Beta
×

Welcome to the Slashdot Beta site -- learn more here. Use the link in the footer or click here to return to the Classic version of Slashdot.

Thank you!

Before you choose to head back to the Classic look of the site, we'd appreciate it if you share your thoughts on the Beta; your feedback is what drives our ongoing development.

Beta is different and we value you taking the time to try it out. Please take a look at the changes we've made in Beta and  learn more about it. Thanks for reading, and for making the site better!

British Computer Society Is Officially At Civil War

kdawson posted more than 4 years ago | from the band-of-brothers-with-maces dept.

United Kingdom 275

An anonymous reader writes "A vote of no confidence against the current board of directors has erupted in what is possibly the first nerd war, raging throughout the British Computer Society. More financial- and spreadsheet-related fixations and less computer science have made a few members cross; plus they don't like the new name 'The Chartered Institute of IT.' Here are more specific details on the extraordinary emergency general meeting on July 1, where members will vote to decide the fate of the board of directors."

cancel ×

275 comments

Sorry! There are no comments related to the filter you selected.

Civil war? (5, Funny)

gzipped_tar (1151931) | more than 4 years ago | (#32507742)

At first I thought it was about British Computer Society declaring war against the UK government.

Meh. nothingtoseeheremovealong

Re:Civil war? (5, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32507804)

This is not just a couple of nerds throwing a fit. It is an important professional organization and whose interest it should server. More information: here [computerworlduk.com] . The question is whether or not the organization should represent practicing IT professionals or management.

Re:Civil war? (2, Informative)

Captain Hook (923766) | more than 4 years ago | (#32507846)

It wants to be an important professional organization, but I hardly know anyone who actually is a member or employers who ask for accredited training courses from them.

Re:Civil war? (3, Interesting)

jimicus (737525) | more than 4 years ago | (#32508330)

Seconded.

I was a member for a while, I cancelled the membership when I figured I was paying £80/year for the privilege of putting MBCS after my name and... er... that was about it.

The only way I can see it being important is if the computing industry ever reaches the point where there's a real benefit in being able to call yourself a "Chartered IT Professional" or somesuch (much as you can be a Chartered Engineer, Chartered Accountant or Chartered Surveyor and if you are, you're legally allowed to do some things you wouldn't otherwise be able to).

Re:Civil war? (1)

Captain Hook (923766) | more than 4 years ago | (#32508392)

yeah, lets face it, with all the off-shoring that goes on, the idea of increasing your income by being better trained in any given field of IT has been shown to not work. Management don't want the best trained, they want the cheapest who can do the job.

Maybe Safety Critical applications should be restricted to 'Chartered' status employees, that would provide a reason for the BCS to exist and provide a benefit to being a member.

Until then, they are nothing more than a University Alumni type of organisation. Networking and conferences which although might be interesting aren't actually useful to the members.

Re:Civil war? (4, Insightful)

Lumpy (12016) | more than 4 years ago | (#32508564)

It will never happen. Corporations DESPERATELY do not want IT to rise back to a "skilled" level where they have to pay premium wages for it again. They want IT to be the next Factory job where you get low wages and bad hours...

Requirements = higher pay rates. And companies dont want that. They want IT people they can hire for $10-$13 an hour USD and keep them cheap. They dont want to hire a guy that is highly skilled and educated for $23.00 an hour and higher... Because he is hard to replace, while the MCSE kid that will take a paltry $11.00 an hour and think he hit he jackpot is very easy to replace.

This is why you dont see companies demanding certifications and education levels... Because they will be forced to double pay rates. and they do not want to do that.

Re:Civil war? (1)

Skater (41976) | more than 4 years ago | (#32508434)

What is with people typing "server" instead of "serve" lately?

Re:Civil war? (3, Funny)

MadKeithV (102058) | more than 4 years ago | (#32508684)

Perhaps the server served a severe swerve with verve.

Re:Civil war? (1)

martin-boundary (547041) | more than 4 years ago | (#32507898)

They're British. The war is implied, but they're being civil for appearances.

Pretty soon someone will call out Mornington Crescent :)

Re:Civil war? (2, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32507946)

I'm sorry, I don't have a clue what you are talking about!

-Samantha

Re:Civil war? (1)

johanw (1001493) | more than 4 years ago | (#32508500)

Being civil because thei're Brittish? That must be the reason every mainland country in Europe associates "Brittish soccer fans" with the worst kind of hooligans?

Re:Civil war? (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Brave Guy (457657) | more than 4 years ago | (#32508642)

That must be the reason every mainland country in Europe associates "Brittish soccer fans" with the worst kind of hooligans?

Sure, and the French go around with stripey T-shirts and wearing necklaces made of onion, while the Germans live on a diet of beer and 15 different kinds of sausage.

