[Release] Advanced certification system promoting the globalization of IT industry

Advanced certification system promoting the globalization of IT industry
– Announcement of the proposal of the system and the start of its trial –

TOKYO, Japan – June 3, 2013 – Information Processing Society of Japan (IPSJ) announced today the proposal of the advanced certification system for information technology (IT) engineers which has been developed by IPSJ.

As IT systems have become a fundamental infrastructure of modern societies, IT engineers are expected to be professionals having advanced competence. But, in Japan, the profession of IT engineer has not been established, and suitable means of visualizing professional competence are not available. Therefore IPSJ has decided to create the Certified IT Professional System. This system aims at visualizing the competence of IT engineers by certifying their advanced professional knowledge and rich business performance. It also aims at building a professional community whose members are the certified IT engineers.

The design of the system takes into account the coordination with the certification system promoted by IFIP, which has more than 50 IT-related member societies around the world. This approach enables the IPSJ system to cope with the recent important issue of developing global talent.
Before implementing the system, IPSJ plans to ask public opinion widely by publishing the proposal of the system, and have a small trial of the system to prepare for its full implementation.

The outline of the system

The Certified IT Professional System uses the Skill Standards for IT Professionals (ITSS), which is widely adopted among the companies in Japan, as a reference model. Of the seven levels defined in ITSS, this system is intended for advanced engineer of level 4 or above, which is compatible with SFIA level 5 or above. Based on the evaluation method defined in ITSS, IPSJ issues certification to the engineers who are judged to have competence of the target level.

The rapid progress in the IT sector requires IT engineers to learn new knowledge and skills continuously. The renewal of a certification with continuing professional development (CPD) is mandatory in recent international standards. This certification has an effective period of three years and requires designated CPD activities.

The meaning of this certification system

Companies or central or local governments can refer this certification as an indicator to evaluate the competence of engineers at the time of employment. IT vendors utilize it as an evidence of the competence of their employees, as well as an indicator in human resource development. What is more important is that IT engineers will be able to contribute to industries and societies more through the improvement of their competence with the awareness of being a professional. In order to encourage such activities, IPSJ has a vision to create a community for IT professionals where autonomous quality improvement through the interchange among the engineers and professional contribution activities are performed. 

Adoption of international standards

IFIP has organized IP3, the scheme to promote global certification system of IT professionals. The Certified IT Professional System was designed to conform to the scheme. Requiring effective period etc., the scheme conforms to international standards*. IPSJ will contribute the development of the scheme as being a board member of IP3.

*ISO/IEC 17024 Conformity assessment -- General requirements for bodies operating certification of persons
  ISO/IEC 24773 Software engineering -- Certification of software engineering professionals -- Comparison framework

Accrediting an internal certification system of a company

Many Japanese IT vendors run internal certification system based on ITSS. If the system operates properly and if the level of the system is equivalent to that of the Certified IT Professional System, IPSJ accredits the internal certification system, and issue the certification of Certified IT Professional to the engineer who has the internal certification.
IPSJ has a plan to operate both methods of examining individual engineer by IPSJ, called “direct method”, and accrediting internal certification system as above, called “indirect method” in the Certification IT Professional System.

Relationship with the Information Technology Engineers Examination

The Certified IT Professional System complements the Information Technology Engineers Examination (ITEE) provided by the Japanese government. This system evaluates the competence to utilize knowledge and skills confirmed in the examination actually in the business and the activities in society.
The ITSS levels from 1 to 3 have corresponding examination categories. The success in the examination implies the possession of the competence at the level. At ITSS level 4, evaluation of business performance is required in addition to the Advanced-level Examinations of ITEE. At ITSS level 5 or above, evaluation of business performance is required since no examination is established,.
The Certified IT Professional System evaluates the actual performance of demonstrating skills at ITSS level 4 or above in the business and the social contribution such as succession of technologies or developing younger IT engineers.

Future plan

IPSJ plans to start implementing the system step by step after the next fiscal year. Before that, IPSJ will have a trial with the cooperation of some companies. Toshiba Corporation, Hitachi Ltd., Fujitsu Ltd., Mitsubishi Electric Corporation, NEC Corporation, Nippon Telegraph and Telephone Corporation or their subsidiaries will plan to join the trial of the direct method.
Future schedule is:
FY 2013: Trial of direct method
FY 2014: Implementing the direct method from ITSS level four, and trial of the indirect method
FY 2015: Start implementing the indirect method


IFIP:International Federation for Information Processing
IP3:International Professional Practice Partnership
CPD:Continuing Professional Development

Press Contacts

Information Processing Society of Japan
Kagaku Kaikan 4F, 1-5 Surugadai, Kanda, Chiyoda-ku, Tokyo, Japan
Tel: 03-3518-8372
Email: sig<AT>ipsj.or.jp
URL: http://www.ipsj.or.jp/english/index.html