Chartered pros should lead key IT projects

Only Chartered IT Professionals and Chartered Engineers should be employed to lead and manage major UK IT projects, according to proposals in a joint study from the three leading engineering and computing industry bodies.

‘Engineering Values in IT’, a major study by the Institution of Engineering and Technology, The Royal Academy of Engineering, and the British Computer Society, recommends that ‘appropriately qualified’ personnel are necessary for ‘high consequence’ IT systems builds in both the public and private sectors, and recommends the exploration of additional qualifications or registration for IT professionals working on very high consequence systems, where utmost risk control is necessary.

The wide-ranging study also addresses the perceived disconnect between the increasingly crucial role that IT plays in the UK’s critical national infrastructure, and the fact that individuals employed in the IT function may have not attained levels of professional certification and qualification as colleagues in other enterprise professions, such as finance.

It highlights the ‘specific issue of the need for professionalism in IT systems development’, with reference to the contribution that the skills, competences, and values represented by professional certification can make toward addressing the challenges faced by IT.

The study’s authors also propose that Government seek advice from professional institutions for its major IT projects, and that the public sector IT function should give priority to recruiting ‘qualified’ IT practitioners.

“Software has never been more critical to jobs and national security,” says Dr Martyn Thomas, a member of the study’s Working Group. “The Academy has shown that software engineers need engineering skills and knowledge so that they can deliver the systems we need, reliably, securely, and cost-effectively”.

The report also calls for universities to ensure that their undergraduate education reflects the realities of engineering a large-scale IT project, including the complexities of working with legacy systems and the associated challenges of change management.

‘Engineering Values in IT’ can be downloaded as a PDF from the URL below.

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