Continuous Professional Development

Earlier we touched on Continuous Professional Development (CPD) but here we will expand on it a little. CPD is quite simply the ongoing process of extending our professional knowledge and skills either by formal or informal methods.

Examples of formal methods of CPD that would contribute to expanding, refreshing or consolidating knowledge or skills related to our profession would be: participation in relevant courses offered by colleges, universities or other training providers such as PBs; attending seminars; participating in workshops; and taking part in staff development events provided by an employer.

Examples of informal methods of CPD would be the likes of reading magazines and books related to your professional field and talking with colleagues either in a structured or unstructured fashion.

With reference back to the BCS Code of Conduct we will find that item 2(c) states that “you shall” “develop your professional knowledge, skills, and competence on a continuing basis, maintaining awareness of technological developments, procedures, and standards that are relevant to your field.” – this is CPD.

Thus, if we want to be a member of the BCS then we will have to ensure that CPD is something that we actively engage with, though as identified above this can be achieved formally or informally, thus, if we only ever did this informally then it would be our own integrity that the BCS would be relying on to enforce this.

If we consider the Institute of Analysts and Programmers (IAP) Code of Conduct then we find that item 4 under the section titled “Duties to Institution of Analysts and Programmers” states “Maintain or improve their professional competence with due regard to technological progress which may be relevant to their chosen field.”; again, what we are finding is that the IAP, just like the BCS, is stating that CPD is an essential commitment in membership to the PB.

CPD might sound like a chore, which if the truth is told, it can on occasion be, but it can also be very rewarding and beneficial. Some of the most likely benefits that someone may gain from CPD might be increased confidence, greater knowledge, enhancement of skills, and enhanced potential for career progression.

An important consideration that should not be overlooked is that CPD not only benefits the professional but also the employer, when implemented in a meaningful and consistent fashion, as having more knowledgeable and skilled employees might result in greater flexibility when managing and allocating employees and employees that feel invested in – resulting potentially in increased staff morale, dedication to ‘the job’ and productivity.

Referring back to an earlier section that talked of the impact of professional bodies on society of an informed workforce we find that it is this CPD requirement of professional bodies and employers that offers potential for far reaching impacts on employees, businesses and society.

Next: Professional Integrity and Ethics