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BCS says high recognition levels give it mandate as champion of IT

John Kavanagh
The BCS is claiming to have won the mandate to act as the champion of the IT profession after a study found it had far greater recognition among IT specialists than any other industry body.

A study of the impact of the restructuring the society underwent last May, and a subsequent membership recruitment campaign, found that 30% of IT specialists mentioned the society when asked to name an IT professional body. No other organisation got more than a 2% spontaneous mention.

In addition, 62% picked out the BCS when presented with a list of industry bodies.

BCS chief executive David Clarke said, "When we launched our strategic plan last May, our awareness target was 67% by April 2008. This study shows how successful we have been in just eight months. Membership is growing at over 1,000 a month and is now 20% up on last year, at nearly 45,000.

"This survey also shows that half of IT professionals now recognise the BCS as holding a key responsibility for setting and promoting professional standards, and a similar number recognise our role in developing professionalism and industry qualifications.

"All this is very important for us. It means the BCS has established a clear mandate to champion the IT profession as the profession of the 21st century."

This latest BCS study follows research reported last month which found that the revamped BCS structure was attracting younger IT specialists to get professional qualifications. The average age of new membership applicants has fallen from 37 to 29, and the average for entrants to the professional member grade has dropped from 40 to 33.

At the senior end of the profession, BCS IT directors' group Elite has more than trebled its membership to 1,270 in recent months.

The BCS' growing impact was underlined by its patron, the Duke of Kent, when he opened the society's new London offices last month.

"I am pleased to note how the BCS, in accordance with its royal charter, is playing a key role in raising professional standards and establishing the IT agenda for the nation," he said.

"I am also pleased to see how the society has transformed itself to become an all-embracing representative body for Britain's IT professionals, as well as having an impact on the education and work skills of the country."

The BCS has qualifications, career development programmes and services for IT professionals at all levels, plus end-user computer skills qualifications for the public. It also works with young people through school-based activities and its sponsorship of the Scouts Association's IT activity badge.

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