The Australian Computer Society has thrown its weight behind the UNESCO-backed International Federation for Information Processing (IFIP) campaign to promote a globally recognised accreditation program for IT workers, called the International IT Professional (IITP).
The IFIP campaign kicked off at its general meeting in August and according to Bob Hart, professional standards and development manager for the ACS, the accreditation program should be up and running in Australia by mid-to-late 2008.
"For quite a long time there has been a lot of confusion about what is an IT professional. It differs across some countries," he said.
"A lot of vendors, universities and professional associations have created their own education programs and called it professional training, so they all have a different status of what an IT professional is."
Hart explained the goal of the campaign is, first and foremost, to define what is an IT professional and make sure that definition is globally shared.
Once that definition is in place, IT practitioners and professional associations such as the ACS or the BCS (British Computer Society) can begin to be accredited against that international standard.
Hart says that one of the key benefits of the global accreditation scheme is that it will enable employers to employ someone from another country, or outsource to a foreign company knowing that there is a consistent view and standard of the IT professional regardless of where they or the business is from.
The accreditation process will be undertaken by a panel made up of trained assessors, and will look at issues such as entry standards, professional practices and disciplinary systems in order for practitioners to gain and maintain professional status.
Hart says the panel "would be a group of about five; three international skilled assessors and two independent stakeholders from that country".
The process will require those seeking accreditation to fill in an application form, however, that document is not yet finalised. Once that is done the panel will check and validate that information and then it will go back to the board with a recommendation to see if that can be called an IT professional.
"In Australia we haven't said much about it as yet, but the ACS is heavily involved and is contributing funds and assistance to get this up and running," he said.
"The uptake has been faster than we thought in terms of countries and professional associations getting involved. We started with four associations in January in Cape Town this year and now I think we have something like forty who want to get involved."
"We hope to be doing first [Australian] accreditations by mid-2008, or at least by the end of 2008."