Founded in 1951 as NMAA and later known as DPMA, the name Association of Information Technology Professionals, AITP, was adopted in 1996. In individual chapters and as a national association, AITP seeks to advance the IT Profession through professional development, support of IT education, and national policies on IT that improve society as a whole.
The year was 1951; Harry S. Truman was President of the United States. A 3 bedroom home cost $9,000.00. A new Ford listed for $1,480.00; postage was $.03; and a loaf of bread cost $.16. Joe DiMaggio retired from baseball; I Love Lucy premiered; and peace talks began in Korea.
In Chicago, a group of machine accountants got together and decided that the future was only beginning for the TAB machines they were operating. They were members of a local group called the Machine Accountants Association (MAA). The technology was new; something few people understood and managing this new technology was a skill that even fewer people possessed. The machine accountants recognized the need to form a professional support group, a national association, to address the growing issues of this new technology. Thus on December 26, 1951, after a constitutional convention was held in Chicago, the State of Illinois granted a charter and the National Machine Accountants Association (NMAA) was founded.
Groups from Houston, Columbus, Wabash Valley, the Twin Cities, Penn-Del, and 22 others were the first to join NMAA. Robert L. Jenal, systems manager for Toni Company, was elected the first International President at the 1952 First Annual Convention in Minneapolis.
In 1960, the association sponsored a meeting of educators and businessmen with the purpose of establishing the Certificate in Data Processing (CDP) professional examination program. The first CDP exam was held in 1962 in New York. 1962 was also the year that the association leaders recognized the changing nature of information processing techniques brought about by the introduction of the computer. Thus, the members decided in 1962 to adopt a more progressive name, the Data Processing Management Association (DPMA), to reflect the changing industry.
Always striving to promote the continued education of the members, the leadership of DPMA created the Registered Business Programmer (RBP) examination in 1970. Both the CDP and the RBP exams were given annually under the rules established by the Certification Council, at test centers in colleges and universities across North America. Eventually, DPMA decided to help establish the Institute for the Certification of Computer Professionals (ICCP) to stimulate more widespread interest and industry acceptance of the examinations. ICCP began administering the CDP program in early 1974.
The association has always acknowledged the contributions of prominent professionals within the Information Technology field. Beginning in 1969 with the creation of the annual Computer Sciences Man-of-the-Year Award for outstanding contributions to the information processing industry, DPMA has established a long-standing tradition of honoring IT professionals from every aspect of the industry. This prestigious award was renamed the Distinguished Information Sciences Award in 1980 and is awarded every year at the Annual Meeting of the Members.
As the industry has evolved, so has the association. Starting as the NMAA, evolving into the DPMA, and then into our current evolution in 1996 of the ASSOCIATION of INFORMATION TECHNOLOGY PROFESSIONALS (AITP), the association has kept pace with the changing needs and interests of our members. AITP members span every level of the IT industry from mainframe systems, to micro systems, to PC based LAN and WAN systems, to virtual systems and the internet. AITP has special niches created that cater to the special interests of our members. Our members are found in every facet of society as well. They’re in colleges and universities; banking; industry; retail; the armed forces; local, state and federal governments; hospitals; and beyond.
To learn more about the history of AITP, DPMA and NMAA search the archives of the Charles Babbage Institute Center for the History of Information Processing.
You may also contact the ASSOCIATION of INFORMATION TECHNOLOGY PROFESSIONALS headquarters for more information at +1.800.224.9371.