Twenty-first-century computer professionals need to connect with others. Membership in associations offers many benefits:
- Networking — Other members, job postings, and resume repositories can help you find a new job.
- Continuing education — Certification courses, annual conferences, webinars, online news feeds, blogs, podcasts, newsletters, magazines, and other publications help you keep current.
- Information for troubleshooting — Meetings, discussion lists, and online forums all are valuable resources.
- Discounts — Save money on training, software, books, and other products, such as life and health insurance.
- Fun — Attending meetings and conferences with other people interested in your computer career field is a great way to socialize!
Also, listing professional memberships on your resume can increase your credibility with employers, especially if you can also list activities, such as chapter president, Webmaster, mentor, and so on.
There is no way to list every computer professional organization. There are three, however, that are the “big players” and offer something for virtually everyone:
- IEEE Computer Society (www.computer.org): One of the oldest and most respected organizations in the industry, founded in 1946. They offer about 3,000 online courses and 600 online books.
- Association for Computing Machinery (www.acm.org): Claims to be the “largest educational and scientific computing society.” It offers 34 separate “special interest groups” (SIGs), such as Accessible Computing, Multimedia, and Programming Languages.
- Advanced Computing Systems Association, aka USENIX (www.usenix.org): In existence since 1975, USENIX members are engineers, systems administrators, scientists, and technicians. The annual USENIX technical conference is a great place to learn about cutting-edge advances in computer technology.
Computer professionals may join more specialized organizations, as well. The following list provides a brief sampling of professional computer organizations, organized by computer career specialty.
Software Design and Programming:
- Association of Software Professionals (www.asp-software.org): An association for software developers who are creating and/or marketing leading-edge software technology, such as cloud computing, smartphone, and Software as a Service (SaaS) applications.
- Association of Independent Software Industry Professionals (www.aisip.org): Similar to the above organization, for computer professionals who develop and market their own software applications.
Web Development, Multimedia, and Digital Media:
- International Webmasters Association (www.iwanet.org): Provides certification, educational programs, technical assistance, and employment resources to Webmasters, Web developers, and other computer professionals working with Web sites and eCommerce. They claim to have more than 100 chapters worldwide, with about 200,000 members.
- World Organization of Webmasters (www.webprofessionals.org): Founded in 1997, this organization supports computer professionals who create, manage, or market Web sites.
- Network and Systems Professionals Association (www.naspa.com): Offers an annual conference, job postings, awards, publications, and education programs (including scholarships) to IT professionals.
- Network Professional Association (www.npa.org): Founded in 1991, this organization claims to be the “leading organization” for network computing professionals. It offers certification programs, career strategy advice, local chapters, and other membership benefits.
- Society for Manufacturing Engineers (www.sme.org): Helps manufacturing engineers keep up with the latest manufacturing technology and processes. Members span a wide variety of manufacturing industries and disciplines, including computer manufacturing.
- National Association of Communication Systems Engineers (www.nacse.org): Recently announced a new IT credentialing system that “recognizes both academic knowledge AND hands-on, real world experience.”
- International Association of Software Architects (www.iasaglobal.org): Offers information, training, and certification for enterprise, software, infrastructure, information, and business architecture professionals.
Data and Information Systems:
- American Society for Information Science and Technology (www.asis.org): Actually older than even the IEEE Computer Society, ASIS&T was founded in 1937. Members come from a variety of career areas, including computer careers. The organization’s focus is on how information is “stored, retrieved, analyzed, managed, archived, and disseminated.”
- International Association for Computer Information Systems (www.iacis.org): Founded in 1960, the IACIS originally focused on computers in education; it has since widened its scope to encompass information systems, management sciences, computer science, and applied education technology.
- Association for Information Technology Professionals (www.aitp.org): Has members from a wide variety of IT fields, including mainframe information systems, PC-based systems, and “cloud storage” of information on the Internet.
Computer and Video Game Development:
- International Game Developers Association (www.igda.org): Reputedly the largest nonprofit membership organization serving individuals who create video games.
- International Computer Games Association (www.icga.org): Sponsors game competitions; is a good way to find out what games people like and why.
- Information Systems Security Association (www.issa.org): Specifically for those interested in information security. Has a membership from a wide cross-section of industries.
- Women in Technology International (www.witi.org): Specifically for women pursuing careers in technology. Members hail from all over the world and form a support network for success.
- Association for Women in Computing (www.awc-hq.org): A constituent society member of the Institute for Certification of Computer Professionals (ICCP). It provides education and networking opportunities for women in all types of computer careers.
- Independent Computer Consultant Association (www.icca.org): An organization for computer professionals who own their own businesses and who consult on a private basis.
Last Updated: 04/26/2014