lowson MIET

Do or do not, there is no try!
 15 December 2011 08:48 AM
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I am a software professional who has always worked in an engineering environment (primarily defence). For that reason I have made my home here and have gained Chartered Engineer status. While its difficult to know how much it has actually helped my career progression. Like Ian the firms that I have worked for have had various degrees of warmth to my being professionally registered and involvement with the IET, but it has significantly helped me personally since it has given me recognition that I follow engineering discipline in my work. The independent assessment of Chartered Engineer was very important to me.

If you are looking for professional recognition and registration I would recommend that you ask the Membership department about your qualifications and experience for impartial advice as to how to gain it.

The IET also provide Career Manager which is a web tool that you can access to build a resume of your career to date, what you have learnt and to document your aspirations. While that may not give the independent assessment of your skills and qualifications, you could use it to provide evidence as to what you have done within your career and the skills achieved. You could also ask the IET for a mentor who might be able to assist you in your career development.
 30 December 2011 12:05 PM
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I will as part for my annual end of year review follow up on your suggestions, many thanks for your comments
 08 January 2012 02:34 AM
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Last time I looked at the BCS it seemed like a route to throwing money away buying meaningless post nominals more than it felt like a route towards professional registration.

Personally, I stayed away, preferring to stay with an organisation like the IET where there is at least some credence of professionalism (entry requirements past having cash) even if the IET isn't as closely aligned to my career path as it is others.
 18 January 2012 07:43 PM
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Just chiming in here (first post, hello!). I have a significant background in software engineering (although my current job doesn't actually involve this, it's a lot more comms-y) and thought for quite a while about joining the BCS. Looking through the website however, I couldn't really justify the cost (I'm gonna be tight until I'm at least 40). Plus my boss is a member of the IET, so what better way to show an interest!
I think Ian might have the best insight on how software engineering is managed though. Shame. Growing up I always pictured myself like a doctor, only surrounded by bits of old computers and printouts. And a beard. A big bushy one.

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