The BCS: The Chartered Institute for IT provides a FREE Personal Development Plan tool. They promote Continuing Professional Development, of which there are lots of types, by focusing on Reflective Learning and Planning, and split CPD into Career Aspirational Planning and Shorter-term (6-12mon) CPD Planning.

Career aspiration planning : 3 years

  • What role do I want to be doing in 3 years’ time?
  • Do I want to stay in my current career path or do I want to make a transition?
  • Do I want to stay technical and progress towards a thought leader role?
  • Do I want to move into a management position?
  • Do I need wider breadth of experience for the role I want?
  • Can my current company give me these opportunities?

Shorter-term CPD planning : 6-12 months

Consider a mix of activities including formal and informal training, networking events, private study and stretch tasks. Also voluntary activities (such as being part of the organising committee for a Specialist Group, Branch or conference, or taking a role in supporting a charity) often provide solid learning and development opportunities.

Set SMART goals:

  • Specific
    Identify a specific development activity; something that addresses a particular need and that can be clearly identified.
  • Measurable
    Ensure that the activities identified have a clear objective and that it is possible to determine whether you have achieved it.
  • Achievable
    Ensure that the activity is achievable; it is not way beyond you in terms of your ability, and that it is not something you would not be allowed to do. If, for example, your employer will not fund specific training there is no point planning to do it unless you have some other means of achieving it.
  • Results oriented
    Ensure you have an expectation of the outcome of your CPD activities – if you can’t identify the results you hope to achieve, perhaps you should look for other CPD activities.
  • Timely
    Ensure that the objectives can be achieved in an appropriate time-frame and that any sequencing is appropriate

Record and Review

  • Has it delivered what you expected of it?
  • How have your knowledge, skills and competencies been enhanced?
  • How have you benefited from the CPD?
  • How have you been able to bring what you have learned into your work?
  • How has your employer/customer benefitted?


  • Have I achieved my development plan for this period?
  • Have I progressed in line with my career aspirations?
  • How should I change my career aspirations?
  • What have I actually gained from this exercise?
  • What type of development has delivered the greatest benefit?
  • What type of development has delivered the least benefit?
  • What should I look to include in my next development planning cycle?



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