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BCS Diploma in IT Study Materials & Resources - Professional Issues in IS

Professional Issues in IS

3.25 PM Wednesday / January 22, 2014

BCS Diploma in IT is the 2nd level of the BCS Higher Educational Pathway. This level is an equivalent to the second year of a UK university degree program. Students that have completed the BCS Certificate in IT can directly advance to this level. Completion of the BCS Diploma in IT enables the students to move forward to BCS Professional Graduate Diploma in IT.


To understand the context – ethical, social, legal, financial and organizational – in which professional Information Systems Engineers work.

Prior Knowledge

Candidates are expected to be familiar with the material covered in the BCS Certificate syllabuses and to have an appreciation of current affairs such as may be obtained by regular reading of a serious newspaper (e.g. The Times or its equivalent in other countries) or news magazine (e.g. The Economist).

What you will be studying


    • The role of professional institutions and their characteristics: established by Royal Charter, self-governing, controlling entry to the profession and maintaining discipline; reservation of title and reservation of function. Some familiarity with the best-known professional institutions (e.g. those governing engineering, the law, medicine and accounting) will be expected.
    • The British Computer Society, its charter and its membership structure; chartered status and CITP; branches and specialist groups.

      • Limited companies and the roles of directors and members; the advantages of limited company status for commercial organizations. Other legal forms of organization. Takeovers and mergers.
      • The concept of delegation and specialization. Management structures: structure by function, by product, by market sector, and by region. Levels of management (senior, middle, junior, etc). The concept of delegation and specialization.

      • The financial structure of companies. The requirements for financial disclosure imposed by statute and by stock exchanges. Capital items and depreciation. The balance sheet, the profit and loss account, and the cash flow statement.

      • Costing: direct and indirect costs; fixed and variable costs; overheads, corporate and divisional. Treatment of overheads in costing. Costing of labour. Costing (as opposed to estimating) of IT projects. The effect of cost and other factors on the pricing of software.
      • Cash flow and its importance; cash flow forecasts, the need for working capital.
      • Discounted cash flow analysis and its use in the assessment of capital projects. Simple budgeting.

      • The Data Protection Act 1998, the Computer Misuse Act 1990 and subsequent changes.
      • The Equalities Act 2010 as it applies to information systems.
      • Relevant provisions of: the Health and Safety at Work Act 1974 (especially the Display Screen Equipment Regulations 1992); the Consumer Protection Act 1987; the Regulation of Investigatory Powers Act 2000; the Freedom of Information Act 2000.

      • The concept of intellectual property; software, documentation and designs as intellectual property. The mechanisms available to protect intellectual property. The Copyright, Designs and Patents Act 1988. The EC directive on the Legal Protection of Computer Programs, 91/250. The Digital Economy Act 2010.

      • The application of the law relating to issues such as privacy, defamation, and intellectual property rights to the Internet.
      • Relevant provisions of : the Consumer Protection Distance Selling Regulations 2000, the Electronic Commerce (EC Directive) Regulations 2002, the Privacy and Electronic Communications (EC Directive Regulations 2003) and the Communications Act 2003.
      • Cross-border jurisdiction and law enforcement, with specific reference to spam, malware and obscene material.

      • Professional Codes of Conduct, their strengths and weaknesses. The BCS Code of Conduct and its application in practice. The Public Interest Disclosure Act 1998.

      • The statutory framework of employment. Contracts of employment. Transfer of Undertakings (Protection of Employment) Regulations (TUPE).
      • The SFIAplus™ (Skills Framework for the Information Age) model; continuing professional development.
      • Techniques for recruitment and selection. Human resources planning.
      • The Equalities Act 2010 as it applies to employment practices.
      • The effect of information systems on jobs. Job design: specialisation, rotation, enlargement and enrichment.
      • Appraisal and Management by Objectives. Continuing professional development.
      • Remuneration schemes, planning and control. Job evaluation.

      Books to Refer
      • The following book has been written especially to support this module. A new and updated edition of the book will be published early in 2014.
      • Bott M. F., Professional Issues in Information Technology, The British Computer Society, 2005. ISBN: 1902505654 and ISBN 13: 9781902505657


      Other Material

      The books and articles listed below cover parts of the syllabus in more detail. They are recommended to candidates who wish to investigate individual topics in more depth.

      • The financial material in the syllabus is well covered in ,Atrill, Peter and McLaney, Eddie, Accounting and Finance for Non-Specialists.(Eighth Edition), Pearson Education, 2012, ISBN-13: 978-0273778165.
      • The following book covers some of the material relating to legal obligations, intellectual property rights, the Internet and human resource management; it is intended for practising managers but may be found helpful by students who have such experience.
        Holt, J and Newton, J. A Manager’s Guide to IT Law, BCS, 2004, ISBN 13: 9781902505558
      • The following book covers issues relating to data protection in considerable detail: Room, Stewart. Data Protection and Compliance in Context, The British Computer Society, 2006, ISBN 13: 9781902505787.
      • IT ethics has been much talked about and written about in the last ten or fifteen years. The syllabus is specifically concerned with the BCS Code of Conduct rather than with more general questions of professional ethics. The BCS Code of Conduct can be found on its web site; at the time of writing the
      • Candidates should be aware that the Code has been changed quite extensively in recent years so that copies of the code in earlier books are likely to be out of date.
      • Students looking for more general material on ethics will find the following book useful:
        Benn, P., Ethics, Routledge, (an imprint of Taylor & Francis Books Ltd), 1998, ISBN-13: 978-1857284539

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