Should I join the BCS?

(Steve Pitchford) #21

I had a thought after an off (this) list prompt caused me to think if I could make a more helpful contribution.

So rather than present the bcs as a pythonesque dead parrot in need of resuscitation ( which it isn’t ) - when the meetings start back up in september, subject to my availability and the rules of the meeting i’ll happily offer to take anyone thinking of joining the BCS as a +1 so they can get a feel for it.

(Andy Wootton) #22

That’s a good thought for anyone who is reluctant to go into a new set of people but unless the rules have changed recently, you don’t actually need to be accompanied. Anyone can go to BCS meetings, possibly apart from AGMs. I think you are a guest of the BCS rather than an individual member but they do like you to say that you are going at Birmingham Branch because they have a sarnies budget.

Similarly, if anyone wants to get the train out to Landywood then IF I have a car available I can give you a lift to any Stafford meetings. I think I could just about get you back for the last train. This would need to be checked.

(Daniel Hollands) #23

I would like to take you up on that offer, if that’s OK?

(Steve Pitchford) #24

Of course - i’ll be in touch nearer the time.

(Andy Wootton) #25

WIth support from @Steve_Pitchford I am now trying to start

“a heated debate” - Mrs. Merton,

about: “Does ‘Hacker culture’ and Free/Open Source software have any place in a professional society?”

(the answer is “YES” btw) It’s members only. Maybe you should ALL join as Student or Associate Members or Affiliates

(Andy Wootton) #26

I’ve remembered a benefit: a company-independent professional email address for the rest of your career, unless the UK splits. Mail is redirected to wherever you are.

(Marc Cooper) #27

Another thread I’m resurrecting :smile:

I left the BCS a couple of years ago. I had all the letters: CEng, MBCS, CITP.

The problem I have with the BCS is that it doesn’t represent the industry that I work in. The BCS were, and I presume still are, promoting process and bureaucracy, instead of developing value and agility. They endorse the very things that I see holding back innovation in the UK. The BCS is also politically impotent.

Nevertheless, there are many excellent people in the various BCS groups who do great work representing the best that UK technologists have to offer.

The BCS should be at the forefront of the various political debates regarding technology in the UK and globally. Instead, their considered position is to be absent from those debates. The BCS says that it “champions the global IT profession and the interests of individuals engaged in that profession for the benefit of all”. Does it? Does it really? Read their own stated purpose here. (For this, I see the annual fee is now £183 + £35.70 = eye-watering)

The UK needs a professional body that both represents its practitioners and engages actively in contemporary political debate. The BCS is not that body and never will be.

(Steve Jalim) #28

Honest question, as someone who wants to be more engaged in such things, but doesn’t know really what the lie of the land is: does such a body exist, even in a fledgling state, yet?

(Marc Cooper) #29

Not that I’m aware of. At the time I left the BCS – I’d been mulling it over for a while, but Snowden might have been the final straw, I can’t remember; I was also arguing with James Brockenshire immediately prior to that – a few of us were considering creating one. For the usual reasons – life – it didn’t happen. I’d be up for it again, though. I’m probably in a better position to do so now, and I have more appropriate contacts.

Be great to discuss and flesh out a bunch of aims.

(Andy Wootton) #30

@Steve_Pitchford and I are discussing the Snooper’s Charter with the BCS members group on LinkedIn at the moment. The BCS has a Royal Charter, so the government aren’t going to talk to any other organisation about computing.

If we want to be represented then we need to make them represent us. I was in an active ‘Independent Computer Contractors’ Special Interest Group that got 2 or 3 representatives onto Council and could have got more if they’d wanted to. I don’t remember the fee being that high but maybe I pay by Direct Debit so haven’t noticed.

I think the educational courses have got much better in the last few years. The BA course I did was quite challenging, though I’m not entirely convinced by the Agile course they’ve added since.

(Marc Cooper) #31

The BCS refuses to engage politically. They don’t regard it as their mandate. That’s why I went, via my MP, to Brockenshire.

The BCS’s acceptance of the government’s fearmongering about technology is why I regard them as impotent.

I concede that they are competent as a provider of educational courses.

It makes me sad that BCS member groups are on LinkedIn. That’s tragic :cry:

(Steve Pitchford) #32

That might be another Steve - though I’ll get my arse over there soon.

(Andy Wootton) #33

Oh sorry @Steve_Pitchford . I’m working on an old monitor and may have gone by a photo that I couldn’t see. I need to get back there too.

@auxbus I agree entirely about LinkedIn. I assume that is another example of frustrated members taking matters into their own hands. The BCS forums sadly weren’t attracting enough people to enable useful conversations when I tried them. I was trying to get professional opinion on information risk policies and got tech-heads talking nonsense or students who wanted me to do their course-work.

(Andy Wootton) #34

Opportunity to comment on the next BCS Skills Framework for those who say the BCS is out of touch and doesn’t represent them or the current industry

Via LinkedIn BCS members group

(Carol Brady) #35

I’ve just let my BCS membership (MBCS) lapse after 2 years. They sometimes have useful seminars but you don’t need to fork out for a membership to attend those, and the information is available elsewhere online anyway.

In my opinion, with “IT” having become much more diverse, and more closely integrated with other disciplines, the BCS seems to be struggling to find (or maintain) a purpose in the modern era.

My advice: save your membership fees and put them towards some training (but not with BCS).

(Andy Wootton) #36

I don’t remember the BCS ever being much more relevant than it is now but I agree that, ironically, it is struggling with communication in the digital age. Too many dinosaurs because young people won’t join. It would be very easy to take over, Momentum-style, if you wanted to rebuild it.

I joined as a student because I felt that ‘we’ should have a professional body but it becomes increasingly unclear what ‘we’ actually means.

I disagree about the courses. The only one I’ve been on was amongst the best, and E.ON really liked sending people on training courses, whether they wanted to go or not :slight_smile: Complain about Word being useless, get sent on Word training.

(Punk Bastardo) #37

Hi there. Is this worth taking as a step into IT? I’ve been in credit control last 10 years with no formal IT qualifications or degree, employer won’t develop me on that basis so looking to change career paths and always wanted to get into IT properly.

(Andy Wootton) #38

That’s a diffcult one because employers don’t necessarily respect the BCS. I was once told by a manager that they were a waste if time, after he’d sent me on a course they ran which he thought was great, having been on it himself. They didn’t use the BCS branding then. I took one of the Diploma courses in Business Analysis. There was a serious practical exam at the end that tested understanding not just memory. It was hard! People working as BAs in big London consultancies failed it BCS certificates really mean something but I’m not sure all employers know that. The entry-level ‘European computer driving licence’ seemed to gain wide respect though and the books they publish are great.

My logic for supporting the BCS (including financially) is that a professional should want an organisation that keeps standards high, represents our interests in government and promotes our profession, including letting anyone come to our meetings. I don’t see better options.

The Staffordshire meetings pull a much younger crowd than Birmingham because of connections with the university. Maybe Police HQ isn’t attractive to students :slight_smile:

(Colin Smith) #39

It’s not that attractive period :wink: Seriously though if the location was more accessible then I’d attend the meetings more frequently; I did hear talk of holding them the Library of Birmingham but not sure if that ever came to fruition, I’ve not been paying much attention.

(Andy Wootton) #40

It depends what you consider attractive. Within walking distance of town (I know because I did, even though #Steve_Pitchford saved me from getting soaked on the way back.) Fairly easy access by car and free car parking and food. I think there is even a bar for drinks after, if you aren’t driving and don’t have a train to catch.