Or maybe decades-old stereotypes that apply to a tiny fraction of the population aren't very helpful.

Re:Civil war? (1)

Stooshie (993666) | more than 4 years ago | (#32508512)

Oxford Street!

Re:Civil war? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32508022)

Hmm .. I thought the same. Weird. Better clock this as an AC else I get compared to parent.

Re:Civil war? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32508660)

Actually it's long past time that people who participate in computer science organizations take them back from the incredibly shortsighted resource allocation fanatical religionists (managers) who have misunderstood that resource allocation issues are tools not gods. The pursuit of computer science is it's own goal and own justification (as well as the secondary justification that it can help society).

I was asked to join this .. (1)

Idimmu Xul (204345) | more than 4 years ago | (#32507746)

When I finished my BSc and MSc we were given application forms and things to join the BCS but I didn't see the point. What benefits does it have?

Re:I was asked to join this .. (4, Interesting)

beelsebob (529313) | more than 4 years ago | (#32507766)

Basically, you can attain levels of experience that you can then use to demonstrate to potential new employers that you have experience, and skills used in industry. Unfortunately, it's all very management biased, and anti actually doing any computing biased. For example, IIRC, the various programming skills start at level 1 qualifications max out at level 6, while management skills start at level 5 and max out at level 10.

Re:I was asked to join this .. (1)

Securityemo (1407943) | more than 4 years ago | (#32507830)

And what exactly does this crude grading system represent? If it's across-the-board for IT personell, the test would either be toothless or unfeasible due to sheer scope.

Re:I was asked to join this .. (2, Informative)

beelsebob (529313) | more than 4 years ago | (#32507858)

It represents bragging rights when applying for new jobs –a CV with "I have BCS level 9 qualifications" on it helps at some companies.

Re:I was asked to join this .. (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32508082)

You mean the same way saying you're a level 70 Mage in world of warcraft is?

I've been in IT in the UK for 20 years, I've never joined the BCS, never seen the point of it, and I've never been asked if I was a member by any interviewer or job agency.

I got the impression it's more like a social club for people looking for other techies to go for a drink with.

Re:I was asked to join this .. (1)

jimicus (737525) | more than 4 years ago | (#32508340)

You mean the same way saying you're a level 70 Mage in world of warcraft is?

That's a pretty good description.

I got the impression it's more like a social club for people looking for other techies to go for a drink with.

It's not even very good for that - I was a member for a while and the locations they chose for meetings were invariably out-of-town hotels and conference centres you'd need to drive to.

Re:I was asked to join this .. (3, Funny)

Arancaytar (966377) | more than 4 years ago | (#32507890)

... so you have to double-class to manager to join?

(All this stuff about skill levels sounds funny. :P )

You get experience at uni and in jobs (1)

Viol8 (599362) | more than 4 years ago | (#32508042)

"Basically, you can attain levels of experience that you can then use to demonstrate to potential new employers that you have experience,"

If people already have a computer science degree how are some noddy certificates from a self important club going to help? Potential new employers will be a lot more impressed if you have a first or 5 years doing hard core development at a blue chip.

Re:I was asked to join this .. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32508096)

NO the max is 80 right now. It will change to 85 later this year.

Re:I was asked to join this .. (1)

AtomicJake (795218) | more than 4 years ago | (#32508150)

Basically, you can attain levels of experience that you can then use to demonstrate to potential new employers that you have experience, and skills used in industry.

Cool. Like getting modded up at /. Can I trade in my Karma?

Re:I was asked to join this .. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32508620)

You can't trade Karma, but I understand that some levels of the organization accept British Airways mileage plan points. You might even find one or two folks that would accept XBox Live MS dollars.

Re:I was asked to join this .. (2, Insightful)

Another, completely (812244) | more than 4 years ago | (#32508486)

the various programming skills start at level 1 qualifications max out at level 6, while management skills start at level 5 and max out at level 10.

Call me an out-of-place mathematician, but what's the difference between a scale from 5 - 10 and a scale from 1 - 6? They both have six levels. The fact that they re-use known symbols (sequential Arabic digits) to name those levels is just convenience. Numbering management with a minimum qualification level of 5 is consistent with standard assumptions about managers (that they don't know what a baseline is), so maybe the numbering system is really a subtle joke?

Re:I was asked to join this .. (3, Informative)

GIL_Dude (850471) | more than 4 years ago | (#32508626)

I agree with that, but I would point out that they probably try to represent this to folks outside their organization as being one scale instead of separate programmer and manager scale. Which would tend to show a manager at level 7 as more experienced than a programmer at level 6.

