This page lists the most frequently asked questions regarding the Certification programme.
If your question is not listed, please Contact IITP.
Professional Certification Programme
- What is the ITCP Certification Programme?The ITCP Certification Programme is a comprehensive competency accreditation process for IT Professionals.
This programme helps recognise and reward those that are experienced in their field and subscribe to the concept of professional practice, an important step in defining IT as a profession.
- What are the key objectives of Professional Certification?The first and major objective of the programme is to recognise and define what it is to be an ICT Professional in New Zealand (and, in fact, around the world).
This definition is essential if New Zealand is to face and deal with the many issues our sector faces, including a huge shortage of ICT Professionals, and a perception of lack of consistency, quality and recognition of professionals.
- Why has the Institute embarked on this programme?It is essential that this programme is a recognition of ICT Professionals, and that the processes and assessments are completed independently from industry, government, political and other influences.
IITP, as the professional body of the IT sector, is the correct organisation to be operating the professional certification programme in New Zealand. IITP is also part of the international community implementing professional certification in many countries around the world.
The Institute is doing so because there is a significant need, and because of the importance of professional certification to New Zealand. Our IT professionals need the same opportunity to have their competency accredited as professionals in other countries.
- There are already ICT certifications around, such as Microsoft MCSE and A+. Why do we need another?These technical certifications are very important, however this is not the same thing as Professional Certification.
Looking at Accountancy as an example, Professional Certification is the equivalent of the "Chartered Accountant" certification. This is quite different from industry or academic training and learning, courses, and technical accounting certifications - just the same as with ICT.
These technical or industry certifications will count towards fulfilling the "Skills" aspect of the overarching professional certification - showing that you meet the requisite skill requirements of a professional.
- Who supports IITP taking the lead in this project?IITP taking the lead and operating the Professional Certification Programme in New Zealand is supported by every significant ICT body in New Zealand, as well as Government, Academic representatives, and key industry leaders.
As an example, the following organisations have publicly stated they support IITP taking the lead role in the provision of certification in New Zealand:
NZ Software Association, IPENZ, CITRENZ, NZICT, NZRise, TUANZ, Web Developers Assoc of NZ, Canterbury Software Cluster, PPTA ICT Taskforce, Internet NZ, plus many more.
A number of industry leaders also support this cause, including large, medium and small organisations. The tertiary academic community has also been vocal in their support, along with all levels of Government.
In addition to this, the key partner organisations around the world, who have implemented certification in their countries, formally support IITP's certification programme.
- How does this programme tie into the international community?The ITCP Certification Programme is being designed to meet the requirements of the IFIP IP3 Programme. This is an international accreditation programme, acting as an umbrella over the IT professional certification programmes of participant countries.
As New Zealand's representative on IFIP, the Institute is the only organisation that can deliver an internationally recognised professional certification programme in New Zealand.
- Who recognises ITCP Certification in New Zealand?ITCP Certification enjoys wide support from employers, Government, recruiters, clients, the IT industry, academia and the profession.
- Is ITCP Certification recognised overseas?Yes, ITCP enjoys cross-recognition agreements around the world. Additionally, ITCP will soon be accredited under the IP3 initiative, resulting in formal recognition around the world.
The IP3 Initiative is a way of recognising the professional programmes of each member country, and ensuring they meet the minimum international standards for ICT professionalism.
- Will professional certification become mandatory?The Institute has no current plans to seek legal backing for the Certification Programme to make it compulsory for IT professionals, or a compulsory requirement for membership of IITP.
It should be noted, however, that in most other countries that have implemented similar accreditation the Certification Programme has become the "de facto" standard for the industry.
It is expected that certified professionals, especially early adopters, will gain considerable competitive advantage over those that have not been accredited, and that the take-up of the Certification Programme should be based on need, not compulsion.
- Where can I find out more about IT Professional Certification?You can find out more at www.itcp.org.nz
Benefits of Professional ICT Certification in NZ
- What's in it for me?Recognition of professional standing is paramount in terms of career advancement and provides a significant advantage to those that have undergone accreditation.
