NZCS launches independent certification scheme

Vendor independent certification scheme offered after 15-months of planning

New Zealand now has a formal, non-aligned certificate of professionalism in the ICT industry, which is not tied to any vendor. Having been approved by the council of the NZ Computer Society, the qualification is to be known as Information Technology Certified Professional (ITCP).

The first ITCPs are expected to be recognised later this year. Current NZCS members will be able to access a fast-track certification process from late June and others can apply for certification from late August.

“The world is becoming more and more dependent on ICT and this includes critical safety and security systems,” says NZCS president Don Robertson. ICT also supports the survival of commercial organisations and basic international communication, he adds.

“This dependence requires those of us who practice in ICT at a senior level, whether in the vendor community, in-house, consulting, or within the user community, to subscribe to a minimum acceptable standard, and be held professionally accountable to this standard.”

The framework of the certification substantially follows the draft model published earlier this year. The appropriateness of a core body of knowledge (CBOK) based on a European standard has been questioned so now, while based on the European Certification of Information Professionals (EUCIP), the ITCP will be migrated across to include elements of the Australian and British Computer Societies’ bodies of knowledge after these are formalised or updated later this year or next.

The AusCBOK has become out of date and is under revision, while the BCS is in the process of forming a CBOK from a number of disparate documents, NZCS CEO Philip Matthews says.

All these bodies aim eventually to formulate a single, internationally-accepted body of knowledge, he says. This will further an important motive of certification; to enable recognised professionals to more easily get a job overseas, with employers and clients having confidence in their ability.

Certification requires both demonstrated general and specialist knowledge, along with agreement to standards of professionalism and ethics. For the latter reason, those seeking the ITCP have to be members of NZCS.

Some objections were registered to the provision of a “fast-track” route to certification for existing NZCS members, but Matthews says that test will be more stringent than the system in some countries, where members of the professional society at the beginning of the certification scheme were simply certified by default.

Those aspiring to ITCP certification will be able to credit existing qualifications and verified experience or status in the industry towards certification.

Alongside demonstrated general and specialist knowledge, the ITCP will require adherence to a code of practice and a code of professional conduct, with sanctions (including removal of registration) for breaching these codes.

Emergence of the ITCP framework marks the culmination of a 15-month process of development. That’s only the current effort, says Matthews. The NZCS has periodically made moves towards instituting certification through most of its history. “One of our longest-serving members had a document proposing the idea, dated 1968.”

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