Re:I was asked to join this .. (1)

beelsebob (529313) | more than 4 years ago | (#32508676)

Nothing particularly, except that most people *aren't* mathematicians. Most people see "ah, I see you're a level 6 manager, you must be as experienced, and wonderful as this level 6 programmer", despite the programmer having to have 20 years experience and done crazy amount of testing, and the manager basically being a basic line manager.

Re:I was asked to join this .. (1)

IBBoard (1128019) | more than 4 years ago | (#32508688)

The difference is that Level 1 is "newbie with no experience and easy to achieve" where as level 5 is "experienced professional requiring a reasonable amount of evidence".

I had to use the levels when I did an "Industrial Experience" year and found that even moderate programming experience shot you up to about level 3 without much effort. The problem was that I was supposed to show development, but level 4 required more specialist things that not everyone does.

Re:I was asked to join this .. (3, Informative)

malkavian (9512) | more than 4 years ago | (#32507778)

Under the "old way", the benefits were lots of lectures that you got to go to on various subjects, plus the chance to network with other professionals. Useful stuff really; some of those lectures were great.

Under the 'new way', they've altered the way the "chartered" membership works; as it was in the old days, you could become a chartered IT professional without having to prove anything other than you'd stayed in the IT sector for 5 years. Now there are a series of exams to pass and frequent re-evaluation to maintain it (more in line with chartered engineer status from the engineering professions).

Really, I think a lot of the new changes are to make the BCS more relevant to what commerce wants to know, rather than being a comp sci enclave. The thrust has changed direction, though this isn't necessarily a bad thing.

Re:I was asked to join this .. (1)

orbitalia (470425) | more than 4 years ago | (#32507780)

you get some letters after your name...

Re:I was asked to join this .. (1)

oiron (697563) | more than 4 years ago | (#32507816)

Quite a few, it seems...

Rajan Anketell DIC CEng CSci FBCS CITP FIBC CMC FORS MIET FRSA

That's quite a collection you have there, Mr. Anketell...

I think (1)

maroberts (15852) | more than 4 years ago | (#32507922)

only the CEng (Chartered Engineer) and FBCS (Fellow of the BCS) are the fault of the British Computing Society.

I'm not sure what a DIC is (in a non-sexual way, of course)

Re:I think (1)

AHuxley (892839) | more than 4 years ago | (#32508024)

DIC could be Diploma of Imperial College

Re:I think (1)

hedwards (940851) | more than 4 years ago | (#32508582)

You know, that alone would be worth 80 quid a year.

Re:I was asked to join this .. (2, Informative)

PeterBrett (780946) | more than 4 years ago | (#32507972)

  • CEng: Chartered Engineer (awarded by a chartered engineering body, probably the IET in this case)
  • CSci: Chartered Scientist (awarded by a chartered scientific body; it isn't clear which)
  • FBCS: Fellow of the British Computing Society
  • CITP: Chartered IT Professional (awarded by the BCS)
  • CMC: Certified Management Consultant (haven't heard of this one before)
  • FORS: ????
  • MIET: Member of the Institute of Engineering and Technology (so am I!)
  • FRSA: Fellow of the Royal Society for the encouragement of Arts, Manufactures and Commerce.

Re:I was asked to join this .. (2, Informative)

AHuxley (892839) | more than 4 years ago | (#32508016)

FORS could be Fellow of the Operational Research Society

Re:I was asked to join this .. (1)

digitig (1056110) | more than 4 years ago | (#32508176)

  • CEng: Chartered Engineer (awarded by a chartered engineering body, probably the IET in this case)

More likely awarded by the BCS, since he's a Fellow of the BCS and only a Member of the IET. It's impossible to tell, though. If he were a Fellow of both or a Member of both then he should put the awarding membership first, but I think the rule about listing Fellowships before Memberships overrides that rule.

"First nerd war"? (1)

Gaxx (76064) | more than 4 years ago | (#32507768)

Not the first and not the last but maybe it will prop up companies selling rubber-band launchers....

Re:"First nerd war"? (1)

Daniel Dvorkin (106857) | more than 4 years ago | (#32507842)

Is there ever a time when nerds aren't at war?

Re:"First nerd war"? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32508004)

When they're taking their revenge [imdb.com] .

Re:"First nerd war"? (3, Funny)

forkazoo (138186) | more than 4 years ago | (#32508250)

Is there ever a time when nerds aren't at war?

There will be. Just as soon as the damned EMACS is burned off the face of this world, we can finally have peace. Until then, the corpses will just keep getting stacked up.

the BCS... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32507770)

I'm not surprised they're having internal issues, despite some of my uni tutors being so pro-BCS you'd think they were on commission, none of them have been able to give me a single valid reason why I should actually pay the joining fee, what it would actually gain for me.

