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Chartered Status for IT Professionals

Monday, 16th of October 2017

“Long Story, Good progress, Work to do.” Talking to Mr. Paul Martynenko, the new President of BCS, The Chartered Institute for IT, he revealed the importance of having a BCS Chartered I.T Degree and how far they’ve come in creating a Profession for IT Graduates. “Sixty years isn’t a very long time. However during this time we have created a Profession and Sri Lanka is a great example of that. We have created a Profession in U.K. We have globally almost 73,000 members and we have a long way to go; because the numbers of people working in IT in the world are in millions.

We are not a regulated Profession like a Doctor, but we do now have chartered status which is helping people identify that people who have this chartered status is signed up to a code of conduct. It is not regulated by the code of conduct but can have their chartered status removed if they don’t behave properly and they are signed up to do an honest and ethical job. That’s good progress.” Mr. Paul Martynenko was on a visit to Sri Lanka to attend the Graduation Ceremony of new BCS Graduates. The Ceremony was held on the 8th of October 2017.

Mr. Martynenko highlighted the importance of being responsible for the job done by a professional: “In the U.K there are 35 Professional Engineering Institutes, and it took them quite a long time to get there. We got those today, in our first 60 years, we’ve made good progress, we’ve got a good base, we have a good set of qualifications but we still have a lot of work to do. As we move from engineering the back office to maintaining the payrolls, sales ledgers and online transaction processes; as we move from there to now working more closely with the public.

So providing systems which help Doctors, Lawyers we as computer professionals have to take greater responsibility.” My first programme 40 years ago, it was a payroll print programme nobody writes those today and it wasn’t that good either. So some people got pay slips which were wrong. Did that matter? No: In the scheme of things, no. But if you’re helping a doctor or a nurse, you better get it right. So I think we’ve got much more to do. Long Story, good progress, work to do.” When asking about the standards of Sri Lankan education, this is what Mr. Paul Martynenko had to say: “I attended the Software Awards on Friday night, I was hugely impressed.

Because the topics they were talking about was which I could see some of the major countries discussing. I would say fabulous. What I was looking at in terms of small software companies opposed to big software companies producing advanced software fantastic. It was really good. The other thing about software is that it’s global. Anyone in the world could write a programme. And Sri Lanka has a very good education system; you have a lot of good programmers and good system. I think it’s a great opportunity and IT is your 5th most important industry, from an export point of view which is wildly growing.”

He also touched on Sri Lanka’s potential as a country in the field of IT: “You have a clear focus on education; I read that in your daily press. So while I’ve been here I’ve been reading your business news and your government has a clear focus on skills and skills development education. On Friday, Mr. Harin Fernando talked about his plans for schools and plans for putting technology in to schools. Brilliant, really enabling people to use technology.

The more people you have, the better. It’s a skill. It’s not about being stronger than anybody else, not that you need any natural resources, it’s not that. It’s about people’s skills in IT. His plans I think are ones that you should really support.” This Qualification is also suited for Senior Management as it is a demonstration of skills according to the president of BCS. “The BCS is a professional body in the U.K, and it’s registered as a charity. In terms of investment, we’ve been investing chartered IT professionals.

We’re looking at trying to find more ways to make this more attractive and at the moment what we have is a breath of knowledge test so if people want to be chartered they have to sit an exam. That’s okay, but if you’ve got the experience and can demonstrate the experience, defining in an exam in really tight details does not quite suit Senior Managers. So what we are trying to do with Chartered status is not trying to say that you can take the test or you have to demonstrate equivalence.

We are trying to be very specific about some feature of ITIL which is one of the standards which is good but isn’t relevant for everybody, and we hope to make the standard same but more accommodating.” Mr. Paul Martynenko on a promising note stated the hopeful improvements to be done in the future by BCS: “It is our duty to represent. What I mean by that is there are number of topics coming up now in the field of IT for society.

Whether it’s in healthcare, education or data it matters. And our success as a community is going to depend on the willingness of the public to accept some of the things we do. Part of that willingness is to help understand why good IT is good for society. What we should be doing is we have a number of areas we are looking at, for example: data, privacy, security.

These areas which as a Profession we represent our members and society, we feel responsible for making sure that IT is good for society. So it’s identifying those ideas and the change. We’ve changed in the last three years really focusing on what’s important. That is why now our tag line is ‘Making IT good for society.’ Our members are telling us what the challenges are; press is telling us what our challenges are. What we are trying to do is put these together and pull it through.

If there is anyone in the world, and needs to benefit from IT, what have we got to do? that is what we are planning to do.” On a concluding note, he added “Should we engage in discussions with governments, about regulations and rules whether we could help make sure things are open. Our job is to make sure those standards and skills are maintained. So the public and other professions can trust us. But we’re a young profession. Sixty years is not that long, it’s only one life time! Sixty years ago there was no IT. We’ve gone from that point to where we are now and we’ve got a lot to catch up. This is what we want to do.”

Devuni Goonewardene

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