Published on the 20/10/2016 | Written by Anthony Caruana
Independent industry association for IT systems administrators in Australia SAGE-AU has broadened its horizons and interests…
Now called the IT Professionals Association (ITPA), the group plans to aggressively expand its reach with a view to building a vibrant community of people who work in technology.
ITPA says it is committed to creating professional development pathways for IT professionals including offering certified practitioner status via sanctioned tertiary courses similar to the accountancy profession.
This puts it in direct competition with the long established Australian Computer Society (ACS), which has established an education and accreditation regime for its members.
In a statement, Robert Hudson, the founding president for ITPA and the last SAGE-AU president, said the SAGE-AU brand has become dated and the organisation needed to transition to one more representative of the diverse and dynamic environment where IT and IT professionals reside.
This reflects the transition SAGE-AU saw. Its focus was on supporting system administrators, but with IT moving from the back office into the foreground, the organisation needed to change to accommodate its clients.
Hudson said, “As a small SysAdmin-focused organisation, our ability to be heard and to have influence on IT policy and governance was limited. By shedding the old name and opening up the organisation, we will be able to champion a broader scope of IT professionals and then be better able to present our expertise to industry, government, the media and society in general.”
Although the ACS has been around for 50 years, its membership is just over 22,000. A Deloitte Access Economics Digital Pulse report from 2015 says there are over 628,000 IT professionals in Australia.
Clearly, there is an opportunity for the ITPA to build a membership that could give the ACS stiff competition. It also plans to challenge government policy that inhibits the growth of the industry and the careers of IT professionals within Australia, according to Hudson.
He pointed to the lack of input from IT professionals in the initial stages of the NBN project and the metadata retention laws as examples of where the ITPA could have been an effective voice.
ITPA is offering four levels of membership upon launch. Associate membership is free and will be quickly populated through registering people undertaking free introductory courses it will be offering through tertiary institutions such as Charles Sturt University from later this month.
There will also be two levels of paid membership at $165 per annum with additional member services offered. Professional members will have voting rights and access to knowledge sharing events and online forums while Certified Practicing Members will have to successfully complete a minimum of professional development units each year to maintain their status.
The fourth level is Honorary Life Membership, which can be awarded to members who have shown consistent and significant contribution to ITPA and the IT Industry.