When things are not simply a charity, I'm sure your supposed to receive something in return for an outlay.

Brilliant! (5, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32507776)

I had to meet with a bunch of BCS reps when my course was re-accredited, and the experience matches up with what the summary says. They were obsessing over whether the mathematics of CS were too difficult and all kinds of bogus concerns

I think their problem is that higher level courses are (inherently) not an "everyone's invited" thing. Because not everyone will succeed. And that's how it should be. They're difficult if they're done right, because they include a lot hard-line theory behind the soft 'Let's do Java' exterior. The BCS just can't seem to accept this though. They want to pervert the courses to make them easier, basically

More people on courses = more power to them? Or maybe they get extra money for getting a certain % of the population onto courses? I have no idea of their motives but whatever they are, they're going about them the wrong way

Re:BCS (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32508134)

Wake me up when FBS declares a civil war against the BCS and forces a playoff system to crown the college football national champion.

Oh wait. Wrong BCS. /stupidamerican

Re:Brilliant! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32508148)

you dont need calculus for normal everyday business programming. if you feel you need to be elite, go join the guys in the pride parade.

Re:Brilliant! (1)

digitig (1056110) | more than 4 years ago | (#32508246)

You don't need a CS degree for normal everyday business programming either.

Re:Brilliant! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32508672)

Maybe not, but you need various advanced mathematical skills to do supply-chain optimisation. You might also find image analysis to be a popular subject in the real world, and getting your algorithm to complete in reasonable time will often need some mathematical background. Some people really do use mathematics professionally, and many of those people think of themselves as computer scientists. If they want to improve those skills, it doesn't make them elitist to hope that their professional society (by computer people for computer people) should have some course recommendations.

Re:Brilliant! (3, Insightful)

CrashandDie (1114135) | more than 4 years ago | (#32508196)

I did a quick course after the equivalent of high school. Mostly because I was bored, and my buddies were going that route.

I'm one of those guys who's not particularly bad at math, but just sucks at the way it's being taught in school. Anyway, this is a course mostly directed towards students who completed electronics and electrotechnics degrees. Those degrees are aimed at people who have a "scientific" mind, but didn't score well enough in math and science in the previous years. Something for everyone, right?

The first day of that degree, our math teacher informed us that most of us were going to fail math. Not because we were bad or stupid, not because we'd be smoking drugs and getting wasted every weekend, but quite simply because the stuff he'd be required by law to teach us was way out of our league, and that he expected almost half the class to be dumped by the end of the first semester.

What he aimed for, was not for most of us to ace, he would be trying to get us to not fail too badly. Out of 24 students who started the course, 10 dropped out by the end of the first year, partly because they didn't like CS, but mostly because they were completely drowned in math and physics. Out of 10 students who got to the final exams in the end, 2 or 3 passed Math.

The problem is that (in France), what the teacher has to teach the students is decided by some fat guys in suits who haven't seen nor remember what a student looks like for the past 20-30 years. They are stuck, getting insane requests from the industry, about 10 years too late, and trying to work out what might help. By the time the new stuff reaches the teachers and students, 15 or 20 years have passed. What you end up with are continuously deprecated degrees, where students come out, filled with hope and joy based on the lies their schools and teachers told them for the past few years, and are hit in the face during their first job interviews (if they ever get one) where they realise that nothing they've learned will be useful.

Now, I got my degree, and most of friends did as well (only 1 didn't get it, as I recall, so 10%), but seriously, what's the point of giving uber-hard math, where kids just drop off and don't give a shit anymore, and doesn't stop them from getting their diploma in the end anyway? I went to maybe 3 math classes in my last year, and still got my diploma with flying colours. It's not about making it easier, it's about making it useful.

Re:Brilliant! (4, Insightful)

Spad (470073) | more than 4 years ago | (#32508316)

It's the misunderstanding de jour, at least in the UK, that the ideal situation is for everyone to be getting top marks in every exam they take - mostly due to bloody school league tables and the "everyone must go to uni" mentality. This does of course defeat the entire point of exams, which is to differentiate people based on their level of ability in a given field, to the extent that some universities are finding that *every* applicant for certain courses have 5 A's at A-Level and so deciding who to take is often a crap shoot. The (previous) government's brilliant solution to this issue? Add an A* grade at A-Level and carry on as normal.

Re:Brilliant! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32508332)

I have a good quality, first class CS degree from a good quality, BCS-accredited course. I didn't scrape by, either.

At a BCS-associated employment post later I found was not eligible for automatic BCS accreditation from my degree because I failed one module in my first year (a teamwork-based module that was negligible in the overall scoring of my degree).

