[clug] ACS query

James Cherryh jcherryh at gmail.com
Thu Feb 28 06:37:37 GMT 2008

I was a member of the ACS years ago, until I decided they weren't adding any
value to me.

Nothing they were doing interested me. I sort of thought their course
offerings might turn out to be a useful way to do a masters, but apart from
anything else they have mandatory units on ethics and IT trends. I decided
that I was already capable of making my own ethical decisions, and that my
own reading on IT trends would be more thorough than their course, and I
didn't want to waste a year of my spare time studying those units. At that
time their courses weren't interesting to me anyhow; now they have one on
software engineering which looks OK on paper, but I can't see it would be
more useful than the personal study I do on the topic anyhow.

They do of course have a mission : they want IT to be a recognised
profession, and they want to be the professional accreditation organisation
when it happens. While it would be good to get cowboys out of IT, I don't
see it ever being a recognised profession like engineering, for a lot of
reasons, a few of which include there being so many sub-specialities within
IT, only a relatively few jobs needing what I might call 'professional'
status, there being brilliant people who aren't degree trained who
neverthess get the job done and so on. Contrast to structural engineering :
you wouldn't let an untrained person put 50,000 tons of steel and concrete
in the air, but few IT people have that level of responsibility. Yes, I know
about financial coding and so on, different topic.

They do (or did) have responsibility for setting IT training levels for
skilled migration visa support, don't know if they still do that.

Anyway, nothing that they did interested me. I had a running email
correspondence with the then president for a while, where he tried to get me
revved up about contributing and 'putting something back', but I found it
hard to see with my limited free time why I should spend it educating IT
people without the get up and go to do it themselves like I did...

There is so much information available now on the web and books that the ACS
doesn't fill a necessary role in information dissemination : if you want to
educate yourself it's easy to find materials.

In the unlikely event that job opportunities in IT ever make it necessary to
become an ACS member I'll do so, but at the moment I see them as a
self-interest lobby group and a bit of a dinosaur.


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