Professional Certification shows that a practitioner is of a high quality, and serious about professionalism and professional practice. It also shows that the individual has been independently assessed as operating at a high level of competence.
Additionally, the Certification Programme will form the nucleus of a number of other projects, all designed to assist in guiding ICT professionals through their professional development and career.
From an "employability" perspective, it is expected that those that hold professional accreditation will have a significant advantage in the job market, and will command a higher level of remuneration than those without.
- What are the benefits for employers?There are three key benefits for employers and contracting companies - recognition, development of staff, and marketing.
The Professional Certification Programme will help businesses and other organisations show that they are an organisation that strongly believes in professional practice - a differential between those that talk a good game, and those that employ true professionals.
The Programme will also be a fundamental component of the professional development of ICT professionals within an organisation, and will make a tangible difference to the willingness and opportunity staff have to continue developing themselves professionally.
And lastly, the marketing benefit to organisations, especially early adopters, is huge. The fact that a company will have one or more certified professionals on staff or involved with projects will be a key differentiator, and a key marketing benefit. IITP will also provide logos and other material which can be used by certified professionals and their companies to raise awareness of the professionalism of the company and their staff.
- How about the public and business community?One of the fundamental problems with ICT is that, without any form of recognition or accreditation, the public and business community have no way of differentiating a good ICT company from a bad one, or an ICT professional from someone who "knows a bit about computers".
However that landscape is about to change with the implementation of professional certification. The public can begin to rebuild confidence in the ICT sector by knowing that a certain ICT professional has been independently accredited by their professional body (or a company has staff onboard that have been accredited).
Certified Professionals will be listed in a public, searchable database, meaning it will be easy for the public to find true ICT professionals in their area.
- Why is this programme so important for New Zealand?New Zealand and New Zealanders compete on the global stage more and more, as individuals, organisations, and as a country.
To compete on an even footing with our overseas counterparts, NZ ICT professionals must have access to the same opportunity to obtain internationally-recognised professional recognition. Without this, New Zealand is automatically at a disadvantage to many other countries (which have implemented professional certification), and New Zealand's ICT profession runs the risk of being considered second-class on the world stage.
Additionally, professional certification breeds professional practice. It is also important that New Zealand reaps the economic benefit of a high quality and well functioning ICT community, and professional certification is the cornerstone to achieving this.
Certification Assessment Process
- What are the key areas being assessed by this programme?The following key areas will be assessed:
Area 1: Skills and Knowledge
This is the core technical or specific skills. A successful applicant will show an understanding of both a "wide and shallow" and "narrow and tall" component of the Body of Knowledge (so a specialty and a broad understanding).
Area 2: Professional Knowledge
Professional Knowledge covers the non-technical aspects of being a professional which help define the fundamental difference between a professional and a practitioner. This includes an understanding of, and adherence to, Ethics and Professional Practice, knowledge of ICT Legal Issues, and Business Congruence.
Area 3: Competency and Responsibility
The applicant must be operating at SFIA Level 5 or above, and have done so for at least 1000 hours in the previous 12 months (ie essentially at least 6 months working at this level each year).
- What are the ongoing requirements for Certification?The proposed ongoing requirements include:
- At least 30 hours per year of ongoing professional development
- 5 hours per year of time contributed to either the ICT profession or community at large (eg Mentoring, presenting in schools, working groups, eDay, etc, etc)
- Operating at or above Level 5 on the SFIA framework for at least 6 months of every 12 (one option being considered is averaging this over 2-3 years)
- Maintaining a high level of professionalism and ethical practice at all times
- Involvement in the assessment of other Certification applicants
- Full membership of IITP, and payment of dues (and certification fees)
- Re-assessment at set periods - currently every 3 years
- Do applicants have to complete written exams?Not currently. This is a professional accreditation - it is based on your experience and competencies. Whilst knowledge and skills do form part of the requirements, this is assessed by the third party training and experience you have obtained, not by a test or exam conducted by IITP.
