IT chiefs demand chartered qualifications

IT chiefs demand chartered qualifications

IT leaders criticise current qualifications

IT leaders have castigated the state of the professional qualifications, arguing that a industry-wide charter system is urgently needed.

The current morass of IT qualifications on offer is impairing business leaders' ability to distinguish between potential employees, warned David Byrne, architecture director at The Carphone Warehouse: "People have a whole scattering of qualifications when they apply to jobs and it makes it difficult to know what is what."

The introduction of a widely-recognised chartered qualification is essential in helping IT define the skills practitioners have, and thereby gain credibility within the enterprise, said Peter Green, operations director, Telegraph Media Group. "IT needs a professional standard just like other professions do, such as accounting. People that have a chartered qualification would be looked at very differently."

The Chartered IT Professional (CITP) qualification, offered by the British Computing Society (BCS), has been condemned as being unfit for purpose by Robert Chapman, director of IT training company Firebrand. "The BCS maintains an intellectual focus at odds with the general perception in the market place," he said.

While the BCS's website advertises CITP as "the hallmark of a true IT professional" it falls short of providing a gold standard to the industry because business leaders do not understand what the qualification provides.

"We need to define the roles that exist within IT like industries such as engineering and architecture industries do," said Byrne. "We have a clear expectation of what say, an architect does, and people understand what to expect, but the role in IT are less clearly defined.

The BCS has insisted that its work with other professional bodies, such as the Institution of Engineering and Technology (IET), would provide the clarity over professional IT qualifications that business is demanding.

"Our decision to make CITP much more widely available is a major step for the BCS. Our trustees have taken this decision in the interests of the profession and see it as an important step towards achieving the aims of the BCS professionalism in IT initiative," said David Clarke, BCS chief executive, said in a statement.

Nevertheless, widespread confusion over IT qualifications persists. Jim Haslem, chief information officer at Bromley Council insisted the few business leaders understood the BCS framework.

The lack of clarity around IT qualifications is tarnishing IT's reputation within the enterprise, and thus undermining corporate competitiveness, said Graham Spittle, chair of the UK Technology Strategy Board, an industry think-tank dedicated to promoting technology-enabled innovation. "We need a strong IT based qualification because IT is pervasive as the other sciences."