I recently attended a BCS workshop on the Registered IT Technician (RITTech) standard. I was inspired to apply and received my professional registration 5 days later!
RITTech - what and why?
RITTech is an industry recognised standard for people working across IT that demonstrates the holder is considered competent, knowledgeable and professional. It's not a course or an exam that can be studied for - it's a validation of existing skills, knowledge and qualities.
I believe such standards are important - our industry has not yet developed the maturity and rigour of other professions. Such standards are considered normal in engineering, accountancy, medicine and other sectors - but in IT, being able to formally evidence technical competence and professional integrity is an easy way to stand out from the crowd. That isn't to say that the majority of IT practitioners are incompetent or unprofessional, but rather that organisations tend to apply their own in-house standards.
Who should apply?
The BCS uses the SFIA (Skills For the Information Age) framework to benchmark professional skills and competencies. RITTech is aimed primarily at SFIA level 3 and level 4, but there is no upper limit. According to BCS statistics, most registrants have 3 - 10 years experience in their chosen specialism.
Achieving the RITTech standard is a useful step towards chartership - either Chartered IT Professional (CITP) or Chartered Engineer (CEng). Both of these are aimed at SFIA level 5 or higher. CEng, in particular, is an internationally recognised standard that carries a lot of weight.
The RITTech application process is quite straightforward - applicants are required to answer multiple-choice questions regarding their experience and knowledge, followed by three statements of no more than 1000 characters (~250 words) each. Applicants also need to provide details of a "supporter" - this can be a line manager or other senior colleague who can validate their application. It shouldn't take more than an hour or two to complete.
Registration costs £45 and is renewed every 3 years. An active BCS membership is also required - associate-level membership (AMBCS) is discounted to free as part of the initial RITTech registration. Employers with organisational membership may have a voucher code that allows the applicant to waive payment altogether - check with your BCS scheme coordinator.
After submitting, the application is sent to the nominated supporter, who is given 10 days to approve. The BCS will then take up to 10 working days to review the approved application - if accepted, an email confirmation will be sent. In practice, the BCS processed my application within hours of my supporter approving it.
Three short statements are required as part of the application process. I found it useful to write these in Word and then transfer to the web form once I was happy with them. I also ran them past my supporter and a BCS contact before submitting.
- "Describe three things that have made you proud and which demonstrate your skills."
- "Describe a piece of work requiring use of your technical skills, and what you learned from it."
- "Give an example of how you have personally made a difference within a team delivery or project."
The limited space means that answers need to be communicated succinctly:
- Stick to the key points
- Consider the impact on end-users or the business - e.g. time / cost savings, improved UX, quality, reliability
- Quantify where possible - e.g. "I optimized the algorithm for XYZ, resulting in a 3x speed increase"
- Relate statements to answers on the previous page (specialist knowledge / skills / experience)
- Consider how statements relate to SFIA level definitions (e.g. teamwork, complexity of problem solving)
- Don't overthink it too much!