British Computer Society: Explained in Detail
The British Computer Society, BCS is a professional body and a UK based learned society that aims to promote the advance of Information Technology (IT) and computer science & foster the skilled growth of its members. The BCS, which has been around since 1957, has become one of the leading bodies in the IT industry. They endorse best practices in the IT industry for ethical and social concerns.
According to the UK Professional Certification Market Research by BCS, 49% of employees say that skill qualifications in Business Analysis are very important, and 42% think it is quite important. Several membership tiers are available in the BCS, each with its qualifications and rewards. In this blog, we will explore its history and mission, its membership options and the benefits of joining.
Table of Contents
1) What is the British Computer Society (BCS)
2) BCS Membership
a) For individuals
b) For organizations
3) BCS Qualifications and Certifications
a) Certifications for IT professionals
b) Digital Literacy qualifications
c) BCS Essential Digital Skills
d) Other qualifications and certifications
What is the British Computer Society (BCS)
British Computer Society (BCS) was established in 1957 as a professional body to ensure that IT industry standards remain high. Not only that, BCS ensures that legal, ethical, and social issues are followed within the IT industry.
BCS boasts of having over 60,000 members across 150 countries, which include a community of business leaders, educators, practitioners, and policymakers. BCS has a code of conduct that the members must follow to ensure they conduct themselves according to the rules and regulations. BCS offers a host of qualifications and certifications, and they offer membership to individuals and organisations.
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Members form the core of the BCS. BCS helps the members gain the expertise and skills needed to progress in their careers. BCS provides membership to individuals and organisations, which are slightly different.
Joining BCS as a member certifies the member as a competent and accountable professional who can use tech ethically and in a way that serves society. BCS membership also provides the training and help required, grants industry recognition, and helps members connect with the wider tech community.
BCS provides membership even if you are a student, a fresher, or even an experienced IT professional. There are four membership grades for individuals:
a) Student: This is for an individual studying in any IT-related course or digital T level.
b) Associate (AMBC): This is for someone just starting in IT or working as a trainee or on a Skills Bootcamp.
c) Professional (MBCS): This is for an individual working or teaching in IT (in computing or tech)
d) Fellow (FBCS): This is for experienced leaders in their respective fields.
Benefits of individual membership
a) Access to the skills e-learning library
b) IT competency matrix career mentoring
c) Interaction with the global BCS tech community and contact with industry leaders
Just like individual memberships, organisation memberships accredit that the BCS member organisation is committed to providing genuine career progression and helping develop critical skills for working IT professionals.
Benefits of organisation membership
a) Your team gets a trusted endorsement of their IT capability
b) BCS membership gives access to the qualifications and registrations to improve recognition
c) Helps expand network with similar organisations
d) For those organisations who are driving the industry standards, BCS gives an Approved Organisation status. This status also acknowledges the professionalism of the IT team
e) Employees in the organisation receive tools to develop their careers further and improve practical and soft skills
f) Opens more options for career progression
g) Gives access to the BCS career mentoring program
BCS Qualifications and Certifications
BCS provides a host of qualifications and certifications at various levels, serving different purposes. Let's look at some of them:
Certifications for IT professionals
With BCS qualifications, you can improve and certify your skills and value as an IT professional. BCS has over 60 certifications in ten core areas. Each of these core areas has multiple levels of courses that certify you in that core area.
b) Artificial Intelligence
c) Being an IT business partner
d) Business analysis
f) GDPR and Data protection
g) Information Security and CCP assured service
h) Software testing
i) Solution development and architecture
j) User Experience (UX)
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Digital literacy qualifications
Irrespective of your role and where you work, having the basic, essential IT skills is crucial. This course is for individuals who have little to no digital skills. This course will help individuals learn IT skills and build their confidence working in the IT industry.
The Digital Literacy qualifications include the following courses:
1) Essential Digital Skills Qualification for Work (EDSQ) - Entry Level 3 and Level 1: This is for those who are complete beginners in IT
2) ICDL Level 1 & 2 Awards and Certificates: This is for individuals in their early career or at an intermediate level
3) BCS Level 3 Certificate in IT User Skills (ICDL Advanced) (ITQ) - Funded, approved as part of the ‘Lifetime Skills Guarantee'
BCS Higher Education Qualifications (HEQ) (Levels 4, 5 & 6) - UK & International
BCS Essential Digital Skills
This qualification is for people with little to no digital skills experience, irrespective of their employment status. The course covers training on creating and editing documents, using digital devices, communicating online via emails or video calls, and online safety and responsibility.
BCS Essential Digital Skills have two qualification levels:
a) Entry Level: For those who have no experience in using digital devices or the internet
b) Level 1: For those who know a little about using digital devices but are not confident in using them at work
Other qualifications and certifications
Apart from the ones explained above, there are qualifications for higher education, training, and scholarship for teaching and home education. The Higher Education Qualification (HEQ) offers three modular levels of study, accredited by the UK government, Office of Qualification, and Examination Regulation. After finishing the BCS Diploma in IT, you can apply for a one-year top-up degree course with BCS-partnered universities. The three modular levels include:
a) BCS Level 4 Certificate in IT
b) BCS Level 5 Diploma in IT
c) BCS Level 6 Professional Graduate Diploma in IT
Certifications for the teaching community include the following:
a) BCS computer teacher scholarship
b) BCS Subject Knowledge Enhancement course
c) Teaching Teachers Tech: Computing with Python
BCS also provides a range of resources and certifications for home educators who want to give IT education to home-educated children.
British Computer Society (BCS) helps its members stay on top of developments in this ever-changing sector by offering a space for education and professional growth. BCS is a helpful resource for IT professionals at all stages of their careers that focuses on supporting the highest standards of excellence, professionalism, and ethical behavior. Whether you are a novice student or a seasoned professional, joining the BCS can broaden your horizons and assist you in reaching your objectives.
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