The British Computer Society was formed in 1957, and now has nearly 34,000 members. It seeks to be the pre-eminent professional association for the computing industry and aspires to a role similar to that of the Law Society or the General Medical Council.

The society does not yet have that role, as, while it has close links with government, has input into IT related decisions and possesses a royal charter, it does not yet have legally recognised charter status. In other words whilst the BCS has its own structure of membership relating to a member’s qualifications and attainments, and that structure is formalised with a charter, it is not necessary to be a part of this structure to work in the computing industry.

The BCS has over 56,000 members of whom around 10,000 are students. In the words of the BCS:

“Membership of BCS demonstrates your commitment to both your own and the IT community’s professional development.”

This commitment is being taken seriously by industry and many jobs, especially in government, now have membership of the BCS as part of their criteria for selection. In large part this is because the society:

  •  sets industry standards with its Codes of Conduct and Practice
  • advises Parliament, the Government and its agencies
  • represents the views of its members on topical issues
  • inspects courses in computing at universities
  • conducts its own examinations

Next: IMIS