Professional Standards in IT. Part 2

Professional Standards in IT. Part 2

This is the second part of our article on the idea of professional standards in the IT industry.
And do technical specialists themselves need such standards?

It’s no secret that now IT professionals rarely have industry-specific education. In order to continuously develop after graduating and keep track of the constant and fast changes in the industry, you should make up a map showing where the specialist is now and where they must be in the future. Determine areas that require development, and directions that initially remained out of focus. Evidently, such a development does not always imply a deeper study of programming languages, new frameworks and platforms, or environment versions – many things which need to be learned are at the intersections of competencies, in the area of interacting with users, processes, new architectural solutions and security.

Professional standards could help answer the question: Does management think that I am not yet worthy of the “senior developer” position? But this is a separate theme related to performance appraisal and assessment, which is related to standards but not reduced to them only.

Regretfully, although standards have been developed for many IT professions, they are not fully utilized. There are numerous reasons for that: the need of further detailed elaboration, high costs of implementing compliance with these standards in each company, non-obviousness of a quick economic effect.

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In spite of all this, you can use the most successful parts that are correlated with the task.

In our practice, we create a set of tests for IT directions, which enable us to get an unbiased picture of competencies for each specialist and unit or company. Of course, the results of these tests cannot be used separately – they are a significant part of employee aasesment or training planning. Testing allows you to obtain (objectively and independently) a general view and a basis for comparison – horizontal (between professionals/units) and vertical (in time).

The tests are not simple (e.g., for a developer these could be one or two tests in programming languages, plus a test for general knowledge related to “developing in general” – development processes, basics of security, algorithms and subject domain. The task becomes more difficult because similar positions with the same titles in different companies may imply quite different competencies.

If the staff structure and matrix of competencies could be initially based on a single standard, then planning audits, appraisals, tests, etc. would be less expensive and time-consuming.

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Boris Nazarov
Luxoft Training Project Manager
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