The President: Onwards and upwards

Prins says all IT professionals have a responsibility to contribute to the profession and to the development of our future IT professionalsIt comes as no surprise to see the latest annual Salary Survey of ACS Members confirm that IT salaries continue to grow at a rate well above that enjoyed by the rest of the community.

I'm sure many within our profession are of the view that while the indicators remain so positive, we should take full advantage. In some cases, this means keeping a weather eye on the job market and ensuring that you upgrade your job (and salary) at appropriate times during your career.

This situation bodes well for our profession, but what does it mean for those young professionals coming through the ranks?

IT professionals have a responsibility to ensure that the knowledge and experience they have gained during the course of their career is shared with new entrants to the profession.

In days gone by, most professions used an apprenticeship system to pass on knowledge and practices; however most people now go to university, TAFE or another centre of learning to acquire the knowledge they need.

From here, they enter the workplace and hopefully encounter a situation where a senior professional is available to guide them and impart skills and practices that will hold the new arrival in good stead in the company and throughout his or her professional life. Unfortunately, such arrangements are rare both within our educational institutions and in the workforce.

It appears that our educational institutions are having difficulty retaining skilled professionals in the necessary fields because of the inequality in salaries with private enterprise and general resourcing problems.

We as a profession need to ensure that those who teach or impart knowledge at our universities and other centres of learning are amongst the best in the profession and as such, are remunerated appropriately.

It is incumbent on us to ensure that we assist those learning centres wherever possible, either by sponsoring different activities through our companies or by putting ourselves forward to lecture or tutor as required.

It is also important that we continue promoting the needs of these institutions to government and industry and encourage them to assist with resources to help develop the best IT professionals possible.

Of course, once students have graduated from their courses, it is the responsibility of working professionals to provide an appropriate program to introduce them to the profession and help them develop good practices.

If they are given the right base as they begin, they will continue to make a positive contribution in the long term and will not bring the profession into disrepute.

At the end of the day, we as a profession need to be seen as people who take our responsibilities seriously and are proud of our work history and the skills and experience we bring to any task in which we are involved.

This is both an individual responsibility, and one that we can share corporately, through the ACS.

You can also help by becoming involved in running the ACS and contributing to the Society's work in the important areas of training and professional development.

Prins Ralston is president of the ACS

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