The BCS, struggling for members at that time, was inflexible, and their only solution was for me to return to university to retake a first year module.

I laughed and thanked them for the suggestion.

Nerd war, huh? (1)

Darkon (206829) | more than 4 years ago | (#32507782)

Choose your weapons! [thinkgeek.com]

Re:Nerd war, huh? (1)

polle404 (727386) | more than 4 years ago | (#32507826)

Nerd rage, like no other...

Re:Nerd war, huh? (1)

AndGodSed (968378) | more than 4 years ago | (#32507920)

No Klingon warsword?

Re:Nerd war, huh? (1)

biryokumaru (822262) | more than 4 years ago | (#32508568)

Is that anything like a bat'leth?

Nothing beats a good CV (resume) (4, Interesting)

niks42 (768188) | more than 4 years ago | (#32507800)

Having membership of the BCS gives you nothing when it comes to getting a job. A CV glowing with past achievements; actually doing things, delivering things and demonstrating that you have the cuts and weals from real-world engagements is worth much more than being a fellow of a society. I'd have to explain to potential employers who the BCS are and what they do.

Re:Nothing beats a good CV (resume) (1)

yakumo.unr (833476) | more than 4 years ago | (#32507866)

Aside from when a friend of mine was flat out told he got the job because from a bunch of otherwise pretty much identical candidates, he was a member of the BCS, and none of the others were.

Other than that I've been struggling to see why I should join myself.

Re:Nothing beats a good CV (resume) (1)

digitig (1056110) | more than 4 years ago | (#32508192)

And I wouldn't have my job if I were not a member of the BCS. I think the English speaking world has a problem with the distinction between technicians and engineers. The BCS is an engineering institution, and is relevant to jobs in IT engineering, but most IT jobs are technician jobs.

Re:Nothing beats a good CV (resume) (1)

augustw (785088) | more than 4 years ago | (#32508262)

Personally, as a compiler writer, I've found my higher degrees in CS much more useful than the BCS membership which I had, but gave up as a useless expense about 15 years ago. I've certainly never, in 25 years, employed, recommended, or preferred, someone on the grounds that they are MBCS, or CITP. Both are about as useful indicators of ability and knowledge as CCNE or MSCE.

Ironically, MBCS would probably be more "useful" to me now that I've given up CS, and am retraining as a lawyer!

Re:Nothing beats a good CV (resume) (1)

niks42 (768188) | more than 4 years ago | (#32508234)

An exception that proves the rule ;-)

Having applied for over 200 jobs in the last 18 months, been turned down for the other guy because they had slightly more experience of Government Security standards, or were slightly younger, or had more sexual appeal to the (non-technical) Technical Director, landed a great job with a CV that just demonstrated experience, and the cuts and bruises of encounters with hostile customers, a willingness to be flexible, and the wisdom to know when not to be. Cut out all of the technical stuff, except the statement that ! was a pro-Unix and Open Source, and anti-MS Bigot.

Result!

Re:Nothing beats a good CV (resume) (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32508478)

Holy fuck, dude! If your resume read anything like your post, age and attraction had nothing to do with being passed over...

Well then..... (1)

csueiras (1461139) | more than 4 years ago | (#32507852)

KAPLAAAR!!!!!!

Slow.. (4, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32507854)

I think the no confidence voters have been a bit slow to get their message out, the BCS has already sent out shiny information packs explaining why you should vote for them (I abstained due to this information shortage). I voted no about scrapping the rule of 50 members for a vote of no confidence though, seems like a nice democratic safeguard to me.

Definitely the BCS has been dumbed down successively over the past 16 years I have been a full member, I suspect that this is because they basically want more members so lower the entry bar, in order to get the membership funds in their coffers. I definitely did not like the CITP membership level, it is the British COMPUTER socienty, that should cover anything in the field of computing and not just information technology.

Anyway, I think a rocket up the ass like this is good for any organisation so we will see what comes out of it.

Re:Slow.. (1)

MichaelSmith (789609) | more than 4 years ago | (#32507906)

I recall that many years ago the Australian Computer Society ditched the IT mob, so that you had to be a computer scientist to get in. I was a "member" when I was a student, because it was free for me.

Re:Slow.. (1)

digitig (1056110) | more than 4 years ago | (#32508290)

I think the no confidence voters have been a bit slow to get their message out, the BCS has already sent out shiny information packs explaining why you should vote for them (I abstained due to this information shortage). I voted no about scrapping the rule of 50 members for a vote of no confidence though, seems like a nice democratic safeguard to me.

Yes, presumably the BCS (ie, our) resources are being used to put out the material opposing the original motion, whereas those who called the EGM probably don't have the resources for a publicity campaign. The key issue seems to be one of financial transparency, with suspicion of irregularities [wikispaces.com] .

