IP3 membership boosts NZCS certification project

International partnership will complement ICTP qualification

A significant precursor to the launch of the New Zealand Computer Society’s ITCP Professional Certification project, which is set to be enacted later this year, was the granting of IP3 partnership status to the society.

IP3 – the International Professional Practice Partnership – was created under the auspices of the IFIP (International Federation for Information Processing) to help define the global ICT profession.

IP3’s founding members are IEEE-CS, the US equivalent of the NZ Computer Society, the Canadian Information Processing Society, and the Australian and British Computer Societies.

The New Zealand Computer Society is the first non-founding member society to be admitted to IP3. NZCS’ membership was confirmed on May 21, and in a statement announcing New Zealand’s inclusion, NZCS CEO Paul Matthews says “alignment with the IP3 standard will add significant weight to the NZCS ICTP Certification and should contribute to government and other organisations insisting on certified professionals independently accredited to the international standard”.

IP3 is seeking to have other countries’ professional computing bodies join, so that a globally-recognised standard can be created.

Acting IP3 chair Roger Hart says “NZCS joining the partnership is the first step in gaining formal international recognition of their upcoming ICTP Certification Programme.

“This will also significantly increase the credibility of NZ companies with ITCP Certified Professionals on staff when competing on the world stage,” Hart says.

“We are very pleased that NZCS has joined IP3”, he says.

“We are actively encouraging all ICT-related professional societies with a commitment to professionalism to join IP3 as part of our objective of building a global ICT profession.”

The response by New Zealand ICT professionals to the ICTP programme was such that an original deadline of June 1 for inquiries relating to a fast-track process for ICTP certification was extended until June 3.

The ICTP project was born from a desire for local ICT professionals to have a recognised professional certification, similar to that of “chartered accountant”, regardless of their technical area of expertise.

Thus, it is a different endeavour to technical certifications such as Microsoft MCSE, A+ and the many other recognised skill-specific certifications in the industry.

To gain ICTP certification, three main areas will be assessed: skills and knowledge; professional knowledge; and competency and responsibility.

As well as passing those criteria, ICTP-certified professionals will need to complete at least 30 hours per year of ongoing professional development, and five hours per year of voluntary work in ICT, among other criteria.

The framework underpinning the ICTP certification is the SFIA (Skills Framework for the Information Age). New Zealand IT pros will need to have SFIA level five capability in order to gain the ICTP certification.

It is initially anticipated that the certification will be ongoing, with re-assessment required at regular intervals. The current proposal is for re-assessment every three years, but this is only provisional.

There will be seven different routes to certification, depending on the background of the applicant and which part of the industry they are in.

For example, one is the Education Plus Experience route; another is the Established Academic route; another is the IT Industry Leader route. Apart from the six standard routes, there will be an initial fast-tract route, under which exiting full NZCS members can gain ICTP certification quickly.

The fast-track route will only be available for six months after ICTP is launched.

Because the accreditation process is extensive, there will be a charge of $370, or $270 for the fast-track accreditation process, plus an annual certification fee of $125.

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