The British Computer Society (BCS) has re-branded itself as "BCS – The Chartered Institute for IT", rolling out a new logo, a re-designed web site and a new focus for the UK's oldest IT society.
The BCS unveiled a raft of new initiatives, designed to enhance its value to its members, the IT profession, the academic community and the general public.
"We're announcing a complete transformation of BCS into The Chartered Institute for IT, and we're going to change how we present ourselves, focusing on the chartered aspect," said BCS chief executive David Clarke.
Clarke said the BCS had completed significant research into what the IT profession wants from a professional body, given that there are a million people working in IT in the UK, acknowledging that BCS membership was still only "a small percentage of that million people.
But encouraging employers to accept the need for staff to attain Chartered IT Professional (CITP) status has been and will continue to prove difficult, said Clarke.
"These people work in a certain way, they have a certain level of knowledge, and they operate to a code of conduct – but that doesn't say anything about their competence," he said.
If CITP could give employers such information, "then you've got something," said Clarke.
BCS has been developing its chartered standard for the past three years, and has gone down the road of assessing people's competency. BCS will have a register and employers will be able to ask if the registered person has the claimed level of competency.
BCS will have an online application process for CITP status ready in early October, but the site is still being tested said Clarke.
CITP will be based on the Skills Framework for the Information Age (SFIA), and Clarke said the UK government would be using SFIA as the basis of all its IT-related work.
"We've tied CITP to level five [out of seven] of this skills architecture," he said.
BCS said successful applicants would be issued with a Certificate of Current Competence valid for five years, after which they will be a requirement to undertake revalidation to acquire a new certificate.
The society also plans to create a new Academy of Computing to provide an integrated and coherent approach to advancing IT and computing across education, research and business. The organisation also aims to extend its reach internationally with a plan to offer its qualifications to new countries, including the Asia-Pacific region, Germany and Spain.
Clarke said a further goal is to increase the value BCS gives its members and other key communities.
"Over the next 12 months, we will introduce a wide range of new qualifications, products and services designed to do this," he said.
Clarke said the new services will include a member networking facility " based on the latest Web 2.0 technologies", a new BCS web site and a revamped jobs web site - BCSrecruit.com – as well as other career development tools designed to help members boost their job prospects.
Clark said the BCS is unveiling a new strategy focusing on five key objectives.
"[These are:] bridging the gap between education, practice and research; giving IT practitioners the professional development and career support they deserve; informing public policy on how IT can contribute to society; ensuring everyone benefits from IT; and championing the global IT profession," he said.