Oh come on (3, Funny)

antifoidulus (807088) | more than 4 years ago | (#32507918)

It's not a real nerd war until someone gets hit in the head with a plastic light saber!

Re:Oh come on (2, Funny)

L4t3r4lu5 (1216702) | more than 4 years ago | (#32508612)

What? I thought it would have been with a LIGHTNING BOLT! LIGHTNING BOLT! LIGHTNING BOLT!

Either that, or a Nerf projectile.

I can see why (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32507928)

After all.. computer science has some semblance of respectability, whereas IT is *applied* computing to the whim of neurotic, dimwit office workers.

Nobody, even IT types, likes the term IT. People who actually make computers work instead of scripting an install or two? Even less so!

Could you imagine an electronic engineering guild being renamed to 'the electricians club'?

The BCS is an irrelevance (4, Interesting)

Viol8 (599362) | more than 4 years ago | (#32508026)

Its a society run by and for people who cut their teeth on 1950s and 60s mainframes. Nothing wrong with that, but people seem to assume it has any relevance or authority today. It doesn't. No one I know in IT belongs to it or is even the slightest bit interested in it. Its the computing equivalent of a historic car club with similar types of people as members.

Re:The BCS is an irrelevance (1)

Tim C (15259) | more than 4 years ago | (#32508266)

I belong to it, but only because my employer pays the membership fee. For that, I get a monthly glossy magazine that I sometimes flick through, invitations to lectures, events, etc that I never attend, and the ability to put "MBCS" after my name - not that I ever would. (I don't put my real qualifications after my name, why would I put that there?)

Re: Student furniture (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32508536)

I shared a student flat in Manchester with a bunch of fellow geeks in the early 80s.
We used the piles of unread BCS glossy newspapers as furniture.
(Too shiny for bathroom use.)

Re:The BCS is an irrelevance (1)

biryokumaru (822262) | more than 4 years ago | (#32508590)

For that, I get a monthly glossy magazine that I sometimes flick through, invitations to lectures, events, etc that I never attend...

Okay, I get it now, it's just like IEEE!

Re:The BCS is an irrelevance (3, Funny)

Rogerborg (306625) | more than 4 years ago | (#32508268)

I've always viewed it as a cabal of ancient gummy git-wizards, with a three foot beard and lifetime membership of the Campaign for Real Ale [camra.org.uk] being pre-requisites for membership.

As far as I can see it, the current Grand High Git-Wizard rescued the BCS from total irrelevance, and is actually in danger of making it an organisation with a purpose. This angers the other git-wizards, who want to get back to the real business of the BCS: finally concluding the debate over whether the PDP-11 was a retrograde step from the PDP-8.

Re:The BCS is an irrelevance (1)

Viol8 (599362) | more than 4 years ago | (#32508310)

Spot on. You'd get +1 funny from me if I had any points :)

Re:The BCS is an irrelevance (1)

niks42 (768188) | more than 4 years ago | (#32508314)

Hah! you're so right .. like the MG Owners Club trying to tell Toyota how to design the next-gen Prius .. oh, wait ..

Re:The BCS is an irrelevance (1)

Alioth (221270) | more than 4 years ago | (#32508362)

Is it? I'm not a member (it seems too much "IT and management" and not enough "computing") but I do go to their talks reasonably often (and indeed have been a speaker). Most of the talks are about things that are of interest for today and the future. I've not seen any evidence at least in our local group of "historic car club" type attitude.

As I said, the reason I'm not a member is that it has an overwhelmingly business IT focus, and I'm not really interested in joining an organization focused on business matters, but it's still worth it for me to go to their overwhelmingly business related IT talks because it's given me useful practical information in that respect.

Bad choice of words (2, Insightful)

houghi (78078) | more than 4 years ago | (#32508028)

Officially at war would mean a deceleration of war. Even though the intend to use deadly weapons is not needed, it is to be expected. I doubt that that is the case, even without reading the articles.

After reading them, it is clear that is is a bad use of the word war. In the linked article one talks about "a row" and the other talks about "concerns". Now I understand that the British are very good and underplaying, but calling a war a row or a concerns is even to cool for them.

Even the fake war on drugs, terrorism and piracy is more of a war then this.

Sure it is a headline catcher. But if people are not willing to read it if it isn't, you should not make it louder, you should consider not posting it at all. This is not (yet) Foxnews.

Re:Bad choice of words (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32508064)

A vote of no confidence is a pretty nasty offensive weapon.

Re:Bad choice of words (4, Funny)

SimonInOz (579741) | more than 4 years ago | (#32508252)

>> Officially at war would mean a deceleration of war.

