IT professionals employed by IBM will be given fast-track entry into the British Computer Society under a membership drive to be unveiled next week.
The BCS plans to recognise IBM's IT architect and IT specialist qualifications as equivalent to the BCS's membership criteria.
IBM, which introduced its own professional qualifications in 1991, is the first firm to provide access to BCS membership, but others are expected to follow.
"This is a major step for IBM toward achieving improved external recognition of its professional capability," said Alan Hewitt, IT architect profession leader at IBM.
To qualify, employees will have to follow IBM's internal assessment process, which includes evaluating work on customer projects and assessing the ability to mentor staff.
The assessment programme will ensure that the level of work performed by staff is consistent, professional and exceeds expectations, said IBM.
David Clarke, BCS chief executive, said IBM's programme will help to increase the professionalism of the IT industry.
This was first published in April 2004