Sorry for the non-security related rant. I recently recieved my renewal reminder for the BCS, I’ve been increasingly disappointed with the ‘advantages’ of being a member. Whilst I don’t like not being a member of a professional body for my craft, I simply cannot justify the cost any longer. I don’t like being negative but my response to a question on the exit survey says it all:
What, if anything, do you feel BCS could be doing to better serve it’s members?
Primarily: Better regional events. Most (all?) events are located in London, making events infeasible for members in other regions of the country. When I joined as a member there were several good events, covering a wide range of topics, held by my local groups. My local branch (Newcastle) has not ran a decent event in excess of 12months and currently do not have ANY events organised for the future (using newcastle.bcs.org as a source and point of contact).
Alternative groups in the area (SuperMondays, CloudCamp NE, among others) are free of charge and provide significantly better events, networking opportunites and information than BCS alternatives. Taking the geographical location out of the equation, the quality of discussion on the BCS’s online forums is limited, infrequent and in most cases superfical. It seems most members do not view the forums as a good source for information or discussion.
The last event I attended was finished off with a presentation and Q&A session by Rachael Burnett, at the time president of the BCS. For the head of the organisation Rachael appeared out of touch with the real-world industry, this is a situation that I’ve seen mirrored in the organisation as a whole in my experience.
When starting my career, the information provided by the newsletters, email announcements, etc. from the BCS were valuable. Lately however, the articles have been dated, with me already recieving the information from another source in some cases weeks before the BCS version. As a result the BCS emails now recieve little more than a cursory glance before being deleted.
I’m aware that there is work in progress to provide a local branch of the YPG in my region. Whilst I sincerely hope this is successful I do not have high hopes for it’s success and after several years paying membership with seeing any real benefit this move is too little too late for me.
There is a hugely active and skilled computing profession in the North East of England, but the BCS seems to completely ignore the region and fails (from my experience) to provide any benefit to the region or the region’s members; either that or the BCS is equally out of touch and poorly serving the UK’s IT community as a whole.
— Andrew Waite