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This week's ITP update

Paul Matthews, ITP Chief Executive. 02 December 2016, 4:25 pm
This week's ITP update

Here's a quick update from IT Professionals NZ, put together by ITP CEO Paul Matthews.

It was a big planning week for ITP, with various board planning sessions for 2017, a new President and Deputy President, first face-to-face meeting of the full new ITP Board, various ministerial meetings and much more.

New President and Deputy President at ITP

We're really excited to announce the new ITP President is Mike Dennehy from Tauranga. 

Ian Taylor

Mike is Managing Director Australia and New Zealand for Qube Global Software, after having his company Vision Software successfully acquired by Qube in 2014. Mike was also one of the leading lights that established the Tauranga Branch of ITP and has been a big driving force in the development of the profession in the Bay.

Mike has been ITP Deputy President for the last two years, part of ITP's leadership team refining and pursuing our vision as the authoritative voice of the IT profession that leads professional development and good practice in IT over that time. Mike is particularly focused on how we support the professional growth of IT folks through various initiatives such as certification.

Anthony DowlingAnthony Dowling was also elected ITP Deputy President this week. Ants is head of SJones Ltd in Dunedin and has been on the ITP Board (formerly Council) for the last few years.

The change follows the completion of the 2-year term of Immediate Past President Ian Taylor from Animation Research. His perspective has been hugely valuable over the last 2 years and it's great that he will remain on the ITP Board, helping shape the strategy and direction of the organization.

Digital Tech in Education 

Monday also saw ITP and other representatives from the education and tech sectors come together for a day to give feedback and discuss progress towards the Digital Technologies changes in schools as part of the Digital Tech Reference Group.

Most readers will remember that following a year-long review last year involving ITP and others, Education Minister Hekia Parata announced that Digital Technologies would become a part of the school curriculum right from year 1 up, however unfortunately still in the same subject learning area as other Textiles, Hard Materials and Food Tech. Nothing against those strands - they're great - but just not very compatible with tech.

Since then we've been working with the Ministry of Education, and Education Minister Hekia Parata directly, to ensure that what's put in place is actually a significant step forward, and properly resourced. It's essential that every kid, regardless of decile, gender, race or anything else, gets the opportunity to thrive in the digital world and those who want to get into tech have good senior secondary options as well.

While the devil is always in the detail, we were quietly impressed with the work so far. While still very much just a draft for discussion, the model being proposed currently includes:

  • Dedicated, clear and specific digital tech capability outcomes at all levels, alongside the broad tech outcomes (rather than a mish-mash between the two)
  • Dedicated Computational Thinking (algorithms, programming, data representation) and Digital Outcomes (applications and systems) strands up front, to ensure broad coverage of digital tech for all kids
  • Design thinking and human interaction woven in across the whole area

There is still further discussion and refinement to happen, for example there's a call to move the Computational Thinking to the top-level given its importance in other areas of technology as well (for example, 3D and programmed printing in hard materials and textiles, bio-tech, etc), and we'll continue to contribute on behalf of the profession and industry.

We'll share more as soon as we're able.

ITP work programme for 2017

November's ITP National Board Meeting this week focused on reviewing the strategic direction of the organisation and prioritising the work programme for next year.

We'll share the detail in the new year, but look out for significant work on promoting CITPNZ and CTech, a particular project in partnership with Immigration NZ, work to help our members review their career position and progress using SFIA, student engagement initiatives, a revamped Mentoring programme and much more. 

ITP is your body - we belong to the profession and our members. As always, there's a strong focus on helping the profession develop and individual professionals get ahead.

Degree Accreditation requirements refined 

The Degree Accreditation Board also met this week and approved a number of updates and changes to ITP's Degree Accreditation requirements ready for a heap of new computing degrees going up for accreditation in the new year.

ITP Degree Accreditation is a robust review of specific computing Bachelor degree programmes, recognising those that meet industry needs and international standards. The first NZ programmes became accredited under the international initiative late last year and being accredited provides extra assurance to students that what they're learning is world leading, practical, and will prepare them well for our profession.

Via the Soul Accord, accredited programmes will be recognised worldwide. You can view the current New Zealand accredited programmes here.

Long-term storage of research data 

We've been concerned for some time about the storage of sensitive data in a range of contexts, and the consequence of data not being managed or secured adequately when stored over time. Plenty of recent examples have shown why this is necessary.

One such context is research data. It's obviously essential that research data is stored for a suitable period of time, however there don't appear to be any widely accepted guidelines or approved methods of storing this data and much of it is personally identifiable. In practice, often research data is just stored in archive boxes, on office or personal computers, filing cabinets, or other places without adequate protection.

We're raising the matter with ethics committees in research-based institutions across New Zealand, and separately, given the similar storage requirements to software escrow, have asked our subsidiary entity Software Escrow New Zealand to provide a solution for researchers (which they have now done).

If you're a researcher, or know researchers wanting to ensure your data is properly stored and doesn't become a bad headline in a couple of years, drop the SENZ folks a note and they'll run you through it.


And the above is only a fraction of what we've been up to this week! Time for a rest and on that note, have a great weekend. 


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