ICT E-Skills and Professionalism in 2013

Stephen Ibaraki, Founder and Chair, IP3 Global Industry Council

2013 is the 40th anniversary of Kelly Gotlieb and Allan Borodin’s seminal book, “Social Issues in Computing,” where in Chapter 12 they addressed the question of “Professionalization and Responsibility”, provided a definition for a profession, and an analysis of the professionalism environment. In doing so, they became a catalyst and pioneers for the continuing evolution and growth of Information Communication and Technology (ICT) professionalism.

Gotlieb helped found the Canadian Information Processing Society (CIPS), which continues to impact business, industry, governments, education, media, and society internationally. On its 50th anniversary, Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper stated “Since 1958, CIPS has represented its membership on important issues affecting the IT industry and profession. The association has promoted high ideals of competence and ethical practices through certification, accreditation programs, and professional development…Your efforts have made positive and lasting contributions to Canada’s economic growth and competitiveness.”

In this article, expanding upon their book, I start by providing my personal perspective on current ICT trends and the ecosystem for ICT professionalism and E-Skills.

ICT Trends

Below are some trends in ICT usage, extrapolating from the International Telecommunication Union (ITU) and major research groups. It emphasizes how dependent we are on E-Skills and a professionalized workforce.

For 2013:

  • There are over 2.4B Internet Users representing over 2.5 Trillion USD in commerce
  • 1.7B mobile phones shipped; over 40% are smartphones
  • 6.5B mobile phone subscriptions
  • Countries such as China and India, each having over 1B mobile subscribers
  • ICT accounting for over 20% of GDP growth in some countries
  • Every 10% increase in broadband penetration produces a 1.3% gain in economic growth
  • 90% of the world’s data was created in the last two years. There is now over 2 Zettabytes of data created and replicated (1 Zettabyte is one billion terabytes).

For 2016:

  • Over 4B Internet users anticipated, due to the wide proliferation of internet enabled mobile phones and smart devices—the expensive smartphones/tablets of 2013 will be the inexpensive commodity phones/devices of the future
  • Estimated 2.5B mobile shipments with over 60% being smartphones/tablet inspired devices

ICT is integrated into all facets of business, industry, governments, media, society and consumers. This is demonstrated in the latest ICT trends and the business-focus of ICT skills, all of which drives the demand for ICT professionalism.

Kelly Gotlieb and Allan Borodin’s seminal book, “Social Issues in Computing,” laid the foundation for the continuing evolution of ICT professionalism, through key elements: accredited education, demonstrated professional development, adherence to a published code of ethics, alignment with best practices and an ICT Body of Knowledge (BOK), and recognized credentials.

In future articles, I will provide an updated definition of ICT Professionalism in 2013, as it has evolved since Social Issues in Computing, and I will outline key examples demonstrating the substantial progress made in defining E-Skills and ICT Professionalism in the four decades since the book was published.

Stephen Ibaraki is the founding chairman of the United-Nations-founded IFIP-IP3 Global Industry Council, as well as iGEN Knowledge Solutions, Global Board GITCA, and first board chairman, The Vine Group. He serves as vice-Chair of  the World CIO Forum, founding board director FEAPO, and is a past president of the Canadian Information Processing Society(CIPS), which elected him a Founding Fellow in 2005.  Ibaraki is chair of the ACM Practitioners Board Professionalism and Certification  and Professional Development Committees, and is the recipient of many ICT awards,  including a IT Leadership Lifetime Achievement Award, an Advanced Technology Lifetime Achievement Award,  Professionalism Career Achievement Awards, an IT Hero Award, the Gary Hadford Award, and others.  Ibaraki has been the recipient of a Microsoft Most Valuable Professional Award each year since 2006. Ibaraki serves as an advisor on ICT matters for a variety of global organizations, companies, and governments.


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  2. Dave O'Leary

    At no time in the history of humanity has a commitment to ethics and professional been needed more than in our ICT dependent world. Expert knowledge and competence is both a great asset and a huge responsibility. Knowing that one of our brightest and most competent leaders, the amazing Kelly Gotlieb, identified the critical importance of ethics and professional to our profession from the beginning is not surprising and is one of his many gifts to us. What must happen now is that every one of us in this fastest growing field must become Kelly-like and embrace and live the values so clearly defined. We must ensure that the power of expertise is guided by the reason, passion and care of the eithical and professional mind. Thank you Kelli for showing the way.
    Dave O’Leary I.S.P., ITCP/IP3P
    Chair National Council Deans of IT
    Director & VP CIPS British Columbia
    Director ICTC

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