Demand for e-commerce skills is driving a period of huge growth in the number of visits to the BCS Consultancy Register Web site, writes John Kavanagh.
The total number of visits to the register, which lists the names and contact details of 70 BCS members who work as consultants, grew by 52% from May to June and then by a further 62% to 7,145 in July, which is traditionally a quieter month.
"There were 800 visits to the register home page in July, compared with the 7,145 hits to individuals' pages, so potential clients are clearly browsing many consultants," says BCS Web co-ordinator Carl Harris.
The most searched for skills relate mainly to the Web. E-commerce, Java, Internet and Web design are in the top six. Other sought-after skills are project management, networks and communications, Oracle, security and testing.
The register was set up at the start of 1998. People applying to join must be in the professional membership grades of associate, member or fellow and supply information such as details of their experience and training.
They must follow not only the BCS code of conduct, as members of the society, but also a brief code of practice drawn up specifically for the register, which underlines the issues related to working as a consultant. The eight-point code demands, for example, that people exercise professional skill and care, ensure their independence and keep up-to-date with skills through education and training.
The BCS is now seeking to expand the register, not least to give an even wider choice to the growing number of potential clients visiting the site and searching for skills.
Deputy chief executive Colin Thompson is writing to all the society's members who have the word "consultant" in their job title to invite them to consider joining the register. Thompson is also passing on the address of a secret Web page where they can see a substantial newsletter which has been set up by register member Paul Brabbins.
The newsletter, which is e-mailed to everyone on the register, has already stimulated lively discussion and encouraged people to share experiences.