Accreditation: The secret weapon

Why does the IT industry lag behind when it comes to promoting accreditation?

Accreditation seems to be a dirty word in the IT world. While sectors such as accountancy spend millions promoting their accreditation programmes, the Chartered IT Professional (CITP) accreditation does not seem to have the same reputation within the industry.

Promoting a recognised accreditation scheme and the benefits of being chartered could well be the key to solving our current skills shortage. Much more needs to be done across the industry - from vendors, to training providers, to academic organisations - to help get the message out.

We know that the skills shortage is hitting IT harder than other sectors, with the number of graduates in computer science dropping, and middle-level professionals moving across to other disciplines. The IT industry must take radical action now to make the profession more desirable as a financially-rewarding and long-term career. Promoting the benefits of accreditation could be the way to stem the flow of talent leaving the profession.

IT has to be established as a viable career option with excellent prospects, business critical activities and exciting opportunities for development. If candidates can't see what the personal and professional benefits of IT as their career choice are, they will quickly be lured away to other professions.

Keeping IT as a short-term career option will continue to fuel a long-term crisis for the profession. So: are we missing an accreditation trick?

Accreditation programmes, whatever the profession, are designed to provide stability, a clear progression path and a benchmark of excellence that organisations can quickly use to rate and assess potential candidates. Promoting this programme has to begin at the moment when people show an interest in IT as a profession and needs to be repeated at every step of their IT career.

Once the industry leaders have got the message out, we then have to use successful chartered professionals to tell the personal story. Using these individuals to prove the benefits of CITP for both employee and employer is a critical tactic that the profession needs to start championing.

Until we get a clear message out to the industry about the benefits of accreditation, IT simply cannot achieve comparable status to other professions that take great pride in their chartered programmes. It's such a simple trick to be missing - the framework is there, all it needs is a targeted approach to help drive awareness, and demand from our current and next generation of IT talent.

Surely this is something everyone in our industry should work to promote?

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