Slowing down of war - I like the sound of that.

The first Nerd War?!?! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32508060)

Clearly the first and greatest of nerd wars was Vi vs Emacs.

Nerds.. respect your history.

They're an elitist waste of space (4, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32508092)

When they introduced the Chartered status they automatically upgraded every member. Then the set the boundaries at a certain number of years experience, plus qualifications. Then they changed it to a framework whereby you had to have managed a certain number of people, and had a certain size budget. Then they changed it so that you had to have complete strategic accountability in a significant organisation. They're completely alienating a significant proportion of their members, who are technical professionals, not guys in boardrooms.

Typical bureaucratic garbage (3, Insightful)

DNS-and-BIND (461968) | more than 4 years ago | (#32508194)

Here's how it goes: Somebody has a great idea to form an association of some sort. Then, the idea of the actual association gets lost. Why? Narcissistic empathy-lacking morons are attracted to it because they can control the apparatus instead of deliver actual services. Then, the people who started the service get angry and fight back, and we get the situation we have here. Usually, the good guys lose and are forced to start their own splinter group. The new group never gets as big as the original because the original group has all the clout and relationships.

I know a local "chamber of commerce" type organization. They spend all their time in committee meetings, electing general secretaries, and deciding who gets what title than actually promoting local business. Their association is a joke - it's obvious to everyone but them. To themselves, they're king ding-a-ling and they strut around like they're important people.

Re:Typical bureaucratic garbage (2, Insightful)

arethuza (737069) | more than 4 years ago | (#32508624)

I seem to remember at least one society at University (I think it was the Economics Society or similar) that only existed so that the members could take turns holding various posts so they could put it on their CVs. I don't think they ever did anything other than hold meetings to decide who was going to do what for the next month.

Bad Summary (2, Insightful)

dcollins (135727) | more than 4 years ago | (#32508214)

"More financial- and spreadsheet-related fixations and less computer science have made a few members cross"

I've read all the links provided, I don't see anyone referring to this whatsoever. All of the discussion centers on whether BCS remains a member-driven professional group and charity, or a top-down corporately-structured business. To quote the second link in its big-font and boldface summary:

Among the active members of the BCS, there are many dissatisfactions with how the Society is run; but when it comes specifically to why this EGM has been called, it all boils down to the issues of governance and probity. [http://bcsreform.wikispaces.com/Message+re+EGM+call]

Re:Bad Summary (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32508364)

Yeah but he's not wrong. Look at their quiz to see if you fit the bill for chartered IT professional. It doesn't matter how many highly succesful software projects you've run for example, if you weren't directly in charge of a budget or managing a set number of people or whatever you're not eligible.

The BCS is nothing to do with computing, and everything to do with those IT middle manager types who need something to add to their list of acronyms on their CV in an attempt to cover up their lack of real, actual, achievements.

If you compare it to an organisation like the IMA you can see the stark difference, the IMA focusses on those who actually practice math rather than those who manage those who practice math but don't actually do any themselves.

Re:Bad Summary (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32508432)

The signatories don't like how the money is being spent, don't like the new name and don't like how the society is being drawn away from its original purpose.

BCS officially support software patents (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32508216)

Enough said really - they support software engineering as a business model, not as a professional discipline - hence they do not reflect my interests as a software engineer. That's why I laughed and refused to pay the 150ukp annual fee.

British icon (1)

MichaelSmith (789609) | more than 4 years ago | (#32508226)

Maybe we should have an icon for articles about Australia as well. I am not sure what though. I don't think a picture of a Sydney bus would convey the right impression. So whats our icon? A can of beer? A kangaroo diving head first through a windscreen?

Re:British icon (1)

Ash-Fox (726320) | more than 4 years ago | (#32508346)

Maybe we should have an icon for articles about Australia as well. I am not sure what though. I don't think a picture of a Sydney bus would convey the right impression. So whats our icon? A can of beer? A kangaroo diving head first through a windscreen?

The icon should be a cap, symbolizing how Australia is well known for it's bandwidth caps.

I had the similar concerns with the I.E.T. (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32508304)

The final straw was when I realized that they were hand in glove with Microsoft (they call MS a "Business Partner"). I resigned.

