BCS, The Chartered Institute for IT has updated its Fellowship standards in order to reflect the continued expansion of the profession and the many new and different ways individuals are making an impact as leaders.

With over 63,000 members, BCS operates as a charity with a royal charter to promote and support the growing and diverse community of IT and digital professionals committed to making IT good for society. It offers a range of membership grades with Fellowship being home to the most influential professionals in the industry. 

BCS Membership Director Holly Porter said the challenge was to ensure the high standard for Fellowship was retained, while embracing the broader qualities they wanted to recognise and celebrate as a professional body. 

“It’s been a long time since we reviewed our Fellowship criteria. It was important to check that it was still working for us and the applicants,” she explained.

“As a professional body, we have a unique ability to convene and engage stakeholders from across the digital and technology landscape. Our royal charter states our purpose is to promote and advance the profession for the benefit of society. This means our membership community – especially at the leadership grade – needs to be broad and diverse, to ensure we fully reflect and meet society’s needs. 

“When we looked at the demographics of Fellows, we saw that applicants were coming from a relatively narrow section of the profession and were predominantly male. And sadly, almost a third of new applicants were unsuccessful and the number of queries around borderline cases was increasing,” she said.

So, what’s changed?

After a comprehensive review, BCS has updated its criteria from ‘seniority’, ’eminence’ and ‘authority’ to a broader set covering the many different ways IT leaders and influencers are making an impact in today’s industry. 

“We want to be sure we’re reaching out to all the entrepreneurs and innovators, researchers, academics, business leaders and industry professionals who are shaping the digital world,” said Porter. 

With an emphasis on active contribution and leadership impact, the new criteria will maintain the high standards expected of the Fellowship community while attracting a wider pool of exceptional IT talent. 

BCS now focuses on: 

  • the impact of leadership (their body of work), 
  • the impact of contribution to the profession (professional impact), and 
  • reputation as a role model (their standing in the community). 

Applications will still undergo robust peer assessment by experienced BCS Fellowship assessors, but there is no longer an interview. 

Every Fellow subscribes to an obligation to promote the charitable aim of BCS: Making IT good for Society. The vision is for Fellows to engage in a vast variety of activities – with and on behalf of BCS, such as supporting research, policy formation, education, entrepreneurship, and public engagement. 

BCS is actively seeking applications, so if you think BCS Fellowship is for you or if you know someone who you think should be recognised in this way, visit www.bcs.org/fellowship for the full criteria and application details.

Caption: Holly Porter, BCS Membership Director