A Career in Information Systems No invention has transformed our world so comprehensively as the computer. It is only fifty years since the successful running of the world’s first stored-program computer at Manchester University.

From that pioneering work has flowed computer applications that touch all our lives every minute of every day. The scale of the achievement comes from the ability to integrate computer technology with communications technology which, together as Information Technology (IT), can deliver information almost instantaneously around the globe.

No other technology has advanced so fast. Every year new advances make possible information systems that were previously impractical.

Building the vast systems that run on today’s computers is an engineering activity that stands comparison with the greatest achievements of the nineteenth-century engineers who transformed that society. Modern information systems are now the most complex artefacts yet made by human beings.

Information Systems professionals carry major responsibilities on their shoulders. That is why a career in information systems can be very rewarding. Information systems are at the heart of every developed society. They are essential to the standard of living we have all come to expect.

Only properly trained professionals can ensure that the world has the information systems it needs to ensure the well-being of every citizen.

What is an IT professional

The term IT professional encompasses hundreds of specialisms from the design and programming of computer systems, through testing, maintenance and support, training of users; and software or hardware sales. You might choose to work exclusively with software, hardware, or applications development.

The type of company you could be employed by is as varied as business itself, but the majority of positions are with blue chip companies in the financial services, hi-tech, telecoms and retail sectors.

Key Skills At the moment, certain skills are in particular demand in the industry. The current top five are Windows NT, Oracle, C++, Unix and Visual Basic, so if you are skilled in these areas you will be even more attractive to employers. Furthermore the demand for Internet skills including Java, HTML and C++ has increased significantly over the past six months.

Requirements for entry into IT careers The entry level into IT careers is generally a degree, often in Business/management, any Computing discipline, Engineering, Mathematics or Sciences, but because of the severe shortage of employees a degree in any subject is frequently accepted.

Although a postgraduate qualification is not necessary, an MSc or diploma in IT may be useful if you don’t have a background in computing.

Examinations Whether you want to enjoy greater recognition in your present job, to achieve promotion, or to embark on a new career direction, you’ll find the British Computer Society professional exam is internationally recognised, flexible and suited to the needs of the IS industry.

Recognising the rapid and significant changes in computing and information systems, the BCS has created an exam that will provide the benchmark for the future. The examination consists of three levels and a project, which have been developed through consultation with employers, to reflect the demands and the evolving needs of the IS community.

Each level is recognised as an international qualification and counts as academic points towards attaining professional membership of the BCS. It is an honours degree level qualification which acknowledges practical experience and academic abilities.

The BCS Examination is open to everyone, there are no restrictions or formal entry requirements. The three levels of qualification, Certificate, Diploma and Professional Graduate diploma allow you to demonstrate your expertise at your chosen level and progress at the pace that is appropriate to you. At each level the Examination syllabus reflects a practical mix of up to date theory and current working practice.

Courses are available in a variety of formats, including part-time and distance learning. There are course providers in several countries throughout the world.

Courses in higher education If you are planning a long term career in computing, particularly in a management position, you should consider studying for a degree in a computing subject. The content and approach of the degrees on offer is very varied and you need to examine carefully the prospectuses of universities offering courses in which you are interested.

If you choose a BCS accredited degree you can be confident that it has been checked by a professional body for its depth, its coherence, its engineering emphasis, the inclusion of suitable practical and project work and the availability of resources to support the programme.

However the diversity of options within a computing degree is enormous, some will have a greater emphasis on hardware issues, some on systems engineering, and some on analysis and design. Each institution will have its own specialities, based on the research strengths and interests of the department.

The British Computer Society The British Computer Society is the leading professional and learned society for people in the computer industry. It exists to provide service and support to the IT community, including individual practitioners, employers of IT staff, and the general public. The British Computer Society represents 38,000 members worldwide.

Around the world, membership of the British Computer Society is recognised as a sign of excellence in computing and information systems. It can be a vital asset in securing a better position. The BCS is trusted for its integrity as a genuinely independent body for IS practitioners. It is the only IS organisation which can award an internationally recognised professional qualification.





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