Collecting postnominals (by )

I've been collecting letters after my name. I reckon this is a noble goal; I hope that one day software development will be regulated by strict codes of conduct, like other skilled professions upon which lives and careers rest. Also, I think it's important that the IT profession have a voice of its own in politics, as opposed to the sometimes all too loud voice of IT companies.

Anyway. It all began when my degree earned me associateship of the City and Guilds of London institute.

However, all this seems to entitle me to is the postnominals "ACGI" - unlike the professional bodies I joined later, it doesn't seem to have any other benefits. Then again, they're not asking for an annual membership fee, and compared to the others it's a truly ancient institution, being based around engineering in general rather than software or electrical engineering.

Noticing that having "ACGI" after my name clearly made me highly attractive to the opposite sex, I decided I'd see if I could join any others.

After a few year's of work experience, in which I tackled some pretty interesting projects, I became a full member of the Institution of Analysists and Programmers, thus adding "MIAP" to the mix. I like the IAP; they're very helpful and friendly. They encourate networking, putting members in touch with each other, publishing a directory of members who are available to do freelance work, that sort of thing.

The next step has been joining the British Computer Society, thus adding "MBCS", too. These folks seem a lot more widely recognised than the IAP, and are involved in things like helping the ISO set IT standards. I'm hoping to get involved on their forums; I think the world will be a better place with more teamwork in the computer industry. However, they're a bit less personal than the IAP, and they cover a broader field, so I'm glad to have both.

The next step with the BCS will be to apply for Chartered IT Professional status - the IT world's equivelant of being a chartered engineer. This will involve some probing interviews and background checks, so I will leave it until I'm a little less stressed.

I wonder what to join next after sorting that out... IEE, IEEE (famed for their standardisation work), or ACM (famed for their meetings and SIGs)?

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