Building a community free to innovate and inspire
An open letter to the IT Profession of Ireland from Irish Computer Society CEO, Jim Friars
15 February 2019 | 0
Dear Fellow IT professional,
We’ve spent a lot of time recently considering the direction of the IT profession in Ireland. Where is IT going, what does it mean to be a member of ICS, or any of the six other member bodies we support and what is our role in shaping the future of the profession?
Not easy questions when it comes to guessing what the next 50 years of technological advancement might bring, I’m sure you’ll agree.
We as IT professionals strive to do our jobs to the best of our abilities, not just for the personal job satisfaction but more importantly for society as a whole.
As the professional body for IT in Ireland, we believe that ethical, competent practice is at the heart of what makes us professional. Now more than ever, it is important that we show that we are every bit as professional as a doctor, lawyer or accountant.
In the right hands, IT can be something that makes our lives better. That makes us feel connected. That makes things easier and quicker. It protects our banks accounts, holds our health records, tells us where we are and how to get to where we want to go and so much more.
As the profession and the technology grows, so do the threats. Ransomware hostage situations demanding payments in cryptocurrencies in return for stolen data happen every day in both our public and private institutions. Old school attacks like hacking, phishing, and malware attacks are becoming more and more sophisticated.
We want to show that we are an ethical IT profession which protects our children from online dangers. A regulated IT profession which takes accountability for its mistakes but also shows all the hard work we do to demonstrate transparency, privacy and best practice.
Some of the challenge for our profession lies with perception. Students and their parents still perceive law, architecture and medicine as the premium professions. And the reason they are perceived as such is because behind each of those professions is a council which sets the standards, which demands its members are up to date.
A surgeon familiar with the heart surgery techniques of 20 years ago is as outdated as the cybersecurity officer who bases their skills on the security protocols of last week.
An IT Architect who doesn’t understand the newest IT frameworks is like a traditional building architect basing their designs on the skillsets of the Three Little Pigs, or the first two at least.
IT must be safe, trusted and accountable. But how will we make it so? Well, imagine a society where every IT professional was connected to a governing body that supported, informed and monitored their professional competency.
It’s something that’s taken for granted in other professions. You trust the medical profession to ensure that all practicing medical professionals have at least a minimum body of knowledge, are up to date and ethical. We want IT professionals, and ICS members in particular to be trusted in the same way.
A new IT community is being built in Ireland and with it, is our most important goal and aim. That when Ireland needs technology, when it needs ethics, a code of conduct, a workforce expert in the latest technologies, it finds a workforce dedicated to the fundamentals of computer science, and committed to continuing professional development just like doctors or lawyers. That it knows that these skills and values can be found in the members of the Irish Computer Society or ADPO, BAAI, BAI, Iasa Ireland, itSMF Ireland or HISI.
Our vision is of Ireland, the first country in the world where all IT professionals commit to Continuing Professional Development, a code of conduct, ethics, standards, and a comprehensive Body of Knowledge which proves the expertise of our IT workforce. Our goal is simple: a professional register which demonstrates who the professionals are who meet these standards.
Together we can build a community that is free to innovate and inspire. Will you join us?
To find out more about our vision for the future, please watch, share and send us your comments in the video at www.ics.ie/news/ICS_vision
CEO, The Irish Computer Society