Steve Malde, chief information officer and vice-president of information systems at British Telecom's Syncordia Solutions has no doubts about the significance of the BCS Information Systems Examinations Board (ISEB). Nine of his staff have become the first to achieve its independent diploma in business systems development.
"I am delighted that so many of my team are the first in the world to receive the diploma," he says. "The BCS is a key partner for our people development programme, and we look forward to continuing working together in the delivery of excellence."
The Syncordia staff each took courses on between five and seven topics to achieve a diploma in one of five subjects: systems analysis and design, data management, Structured Systems Analysis and Design Methodology, business analysis, and rapid application development.
Malde's support is typical of that of many employers who not only use the accredited companies that provide the courses but also build the qualifications into their own training and career development schemes.
Some ISEB programmes get hundreds of candidates a year. Topics range from project management and system development to security, communications, service management and data protection.
"There has been an unprecedented level of activity in the ISEB over the last year," says ISEB exams manager Sarah Dyer. "This shows the IS community is placing increasing importance on professional qualifications. In the last year candidate numbers have risen by 54% over 1998-1999 figures and by 89% over 1997-1998. This in turn has led to a big increase in accredited ISEB training providers, from 16 to 59."
ISEB qualifications and training can be used as evidence to support a BCS membership application, and for the society's Continuing Professional Development scheme. Some qualifications can also provide exemption from parts of the BCS professional examinations.