Computer Society – er sorry – Institute of IT Professionals South Africa

By Gail Sturgess

It’s a whole new world for IT Professionalism in South Africa! The old CSSA (Computer Society South Africa) has been on a transformation process over the past 18 months. It’s still a journey, but phase 1 is almost complete and it’s starting to look really good for South African IT

The three big changes that have taken place so far are:

  • The name change from CSSA to IITPSA
  • Recognition by SAQA as the Professional Body for IT in South Africa
  • The process for IP3 Accreditation.


It’s not easy, psychologically or physically, to change a name and an identity after over 50 years. Yet this is what has happened to achieve the Institute of IT Professionals SA (IITPSA) over the past 18 months. The rationale? Well, the Computer Society label was synonymous with a “society” or a “club”. It really no longer reflected the “professionalism” that has become an important focus area of the Institute.

A number of other IFIP1 affiliated computer societies have made a similar journey. BCS (British Computer Society) is now The Chartered Institute for IT and the NZCS (New Zealand Computer Society) is now the Institute of IT Professionals New Zealand. It’s all part of a move towards the international professionalism of the IT industry. And South Africa is part of this move.

Recognition by SAQA

During 2013 the IITPSA was recognised by SAQA as the Professional Body for IT in South Africa. And, what’s more, the designation PMIITPSA (Professional Member of IITPSA) was registered as the Professional Designation for IT Professionals in South Africa. What does this mean? For IT Professionals, with a PMIITPSA after their name, it means that they are recognised as Professionals in their field, the same as other Professionals in other fields, such as accounting, law, engineering, etc. For organisations it means that their IT Professionals have met global standards for competence, ethics, and experienced and are registered by SAQA (South African Qualifications Authority) in the NQF (National Qualifications Framework) database as an ICT Professional.

IFIP (International Federation for Information Processing) is the leading multinational, apolitical organization in Information and Communications Technologies and Sciences. It is recognized by United Nations and other world bodies, and represents IT Societies from 56 countries/regions, covering five continents with a total membership of over half a million. IFIP links more than 3500 scientists from Academia & Industry through over 100 Working Groups and 13 Technical.

IP3 Accreditation

IP3 (International Professional Practice Partnership), a special task group of IFIP, was established to lead the development of the global IT Profession by providing a platform that will help shape and implement relevant policies to foster professionalism in IT worldwide. IITPSA is in the process of becoming accredited by IP3 which will mean that our PMIITPSA members are recognised as Professionals globally.

To be eligible for IP3 accreditation, IITPSA needs to have an appropriate certification program in place and is required to demonstrate that the type of IT professional they certify is aligned with IP3′s professional standard criteria:

  • Mastery of the core body of knowledge is set at the appropriate standard for professional certification;
  • Competence requirements are set at the defined standard level;
  • Cognitive and practical skills requirements are set at an appropriate level;
  • Appropriate requirements are in place to ensure Continuing Professional Development (CPD);
  • An appropriate enforceable code of ethics and conduct is in place;
  • The necessary processes and expertise to evaluate qualifications of individuals are in place;
  • Have the necessary organisational capability and maturity to manage the certification program.

IITPSA is well on the way to meet these requirements and honour our Professional Members with global recognition.

And there’s more …

These three steps complete phase 1 of the transformation process. Other issues being addressed by IITPSA are:

  • Transforming the Institute to be reflective of the society in which we live. IITPSA is very proud to have achieved significant gains in changing the demographics of the Institute. The Institute now boasts a close to 60% non-white membership, with more than 60% of its members being less than 45 years of age.
  • Engaging with CIOs to establish their needs of the Institute, and to encourage them to recognise the PMIITPSA designation by having their senior IT staff on a path to Professional recognition – in South Africa and globally.
  • Encouraging all IT practitioners in South Africa to take pride in their development and their careers and to join the IITPSA to ensure that they are on a path to Professional status in the industry.
  • Putting in place an industry standard IT Career Development Framework that ensures consistency and coherence of workplace development of IT practitioners and Professionals.

For more information on any of these initiatives, or to find out how you can put a roadmap for professional development in your organisation, please contact the Institute directly at