BCS membership at record level since grading structure relaunch

BCS membership has grown by 7% in just two months since the launch of the new grading structure, taking the total to more than...

BCS membership has grown by 7% in just two months since the launch of the new grading structure, taking the total to more than 40,000 for the first time.

More than 2,500 people have joined the BCS in the past two months - which is about four times as many as joined in the whole of the previous year.

This growth puts the society well ahead of its target of getting at least 10,000 new people into the professional grades of fellow and member in the first year of the new arrangements, and also ahead of its aim of doubling its membership in three years.

The targets were set by chief executive David Clarke last autumn when the grading structure changes were still being finalised. He pointed out that 1.2 million people work in IT in the UK but only a fraction of that number belong to a professional institution.

The new BCS membership structure enables IT specialists to get recognition in the form of a professional title of member or fellow of the BCS, with the letters MBCS or FBCS after their name, much earlier in their careers and with much less bureaucracy than before.

They then progress to chartered status, taking the title of chartered IT professional, with the letters CITP after their name, or the established titles of chartered engineer or chartered scientist. Clarke has called chartered status the BCS gold standard.

The member and fellow grades are for people who have a degree accredited by the BCS or who have a number of years' experience. For members, this is now two to five years, depending on qualifications. Most will not have been eligible for professional membership before, or certainly not so early in their careers.

The other membership grades are student; associate member, which typically requires one year's experience; the companion grade, which is for people in other fields but with IT experience; and affiliate, which is for anyone with an interest in IT.

A major element of the early success of the new membership structure has been the "trusted source" campaign, the BCS said. This enables existing BCS professional grade members to nominate people to join the member grade with fast processing of their applications. The aim, now being met consistently, is to complete the processing within three days.

In addition, the BCS is talking to more than 20 companies about establishing trusted source arrangements for their staff. The society has received almost 2,000 nominations via trusted sources.

Similar arrangements for fellows to nominate senior and eminent members of the profession to join the BCS are now being piloted.

The BCS is also offering a fast track to professional grade membership for staff at companies that get their training and development schemes assessed by the society. IBM is the first BCS partner in this scheme.

More information:  www.bcs.org/membershipstructure

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