Tag Archives: acm

Scott McNealy to be honoured as a Distinguished Fellow of the British Computer Society

Scott is due to be honoured as a Distinguished Fellow of the British Computer Society (BCS) – and will be joining me as the only other Fellow of the BCS at Sun.

Fellow is the most senior professional grade of the BCS, it is in itself quite an achievement to be awarded with one, and Distinguished Fellowship is even rarer – being presented to members of the computing profession who have made an outstanding contribution to the advancement of computing (the last one was eight years ago).

The presentation is being made during the BCS’s Winter Gala and Candlelit Dinner, by BCS President-elect Rachel Burnett, on the 14th of November (the day after Scott’s birthday) and the location is the beautiful Goldsmith’s Hall in London.

When I last spoke to Scott he said he was “Really looking forward to it.”.

You can learn more about the event here at the offical event website.

The event is open to non-BCS members, as well as members, and tickets can be reserved from the website above – however if you’d like to go I would recommended that you hurry as I believe most of the tickets have already gone.

Obviously I’ve already booked tickets for Donna and I – those of you who know me reasonably well know that I am huge fan of Scott’s – in fact that I contribute an early major growth in my career to Scott (see this ‘blog entry for the whole story – “Why I work for Sun Microsystems”) – or at least a moment of epiphany brought on by Scott.

I’m really excited about Scott receiving his Fellowship – the BCS are working really hard to promote ‘Professionalism in IT’, something I’m extremely supportive of – and I believe this helps to strengthen that agenda both in Sun UK and Ireland and in the wider IT community of the UK.

My Fellowship came through in June this year, on the 50th anniversary of the BCS and our (Sun’s) 25th anniversary. My generous sponsors were Colin Thomas (an ex IT Director of the Inland Revenue, and ex Deputy Chairman of the BCS) and Chris Loughran (Head of SI Consultancy at Deloitte in the UK) – both of whom I have a huge amount of respect for and certainly look up to as great implementers of technology.

I very much believe in Professional Membership, both as a means to bring together like minded individuals into a community which can share ideas and information, also to provide a single point of contact and collective ‘voice’ for that community (notably into Government as these organisations represent a ‘trade’ or a number of ‘trades’) and to provide guidance in the respective industry around qualifications and capabilities.

I call the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE), the Institution of Engineering and Technology (IET – formerly Institution of Electrical Engineers (IEE) and Institution of Incorporated Engineers (IIE)), the Association for Computing Machinery (ACM) and the BCS the ‘big four’ as they have the largest coverage (by member numbers) and make the largest contribution to the wider technology community (than most of the other technology professional membership organisations).

The major segregations of the ‘big four’ are that of location of the membership population and technology focus:

  • The IEEE is predominantly ‘Engineering’ focused and mainly US / Worldwide (circa 350,000 members)
  • The IET is predominantly ‘Engineering’ focused and mainly UK / some Worldwide (circa 150,000 members)
  • The ACM is predominantly ‘Computing’ focused and mainly US / some Worldwide (circa 60,000 members)
  • The BCS is predominantly ‘Computing’ focused and mainly UK / some Worldwide (circa 80,000 members)

Personally I am a member of two of the ‘big four’ technology Professional Membership organisations: the BCS and the IEEE (of which I’m a Senior Member) – I felt for me this gave the best ‘coverage’ across the major technology alignments and member locations.

To be inclusive I wanted coverage in engineering and computing, local and worldwide (mainly US) – as a technologist whose career in IT has mainly been around the implementation of computer technology and computer systems my primary requirement was computing.

I felt that the BCS was best aligned to meet my needs in computing, plus it’s local coverage is excellent (60,000 members mainly spread across 60,000,000 population of the UK is around 1 member per 1,000 population – the ACM in comparison has 80,000 members spread across the 300,000,000 population of the USA is around 1 member per 3,750 population – almost four times less than the BCS, although it has strong competition from the IEEE computing group, according to wikipedia).

As both computing and UK coverage was taken up by the BCS, it made the IEEE the obvious choice to cover engineering and Worldwide – serendipity as the IEEE have the largest membership of any of the ‘big four’ worldwide – and arguably contribute the largest amount in terms of standards definition.

This doesn’t mean that I’m unsupportive of the IET or of the ACM, in fact I hope that in the future there is more co-operation and joint working initiatives between the ‘big four’. This is something I have consistently been vocal about with the BCS and IEEE – and I very much hope that it helps to lead to this end. I’m fortunate that at a personal level this is something I can demonstrate – currently I’m working with my good friend Mike Ashton (of Sun UK), our only Fellow of the IET at Sun, on a technology assessment and quality improvement initiative focused upon the delivery of our solutions via the Sun UK services organisation.

I very much recommend getting involved with the appropriate Professional Membership organisation for your chosen career or career area – although take your time in choosing the right organisation for you. In many respects they will already be representing you indirectly either to your local government (as in the case of the BCS) or to the wider community, especially if they are seen as indicative of your industry.

And if you end up going to the BCS Winter Gala on the 14th of November to see Scott receive his Distinguished Fellowship of the BCS – and you heard about it from this ‘blog post – then please do remember to say “hello”.