Becoming a registered professional

I joined CIPS when I was in university and have since been a candidate for the Information Systems Professional (ISP) designation. Having gained two years of industry experience since university, I’m now able to apply for the full ISP designation. Which means I will be able to sign my e-mails with “Brad Touesnard, ISP.” Not that I will.

I consider myself a professional. I believe I conduct my work as professional should. Who are professionals? And what does it really mean to be a professional?

Just think of the word “professional”…for me, a few stereotypical images come to mind. Suits, ties, briefcases, good hygiene, good manners, and definitely no tattoos or piercings. But that’s such bullshit. Somehow these images are tied to professionalism in my head, but they really have no bearing on professionalism whatsoever. Take this for example.

Kenneth LayChica

The joly old suit on the left is actually Kenneth Lay. You know, the founder of Enron? The greasy guy on the right is Chica. Founder of Chica Custom Cycles, one of the most successful chopper builders in the world, and as far as I know, not into insider trading. Who struck you as the professional?

I believe a professional is someone who adheres to a code of ethics and standards, and is in-tune and stays current with their industry.

Medical Doctors (MD) are professionals when they read journals to make sure they don’t mix the wrong medications; Professional Engineers (P. Eng) are professionals when they choose the correct materials to build structures that don’t collapse when super-heated in a fire; and Information Systems Professionals are professionals when they implement testing procedures to work out all bugs for flight control software that prevents midair collisions.

I’m a professional when I develop a web site that carefully handles your personal information, keeping it safe from predators who would use it to masquerade as you and buy child pornography in your name. Professionalism is important.