Can IT ever be a profession along traditional lines such as the law?

The Big Question is an initiative between Computer Weekly and recruitment consultancy PSD. Each week we put the Big Question to top IT professionals to get their take on a current talking point.

Can IT ever be a profession along traditional lines such as the law?

75% Yes

25% No

Three-quarters of IT professionals surveyed for this week’s Big Question believe IT has the potential to become an established profession comparable to the law or medicine.

The positive response will come as a fillip to the IT industry’s efforts to promote professionalism, most notably in the British Computer Society’s joint IT Professionalism project with E-Skills UK, Intellect and the National Computing Centre to formulate a core body of knowledge for everyone working in IT. The project is due to produce its first report in October.

IT contractor Nigel Claymoss said IT still needed to improve its image, but should be viewed as a profession.

“IT is still seen as an industry for geeks, even though salaries can rival those of lawyers, accountants or doctors. IT has become a necessity for the majority of people so it should be classed as a profession.”

Others said that until IT had a professional trade body that could ban individuals from working within it, it would not have the status of professions such as medicine, accountancy and law.

Robert Parker-Smith, IT director at consultancy Computer Solutions, said qualifications held the key to IT’s future status.

“Accountants, doctors and lawyers have to study for years on end and only the most dedicated individuals really succeed. But in IT individuals are often self-taught, lacking formal training or qualifications, thereby making IT less than a profession,” he said.

The Big Question is an initiative between Computer Weekly and recruitment consultancy PSD. Each week we put the Big Question to top IT professionals to get their take on a current talking point.

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