SA still a world pioneer with Pr.CIO designation

SA still a world pioneer with Pr.CIO designation

The introduction of the Professional CIO (Pr.CIO) designation in South Africa has set an example for ICT professional bodies around the world, as the only designation assessed up to Level 7 of the SFIA (Skills Framework for the Information Age) international skills and competency framework. The Pr.CIO designation, introduced in late 2019, has garnered significant interest from experienced IT professionals in South Africa, who would like the credibility and recognition that this designation offers.

To date, only 17 highly qualified and experienced CIOs at the pinnacle of their careers have been awarded the designation, says Thabo Mashegoane, IITPSA President. However, he notes that Pr.CIO is awarded only to professionals who have gained extensive experience in the role of CIO, specifically recognising qualifications and experience in the role of the senior executive responsible for the interface between business and IT. South Africa’s recognition of IT professionals’ achievements at a high level are setting the trend for professional bodies around the world.

IITPSA’s Professional Member (PMIITPSA) designation also recognises advanced qualifications and experience among IT professionals, but its reference is broader and applies to professionals who may not serve in the role of CIO, but who might own their own businesses or be senior IT executives. “We have around 70 members with the PMIITPSA designation. This too, is assessed between Levels 5 and 7 of the SFIA framework,” Mashegoane says.

South Africa’s recognition of IT professionals’ achievements at a high level are setting the trend for professional bodies around the world, where generally speaking, recognition of professional achievement has only been up to SFIA Level 5, says Mashegoane. “We are not aware of an international equivalent to the Pr.CIO in particular, and we believe we are being seen as an example of the way to go among members of the International Federation for Information Processing (IFIP),” he says. IITPSA is the South African Country Member of IFIP and is also an accredited member of IFIP IP3.

Mashegoane says achieving the Pr.CIO designation involves an in-depth assessment process.

“We require documentation supporting the evidence of academic qualifications, technical certifications and professional experience. This includes copies of degrees, transcripts, verifiable vendor certifications, and all of these must be validated,” he says. “Our assessors then go through the CV and get confirmation of employment in those roles at those times; and we lean towards a peer review of the candidate, during which two assessors seek to establish the candidate’s attitude and experience in making a strategic contribution to the business. We also focus on their ethics and governance; to make sure that whatever is revealed in the CV is borne out in practice.”

“This is to make sure that although the candidate may have the title on a piece of paper, they actually fulfil the role at the top strategic level in practice,” he says.

“We had to make sure verification process was robust and that it would be regarded as such. Overall, we are very pleased with the quality of the members who have achieved this designation to date. For them, it means credibility and recognition of their qualifications and experience. It also means that if they are interested in working in another territory, their achievement will be automatically recognised by our sister professional body in that country.”