Certified Information Technology Professional

  • Introduction

    Information systems have become the basic infrastructure of modern society, and the information technology (IT) engineers who support them are expected to be professionals with advanced skills. However, in Japan, the profession of IT engineers has not been established, and there is no appropriate means to visualize their professional capabilities. In view of this situation, IPSJ has decided to create the Certified Information Technology Professional (CITP) program. The purpose of this program is to visualize the abilities of IT professionals who have a high level of expertise and a wealth of business experience by granting them certification of the CITP.  IPSJ also aims to build a professional community consisting of certified IT professionals. 
    IPSJ has designed the CITP program to be consistent with international standards on programs certifying IT engineers.  This is responding to urgent issues such as the development of global human resources in Japan's IT industry and the international expansion of Japan's certification program in the IT field. 

    Outline of the certification program

    The CITP program has adopted the Skill Standards for IT Professionals (ITSS), which are developed by the Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry and widely used among Japanese companies.  Of the seven levels for IT engineers defined in the ITSS, the CITP program is intended for senior engineers at Level 4 or above. Based on the skills evaluation method defined in the ITSS, IPSJ issues certificates of CITP to engineers who are judged to have competence suitable for the target level.
    The pace of advances in the IT field requires IT engineers to continually learn new knowledge and skills. Consequently, international standards have recently made continuing professional development (CPD) a mandatory requirement to renew certification. CITP certification is valid for three years, and renewal requires its holders to demonstrate specified CPD results.
    Note also that this certification program itself is subject to ongoing improvements. For example, the program will be improved to reflect revisions to the ITSS, the Common Career/Skills Framework, or related international standards.

    Significance of the certification program

    IT system vendors, along with companies and central and local governments that use IT systems, can reference CITP certification to evaluate the competence of IT engineers in the hiring process. IT system vendors can also make use of this certification as objective proof of the competence of their employees as well as an indicator for in-house human resource development.
    What is more important is that IT engineers themselves will endeavor to continually improve their competence (CPD) with the awareness of being a professional and, thereby, contribute further to industry and society by making use of their advanced competence. 
    In order to encourage such initiatives, IPSJ has established a professional community consisting of qualified CITP holders. The community is promoting various professional contributions, including activities for autonomous quality improvement through exchanges of views among engineers, social advocacy, and educational and human resource development activities in the IT field. 

    Conformity with international standards

    There are two international standards connected to certification programs for IT engineers: ISO/IEC 24773 (Certification of software and systems engineering professionals) and ISO/IEC 17024 (Conformity assessment — General requirements for bodies operating certification of persons). The CITP program was designed to conform to these two international standards. At the present time, ISO/IEC JTC 1/SC 7/WG 20 is working on revisions to ISO/IEC 24773. An editor from IPSJ is participating in this revision process.
    The International Federation for Information Processing (IFIP) has organized the International Professional Practice Partnership (IP3), a scheme to promote international mutual certifications for IT engineers. The CITP certification program is accredited by IP3 as a professional IT certification program (IP3P), and CITP is globally accepted among IP3 accredited countries.

    Accrediting private certification systems

    Many IT system vendors operate private certification programs based on the ITSS in Japan. If a vendor’s program is operated properly and if its certifications are judged to be of an equivalent standard to that of the CITP program, IPSJ will accredit the vendor’s certification program and issue certificates of CITP to engineers who are certified under the vendor’s program.
    The CITP program has two certification methods: the direct method, in which IPSJ directly evaluates the qualifications of individual engineers, and the indirect method, in which companies’ private certification programs are accredited as described above.