Overview of the IT Sector
The UK provides one of the largest Information Technology sectors in the world. According to UK Trade & Industry, the UK IT sector is worth £58billion annually. Technology Insights states 1.5million people are now employed in the UK IT sector which provides an overall contribution of £81billion (9%) to the total UK economy.
However, the IT sector encounters challenges as does any other industry sector. As Information Technology becomes more crucial to everyday life, the sector is pushed to make IT more ”real-time” and “user-friendly”, and consumerism drives thinking to expect more from IT whilst demanding to pay less. It is generally accepted that the IT sector has achieved levels of maturity over recent decades in line with more traditional industries, and a significant provider to the UK economy. Yet there has also been a shift in mind-set that IT innovation is now considered a normal evolutionary progression rather than a revolutionary shift in the way we live.
Similar to any industry the UK IT sector is not safe from the threats of, as both location & national boundaries obstructions diminish, and high-skilled labour becomes readily available across the globe at significantly varied scales of cost. Continuous investment in technological education is vital to maintain a competitive advantage from both a micro & macro-economic perspective.
CPD in the IT Sector
The IT sector is the umbrella expression for a vast range of varying skillsets and expertise. IT specialisms can include information systems analysis & design, databases & data management, computer cyber security, risk management, data analytics, computer games development, hardware support, network administration, IT consultancy, IT sales, software engineering, technical support, telecommunications, web design, app development & search engine optimisation.
According to Technology Insights (2011), the UK economy will require over 500,000 new IT professionals over the next 5 years working across all industry sectors. It is estimated that over 40% of IT professionals work supporting other industries such as finance, legal, retail, construction, manufacturing and the public sector. Traditional career paths do still exist in the IT sector although many typical progression routes are changing. Over the last two decades, the IT industry has encompassed highly skilled work with advanced technological developments. It may be necessary to change jobs frequently, building up experience and using learnt business skills to keep progress on careers. A balanced combination of high-level technical skills and the necessary soft skills are likely to be more successful in advancing careers.
BCS, the Chartered Institute for IT (BCS) states “CPD is not an add-on, but an essential component of your professionalism. It is part of the professional competence and integrity of all members to actively engage with CPD, as stated in our Code of Conduct.” BCS has moved away from a traditional hours-based CPD system to a reflective learning process that can cover the wide variety of learning activities that can develop professional capabilities.
- BCS – The Chartered Institute for IT
- Association of Computer Professionals (ACP)
- Association of Independent Computer Specialists
- Information Technology Telecommunications and Electronics Association
- Institute for the Management of Information Systems
- Institution of Engineering and Technology
- Association of Computing Machinery (ACM)
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