'IT Professional' pondered in Society name change

Not all submissions on the rebranding of the NZ Computer Society embraced the new moniker

The New Zealand Computer Society’s decision to change its name to the Institute of IT Professionals from next month, was agreed to by the vast majority of members who voted (65 in favour, two opposed).

But among the repeated “Yes” votes in the now-released submissions to the consultation on the change is a little self-questioning on whether the new name is the right one.

Labelling the membership “professionals” is almost unanimously supported as a positive change. Despite most companies’ large investment in ICT “we struggle still to be taken seriously in the boardroom,” wrote one submitter. “We need to lose the home hobbyist geeky image and be taken seriously as a professional career option.”

However, there were one or two dissenting voices. “I do not see myself as an IT professional,” one opposed to the name wrote, because “I do not have a tertiary qualification in an IT discipline. Most of the professional work I do is not IT within the definition of [formal skills frameworks].”

Some submitters discussed whether “ICT” might be more appropriate, but the majority came down in favour of “IT”. “My only reservation is the risk that the public may lack a clear understanding of what the term “IT professionals” actually covers,” wrote one submitter. “For example, I expect it to include IT and information system auditors, but would this be recognised in the wider environment?”

Another suggested “Information Systems” rather than IT, contending that IT is a subset of IS.

The debate on that point continues in social media. Calling the IITP’s square logo “a little outdated” (submitters were not asked to comment on the logo), Aimee Whitcroft (@teh_aimee) on Twitter adds “do people really still call it all ‘IT’? Not the ones I know.”

NZCS/IITP CEO Paul Matthews (still @nzcspaul, though he has reserved the identifier @iitppaul) mounts a spirited defence of both logo and name.

The disappearance of “computer” from the title was regretted in some submissions. It was the wrong time to retire it, said one opposed submitter, when “already this year, we have seen the runaway success of the marvellous Raspberry Pi initiative to rekindle interest in computing among British schoolchildren; the Association for Computing, Digital and Information Technology Teachers’ call for NZQA to introduce a computer science scholarship [and] the head of Orion Health, one of New Zealand’s most successful software exporters call for schools to teach computing as the fourth science.”

Orion Health CEO Ian McCrae actually used the expression “information science” when discussing the proposal in his Q&A interview with Computerworld in February.

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