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IT, an emerging global profession

it global profession

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In an emerging global IT profession a major contributor in Canada and around the world is CIPS – Canada’s Association of Information Technology Professionals.

CIPS is a founding partner of International Professional Practice Partnership (IP3), a standard that provides a global platform to help shape and implement relevant policies to foster professionalism in IT worldwide. CIPS is also known for its I.S.P. and ITCP designations. CIPS is the only professional organization in Canada that offers an Information Technology (IT) designation that is recognized by law in Canada.

The I.S.P. is legislated as a self regulating designation in six provinces: British Columbia, Alberta, Saskatchewan, Ontario, New Brunswick and Nova Scotia. Other provinces are working toward similar legislation through their provincial government. The I.S.P. designation is also recognized in the United Kingdom (by the British Computer Society), Australia (by the Australian Computer Society), New Zealand (by the New Zealand Computer Society), and in the USA, CIPS has a mutual recognition agreement with the ICCP to facilitate easier cross-border movement for professionals in IT.

CIPS has its 2012 I.T. Professionalism Week this year from Monday Oct 29th to Friday November 2nd, where CIPS hopes to increase awareness about the importance of professionalism in the I.T. industry today. CIPS defines a profession as

a disciplined group of individuals who adhere to high ethical standards and are accepted by the public as possessing special knowledge and skills in a widely recognized, organized body of learning derived from specialized education and training.”

Many years ago, as the President of an ICCP Student Chapter, I organized an event which brought together learners from various higher education programs in Atlantic Canada. One of the topics was around professionalism and certification. Looking back it was that topic that led me to pursue and earn an ICCP designation, which in turn later helped me achieve the CIPS I.S.P.

In the years since then, I’ve organized and helped run various CIPS provincial and national events, and even chaired a provincial CIPS certification group when many in the province obtained their I.S.P.. I have also proctored ICCP exams and shared my thoughts about the topic of professionalism and certification on various sites and even in an ebook. In fact that topic has led me to pursue and obtain various designations (including the ITCP) and to even become the first in Canada to obtain an ISO/TickIT auditor credential which helped me become the first to obtain a Software Development Quality Auditor designation from CIPS. That topic (professionalism and certification), in fact also led me to help others obtain other designations (e.g., CQA).

Considering the intrinsic and pervasive nature of the many subjects that may be connected to the IT Profession (as examples indented are links to some prior posts, feel free to comment on any), a couple essential elements in relation to professionalism and an emerging global IT profession may be the establishment of a common body of knowledge and legislation. Do you agree?

Do you think such things are sufficiently established or that they will be in the near future (e.g., by 2020)?

Links to some prior posts:

Do you have or need cyber risks insurance in case of a cyber attack?
When a privacy policy is not enough!
How does your organization assess the effectiveness of internal audits?
Service management scope definition
Information security guidance
Risk management in the cloud
COBIT 5: a look at the update
Information technology and modern quality management
Modern quality management (2011 Future of Quality Study)
Modern quality management, part five

Coming back to the topic at hand, professionalism and certification is now leading me to pose this question to you.

Whether you came to the IT world from a computer science, commerce, business, accounting, engineering, legal, marketing or some other program name, it would be interesting to hear whether you feel an official global IT profession needs to reach a level where a particular IT professional designation would be listed by employers as preferred or by governments as a requirement to practice.

As always comments are welcome. Thank you in advance for sharing your thoughts. And Special Thanks to Brenda Byers (CIPS Chair National Board of Directors) for providing the following comment about the emerging global IT profession,

The concept of a global IT profession is even more than ever, on the minds of government and industry leaders around the world. I had the privilege to attend the IFIP World Computer Congress in Amsterdam Netherlands Sept 24th-26th. The theme of the conference was “Towards an innovative, secure and sustainable information society”. I was humbled to sit in a room with the IFIP General Assembly, which included delegates from the European Union, Middle Eastern, Asian and African Countries, Australia, New Zealand and North America. IFIP has representatives from 56 ICT organizations from over 90 countries and surprisingly their concerns and challenges are not that different. Many sessions had future predicting topics such as the proliferation of online and open course are that, is now and will even more so, deliver training to much larger and more distributed virtual classrooms. Rings value to their communities, such as using mobile phone apps to monitor the sick and elderly to improve safety and improve quality of life. In general the entire world is aware technology that is everywhere and because of this ubiquitous nature of IT, ICT managers and the general public have a much higher awareness of what impact technology has on communities. Therefore there is a desire to mature IT certification and professionalism in many countries, whom do not yet have the institutions in place to ensure consistence high standards in IT service delivery is maintained, in all industries. In the next 5 to 10 years it will be unusual for a country to be without this type of institution and they will have achieved far more awareness of what is meant by an IT professional. Canada is lucky to have had CIPS around since 1958 which makes Canada a country with one of the most mature ICT professions in the world. Canadians are not known for ‘blowing their own horn’ but during this year’s I.T. Professionalism Week we have every right to be proud of how far our IT profession has advanced in Canada. We need to spread our knowledge and expertise in other countries, many of whom IFIP, IP3 and CIPS are currently working with. These countries are looking to us to guide them to the level of professional maturity the Canadian IT industry enjoys. CIPS is also a founding member of IFIP. If any CIPS members are interested in participating on any of the IFIP Technical Committees please contact us at

Ron Richard
Quality Management Specialist

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Ron Richard

Quality, Information Technology and Enterprise Risk Management specialist at Ron Richard Consulting
Ron Richard, Quality, Information Technology and Enterprise Risk Management specialist has held positions at most any level of an organization, and acquired more than 30 years of relevant experience including related work done at the College of the North Atlantic. Ron is author of Inherent Quality Simplicity and the Inside Internal Control newsletter Modern Quality Management series. Read more
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