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Move to create chartered IT professionals

Institute of IT Professionals is consulting members on creating a qualification similar to those held by chartered accountants or engineers

Project failures such as Novopay teachers' payroll system and the Work and Income kiosk security breach have increased the need for more accountability in the IT profession.

That's according to the Institute of IT Professionals, whose members are being consulted on creating a new qualification similar to those held by chartered accountants or engineers.

"We've got two options - either we self regulate as a profession, or we get regulated," says CEO Paul Matthews.

"When you look at a chartered engineer, if they're not comfortable with a building, or a bridge or whatever they won't sign off on it and nobody can make them because they have those obligations. They're accountable; they've got an ethical basis for their practice."

Can a CIO today say no to an IT project going live if they believe there is an unacceptable risk?

"Theoretically yes, but the fact is that's not how it is at the moment," Matthews says. "Decisions are being made by people who are more focused around the commercial outcomes."

The chartered status would expand on the IT Certified Professional qualification which was developed by the IITP three years ago.

To become accredited, IT professionals would need to sit an initial exam with regular refresher assessments, similar to the requirements chartered accountants must meet to retain their active status. Assessment is likely to be based on the body of IT knowledge exam developed by the IITP's equivalent organisation in the UK, with some "New Zealand customisation", Matthews says.

"The best CIOs understand the different areas of IT. They can't necessarily sit down and hack out code, but they should understand about software development," he says.

Chartered accreditation would only be available to senior IT professionals who are decision makers in their organisations.

The cost is likely to be more than the ITCP certificate, which is $500 for the initial assessment and $125 a year. Matthews says the fees are to recover costs and are not designed to make money for the organisation.

In addition to talking with its members, the IITP is planning an industry wide consultation.


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