16 Jan, 2020
The benefits of CPD for IT Professionals
This article provides a simple overview of the CPD requirements for UK IT professionals, including information on various types of CPD available. The UK IT sector is worth £58billion annually (UK Trade & Industry, UKTI) and is one of the largest Information Technology sectors in the world. 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.
The IT sector encounters the same challenges as any other industry and as IT becomes more central to everyday life, the demands and expectations on IT professionals increases. The IT sector is a significant provider to the UK economy and has achieved levels of maturity in recent decades in line with many traditional industries IT innovation is considered a normal evolving process rather than a radical change in the way we live.
The role of CPD in the IT Sector
The IT sector has the same requirements as other industries for increasing levels of high-skilled labour. Continuous investment in technological education is vital to maintain a competitive advantage from both micro & macro-economic perspective. Continuing Professional Development plays an ongoing vital role in the improvement of IT professionals in order to maintain a competitive advantage both on a local and international field.
Over the last three decades the IT industry has created highly skilled work with advanced technological developments. It is regular in the IT sector for professionals to change jobs frequently and build up experience across a range of business skills to progress careers. For IT professionals a balanced combination of technical ability and necessary professional soft skills CPD training is likely to be more effective in advancing a successful long term career.
The UK economy will require over 500,000 new IT professionals over the next 5 years working across all industry sectors (Technology Insights 2011). It is estimated that over 40% of IT professionals work supporting other industries such as finance, legal, retail, construction, manufacturing and the public sector. The benefits of CPD are clear to IT professionals that maintain an up to date and flexible approach to learning to adapt to a fast evolving sector.
CPD in the Information Technology Sector
The IT sector covers a vast range of roles, skillsets and expertise. IT professionals can become quite specialist, which can include cyber security, website design, information systems analysis, databases management, quantum computing, data analytics, computer games development, network administration, IT consultancy, software engineering, app development and search engine optimisation.
CPD stands for Continuing Professional Development (CPD) and is the term used to describe the learning activities IT professionals engage in to enhance their capabilities. CPD combines different learning methodologies such as seminars, computer and IT training workshops and CPD online IT and SEO courses for an IT professional to advance their skills. The focus of CPD is firmly on results – the benefits that ongoing learning can bring to an IT professional in the real world. Perhaps the most important message is that one size does not fit all. CPD is individual and unique to support each IT professional to achieve their work life aspirations.
What are the types of CPD for IT professionals?
There are three main different types of CPD. Structured CPD includes attending IT training such as various computing and SEO courses, conferences or IT workshops and perhaps online seminars. An IT professional will often complete a number of IT training courses, workshop and events each year. Reflective CPD learning is another type of CPD but involves much less participant-based interaction. Examples of reflective CPD learning include reading relevant IT industry news and perhaps watching tech webinars. The last type of CPD is called self-directed learning which involves unaccompanied and less tangible CPD learning activities.
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.
IT professionals should identify what CPD requirements are needed to carry out their role effectively and set yearly CPD learning goals. CPD is not limited to technical knowledge but should also embrace practical training that is essential to developing a successful IT career.
What are the key benefits of CPD for IT professionals?
Some of the key benefits of CPD for IT professionals is the way further learning can significantly improve knowledge and skillset. Continuing Professional Development is extremely useful at staying up to date with the latest developments and advances. CPD helps IT professionals carry out their objectives effectively, and progress in a transparent and reliable way for professional bodies to identify that the highest standards of duty of care are being fulfilled wherever possible.
Importance of CPD for IT professionals
The responsibility for completing Continuing Professional Development lies ultimately with each IT professional. There is sometimes a common misunderstanding that CPD takes substantial time which may result in days of “out of the business”. However, the availability of more flexible online CPD courses suited for requirements has enabled more and more IT professionals to take a proactive stance with CPD. The obtainability of more flexible learning suited to IT professionals and modern lives is increasing. Online computing and SEO courses as well as the introduction of more effective distance learning has provided ease to complete regular CPD.
Online CPD courses in subjects such as computer programming, SEO and website design have become popular alternatives to traditional IT training courses and seminars. The convenience of online IT courses has improved so many IT professionals can benefit from the flexibility and affordability. Online IT, computing and SEO courses can be completed at any time with simple planned CPD modules that fit easily within the working week.
Affordable online CPD courses for IT, Website and SEO professionals
Online IT CPD courses can be relatively more affordable than traditional classroom courses. There are no costs for commuting and often handouts can be made available for free online. Online CPD courses in SEO and website design can be delivered with relatively low ongoing operating expense as many components can be automated to improve the training process. Online IT courses provide comfortable learning environments and are often more suitable than face-to-face class sessions. Online Computing, SEO and website design courses provide flexibility to learn around other priorities so IT professionals can study at their own time and pace using materials that are accessible online typically through a log-in portal.
How should CPD be recorded?
CPD activities should follow a plan that suits each IT professional needs. Each individual should maintain an ongoing record of their Continuing Professional Development, which should include training and learning activities, as well as an overall CPD Plan for future development. CPD records provide evidence that competence is being maintained.
A personal CPD plan provides a structured framework for career objectives to be identified, clear progress visibly seen and personal development achieved. After undertaking any CPD activity, each IT professional should take the time to think about and reflect on what has been learnt. When planning your Continuing Professional Development focus on relevance and expected outcomes. If you undertake CPD without considering its relevance, it might be waste of effort and time, missing the opportunity to develop new skills and knowledge.
Become an CPD certified training provider
Organisations working in the IT sector can become accredited CPD providers if they provide any form of structured CPD training courses, seminars or events. Many IT and Computer training providers utilise CPD certification for training courses, workshops, seminars and events to help validate knowledge to an industry recognised approach to learning.
Certify your IT Training Courses and Events
When an organisation becomes a CPD provider it is often to certify a range of existing courses or events that are being delivered. CPD training courses can combine a whole range of different learning options, such as seminars, conferences, and online e-learning modules all to help the learner professionally improve and achieve their annual CPD requirements.
Providing structured CPD for IT professionals from the UK’s largest and leading independent Continuing Professional Development service can help organisations to meet new audiences with a recognised industry learning standards. Providing CPD certified IT courses demonstrates the steps taken to deliver the highest learning criteria. Find out more about how to become an accredited CPD provider.
We hope this article was helpful. You can find more relevant IT CPD courses, news and information at the Information Technology CPD Industry Hub. Alternatively please visit the IT CPD Providers Directory to find experts from across the sector.