IT Industry Must Co-ordinate Better to Reach Maturity

The IT industry must work more closely if it is to be recognised as an established profession like architecture and accountancy, according to the British Computer Society (BCS).

Adam Thilthorpe, manager of the BCS professionalism in IT programme, said the urgency to mature was being driven by the ‘frantic’ changes in the global economy, writing in the new e-newsletter IT Professional.

“It is clear the IT industry cannot spend another 50 years before it reaches the common hallmarks of a mature profession. There are a lot of organisations out there that operate loosely on major IT issues, doing their bit to create the IT profession of the future. The BCS, along with industry partners, needs to work even harder to bring it all together—and fast, if we are to benefit fully from the brave new IT global economy.”

He adds: “The profession appears to have matured at an exponential rate, if the way it’s been absorbed into everyday life is anything to go by. Yet, despite the fantastic, and some would say, frantic, achievements over the past 15 years, the IT profession is still very much an adolescent in terms of professional maturity—that is, it is an organised community, but not much more.”

According to a report called Validating the IT Professionalism Model, IT is recognised as a community and the IT industry is working towards the creation of a standards regime.

The BCS has already created a code of conduct and disciplinary procedures for its 63,000 members.

However, the industry has yet to establish an over-arching governing framework or reach a situation where the IT professional puts the needs of society above those of their career and employer—the traditional milestones of a mature profession.

Adam concludes: “Continuing to hone technology and business skills is key to the ability to exploit IT effectively and the development of a solid career path. But being an IT professional is more than just being good at your job and passing exams. An established professional assumes a level of personal responsibility and accountability which is recognised by employers, customers and other professionals. It’s that level of respect that is hard-earned, and therefore worth keeping, that we need to create.”