This morning I was listening to one of the older shows on ARCast entitled IASA with Paul Preiss, which talks about the International Association for Software Architects. As Paul is keen to point out this association is FREE to join and yet seeks to represent achritects around the globe, building a community through which all members can be involved and learn. This is the style of professional association that is really leading the way as it recognises that in order to distinguish the good architects from the bad it needs to have them all contributing. Unlike the Australian Computer Society, which has strict (and yet difficult to define) requirements for entry, the IASA encourages anyone interested in architecture to join.
Operationally IASA is supported via vendor sponsorship. However they have a unique mechanism for really putting this association to good use. Instead of the vendor just supplying money to IASA, the vendor must be actively involved with the association. Paul explains this in more detail in the ARCast show.
I think that the ACS has to rationalise its operations, revamp its marketing and drastically change the way that it looks at its membership. I’ve already made comments to the effect that the cost of membership is too high ($0 is the ideal of course) but I suspect that the professional memberships requirements are just too exclusive. The whole idea of separating membership from certification is that you can have one without the other. Why can’t someone with an interest in computing be a member of the ACS? The distinction should really be around whether the ACS recognises that individual as having and maintaining a high standard of expertise/knowledge (the whole purpose of the CP Program). Perhaps this appears that I have changed my tune; well you might be right. I have been doing some thinking and having some lengthy discussions with various colleagues over the benefits of being an ACS member and I have become somewhat disenfranchised with the current bureaucracy that is involved with the organisation.