As an outsider, the "war" seams lost (1)

jabjoe (1042100) | more than 4 years ago | (#32508356)

I'm a drop out. 10 years ago I dropped out of a VR design course to do programming for a living. I have always had mixed feelings that I should have done a CS degree. I say mixed because I have met such varied results. I have met some that have been taught exactly what I wanted to know and had to find for myself, but I have also met hordes that I don't feel know what they should. They can't program anything but C#/Java and I wouldn't trust them to with what they know about compilers, registers, stack and heap, operating systems, etc. Which is basically, NOTHING. Seams to depend what Uni. The trouble seams to be the pressure is to get bums on seats, and the way of doing that is to dumb down. Which seams to be a general trend. But as I said, I'm not unbiased, and could be deluding myself to make myself feel better. ;-)

Re:As an outsider, the "war" seams lost (1, Interesting)

ledow (319597) | more than 4 years ago | (#32508448)

Most uni courses are an absolute waste of time. Anything real/interesting is saved until the MSc / PhD years, at least in the UK. By then, if you *don't* know your stuff, you're dead in the water anyway. Learning is 99.9% to do with user motivation... if someone doesn't want to learn, no course in the world can teach them. Other people, though, will absorb knowledge like it's going out of fashion and be far ahead of the class before they even start.

I have a CS degree from a good London university. I can honestly remember two courses that were worth my time (in my opinion) and providing me with useful CS knowledge... Graph Theory and Coding Theory - both technically taught by the mathematics department. The Java programming courses? I never even bothered to attend the lectures or classes, I just emailed my coursework in from home - I'd never programmed in Java before, but I'd been programming in one language or another since I was 8. Some of the MSc students didn't know simple things, though, and ended up dropping out. The Windows/Linux dual-boot computers baffled most people and I was the only one who ever used the Linux side for any non-coursework tasks (in fact, I used it almost exclusively). Some of the people on the pure-CS courses had never programmed a single line of code. Some of them couldn't do binary arithmetic. Others were clueless as to how to even operate a computer for everyday purposes.

That was 10 years ago, when people *didn't* generally have their own machines (or if they did, it probably wasn't a laptop), had to take paper-notes in lectures, etc. - I don't suppose it's got any better since. I used to sit and help final-year and MSc students with their Java projects because I could spot optimisations and problems in their code from a million miles away. To me, it was just something I did for them while I was browsing the web and waiting for a page to load - to them, it was their final-year projects that had taken them all year to get to a compilable / prototype stage.

The only thing a degree proves is that you had the dedication to learn things you didn't necessarily need to learn. It's a recognition of X number of years of hard work, not a certificate of a particular achievement. When you get into the workplace, even the "relevant" skills crop up only once or twice a year, if that, and aren't anything that you couldn't research online nowadays. My degree got me my first job, every subsequent job, and a well-paying, stable career doing what I want (which isn't the usual rat-race) - without it I wouldn't have been considered. But relevant to real-world computing of any kind? Nope. The people who *KNOW* their subject are in a vastly disjoint set to those who *STUDIED* their subject or even those who *WORK* in their subject for a career.

If you weren't taking things apart and programming before you left school (in the UK, that means age 16/18), the chances that you *KNOW* your subject are greatly reduced. A good degree proves nothing about capability except dedication and ability to learn.

The first nerd war? (1)

dangitman (862676) | more than 4 years ago | (#32508400)

A vote of no confidence against the current board of directors has erupted in what is possibly the first nerd war,

Seriously? Nerds have been fighting for centuries, and you think this is the first?

What about the British Boffins (including Alan Turing) versus the Nazi Boffins (some of whom would later work on NASA missions). What about Tesla versus Edison? Plato versus Aristotle? Star Trek nerds versus Star Wars nerds? Amiga nerds versus Atari ST nerds?

Re:The first nerd war? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32508464)

Nazi's were nerds? W D F?

Re:The first nerd war? (1)

Skater (41976) | more than 4 years ago | (#32508474)

I was thinking of the old Fidonet message boards that had three topics banned in the Star Trek forum, because they always devolved into flame wars:

  1. Kirk vs. Picard
  2. Religion in Star Trek
  3. O'Brien's rank

You FAIl git (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32508530)

Zomg it's the end of the world! (2, Insightful)

wye43 (769759) | more than 4 years ago | (#32508550)

It's World War III, no wait ...
It's Civil War, no wait ...
It's only in UK, no wait ...
It's only a society, no wait ...
It's only some nerds, no wait ...


It's nothing.

"cross" (2)

hammarlund (568027) | more than 4 years ago | (#32508606)

You just don't see the word "cross" used very much anymore. It's just the perfect word sometimes.

The first nerdwar? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32508650)

The author clearly has never been in a university....

Load More Comments
Slashdot Login

Need an Account?

Forgot your password?

Submission Text Formatting Tips

We support a small subset of HTML, namely these tags:

  • b
  • i
  • p
  • br
  • a
  • ol
  • ul
  • li
  • dl
  • dt
  • dd
  • em
  • strong
  • tt
  • blockquote
  • div
  • quote
  • ecode

"ecode" can be used for code snippets, for example:

<ecode>    while(1) { do_something(); } </ecode>