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As Canada’s Global I.T. Ranking Falls, the I.T. Community Speaks Out

Mississauga, ON, November 28th, 2011-- The Economist Intelligence Unit’s International I.T. Competitiveness Index, recently released for 2011 by the Business Software Alliance, shows that Canada has fallen from fourth to seventh place in Information Technology. This is compared to growth in other countries, including the developing nation of India, as well as Mexico, Malaysia and Singapore.

During its annual “I.T. Professionalism Week” (Oct 31-Nov 4 2011), CIPS (Canada’s Association of I.T. Professionals) asked practitioners in the Canadian I.T. community over Facebook and LinkedIn what the country should do to stop its fall in Global I.T. Competitiveness.

Over the CIPS Facebook Page one commenter, Ruth Morton of Microsoft Canada, criticizes the current Education system, saying that “we need to be doing a better job at helping our children understand and get creative with technology in our schools” and that we “need to better equip our teachers and guidance counsellors with the use and understanding of technology in the classroom no matter the subject focus...”.

Len Inkster, I.S.P., ITCP of the Canadian I.T. community critiqued the industry on the CIPS LinkedIn Group as he noted that companies discriminate against older I.T. practitioners, forcing them out of I.T. and into other professions, instead of utilizing their experienced and productive minds, and ultimately hurting Canada’s I.T. sector.

Finally, a recurring observation from industry leaders is that Canada will not regain its lost competitiveness if the I.T. sector fails to advance in the “Professionalism” of the field.  Respondent Scott Ambler defines “Professionalism” as the need “to treat the I.T. Profession like a profession”--instead of like an ordinary job. Practitioners “need to have a life long learning attitude,” he writes. “Organizations need to provide environments which promote” it. “These orgs include your workplace, education institutes, industry groups such as CIPS, and even vendors.”

CIPS has provided Professionalism in the I.T. industry for over 20 years, by certifying and annually re-certifying I.T. practitioners as “Information System Professionals” (I.S.P.), and since 2008, as Information Technology Certified Professionals” (ITCP). Yet Professionalism in the I.T. industry presents its difficulties: unlike in Medicine, Accounting or Engineering, the field of I.T. is populated by practitioners with varied and undefined training, which can be attributed to its extremely fast growth.

Furthermore, the industry’s apathy over Professionalism has been seen by IT World Canada Editor Shane Schick, as “dangerous, as our dependency on technology grows.” CIPS Chair Trekker Armstrong, I.S.P., ITCP argues that Canada’s I.T. industry urgently needs to make significant strides to self-regulate and to maintain itself, to avoid unethical and unprofessional practices, that can lead to dire consequences, such as the unwanted exposure of our confidential information.

I.T. practitioners, then, have argued that Education, innovative administration of Research and Development, and Professionalism are central to Canada’s recovery as an I.T. leader. Through community engagement, involvement, and taking the steps to evolve Information Technology, CIPS sees itself as the voice of Canada’s I.T. industry--bringing together I.T. professionals with a shared vision. It is also a crucial platform needed, if the I.T. profession is to evolve soundly and keep pace with the growth of the industry.




About CIPS:

CIPS is a professional association representing individual I.T. professionals.  CIPS provides leadership in information systems and technologies by developing and promoting quality standards and practices, advocating on issues related to the I.T. profession in Canada, certifying I.T. professionals, accrediting Post-Secondary programs, representing Canadian I.T. professionals in international forums, encouraging and facilitating on-going professional development and safeguarding the public interest.

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