Some written examinations may be introduced in future to assess some areas.
- What framework underlies ITCP?As with most of our partner IT certifications overseas, the SFIA Framework underlies the ITCP Certification Programme.
The SFIA Framework defines 57 skills that together cover all areas of ICT practice. For each skill, levels of responsibility are defined (1-7), with Level 5 being the requirement for certification.
Additionally, SFIA outlines a generic set of competencies or responsibilities for each of the seven levels, with professionals needing to operate at Level 5 or above to be eligible for certification.
You can find out more about the SFIA Framework here.
- What are the requirements for "SFIA Level 5"?As well as specific requirements in one or more skills, the generic requirements for Level 5 of the SFIA Framework cover 4 key areas. A sample includes:
Autonomy: Works under "Broad direction" and fully accountable for own work.
Influence: Has significant responsibility for the work of others and for the allocation of resources
Complexity: Performs a challenging range and variety of complex technical or professional work activities
Business skills: Analyses, diagnoses, designs, plans, executes and evaluates work to time, cost and quality targets
The full set of requirements for Level 5 are listed here.
- How long will Certification last?Certification is ongoing, however a re-assessment will be required at set periods (this is currently every 3 years).
Assuming all ongoing requirements are met, Certification remains in place indefinitely.
- Will I have to go through the accreditation process again in future?Yes, re-accreditation will be required at set intervals. This is currently every 3 years.
How will it work?
- What "Body of Knowledge" will underpin Certification?The EUCIP Core Syllabus is currently used to measure broad core knowledge. Please see the IITP website for more information.
- How is the Certification Programme governed?A good governance structure is essential for the long-term viability and sustainability of the ITCP Certification Programme.
The following Boards oversee the certification programme:
Certification Governance Board (CGB)
This board has overall responsibility for evaluating the performance of the Certification Programme, and making recommendations to National Council for structural changes.
Professional Conduct Board (PCB)
The PCB has responsibility for recommending conduct and ethics-related policy to National Council, as well as investigating breaches.
Professional Standards Board (PSB)
The PSB has responsibility for reviewing the professional requirements of the Certification Programme on an ongoing basis, and making recommendations to National Council accordingly.
Together these Boards ensure that the Certification Programme remains current and relevant into the future.
- What will Professional Certification cost in NZ?Currently ITCP costs $125 incl GST per year plus the cost of the initial assessment ($370 incl GST). There is also a re-accreditation fee of $170 every 3 years.
Thus the total costs for the first 4 years respectively are: $495, $125, $125, $295.
IITP is a non-profit organisation - these costs have been based on the estimated cost of operating the programme. This may change if the operational costs of the programme end up considerably more or less than this.
It should also be noted that Institute membership is a requirement of ITCP (as with all professional certifications, member of the professional body is required) and membership dues are not included in this cost.
Other similar programmes in other professions cost between $700 and $1500 per year.
- How does this tie in with other IITP Programmes?There are a number of other IITP programmes in place including mentoring, degree accreditation, ICT-Connect (facilitating ICT professionals into schools), and several others.
These programmes are implemented as part of a larger Work Programme, and tie in very closely with the Certification initiative to form a larger model for professionals.
- This is obviously targetted at senior IT practitioners. What about technician-level practitioners?Currently ITCP is established at Level 5 of the SFIA Framework, which is for senior IT professionals with significant experience.
The Institute intends to implement Level 3 Certification as well, for those earlier in their career.
Certification and Institute membership
- Will I have to achieve Certification to keep my existing membership?No, not at all. As with most other countries offering a similar programme (such as BCS's Chartered IT Professional in the UK), certification is additional to, and separate from, membership. Existing members do NOT have to become certified to maintain their membership.
- Do I have to become an IITP member to achieve certification?The Institute is the professional body for the IT sector, hence membership at "Full Member" (MIITP) and above is required to achieve and maintain certification.
This ensures certified professionals will remain compliant with Code of Ethics requirements and is the vehicle for professionals to engage with their professional community.