Following the adoption of the CIPS Initial Body of Knowledge in 2005, CIPS embarked in 2009 on a new project to define a more comprehensive document. Under the leadership of Dr. Tim Lethbridge, I.S.P., ITCP, the Common Body of Knowledge (CBOK) Committee was formed.  The scope of the review widened along the way as it became apparent that the CBOK must be considered within the wider framework of the ICT profession. The reasons for updating the 2005 CBOK document were:

  • The ICT market had changed since the 2005 CBOK;
  • The 2005 CBOK was not seen as relevant by employers and industry;
  • The 2005 CBOK was viewed as not specifying any ICT knowledge as mandatory components.

Against this background, the aims of the CBOK Committee were to undertake a review that would:

  • Provide for a common understanding of the nature and boundaries of the ICT profession;
  • Establish a shared knowledge base from which a unified and consistent version of IT related terminology can be derived;
  • Provide a framework of ICT “building blocks” that indicates how the requisite skills/knowledge for an ICT professional can be shaped and developed through programs of study and personal development;
  • Present a framework which is accessible and useful to all stakeholders; and
  • Provide a means of strengthening and promoting the profession.

CIPS believes it is time for a common vision on what constitutes the profession that is shared by all ICT stakeholders, including industry, government, educators, academic bodies, the community, students and professional standards bodies. In the more established professions of engineering and accounting, the accreditation of post-secondary curricula and the certification of practicing professionals are taken very seriously. These activities are seen as key to the constant upgrading of professionals and the improvement of the level of professional practice.

Recognizing a common body of knowledge is pivotal to the development of a profession. The Guide should not be confused with the Body of Knowledge itself, which already exists in the published literature. The purpose of the Guide is to describe what portion of the Body of Knowledge is generally accepted, to organize that portion, and to provide a topical access to it. It is the responsibility of other organizations and initiatives such as the CIPS Certification and Accreditation Councils, which are involved in the certification of professionals and the development of accreditation criteria, to define what a computing/IT professional must know outside the core. Moreover, it should be noted that the Guide does not purport to define the body of knowledge, but rather to serve as a compendium and guide to the body of knowledge that has been developing and evolving over the past decades. Furthermore, the CIPS Guide to the Common Body of Knowledge for Computing and IT (CBOK) is not static. The Guide must, necessarily, develop and evolve as the ICT profession matures.

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