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AITP Members Ushered the Tech Industry from Mainframes to Pocket-Sized Computers

The first AITP members — way back at the turn of the century — taught each other data processing skills, helped IT pros get jobs and meet other tech pros, and laid the groundwork for standardization and best practices.

Those are the same ways CompTIA AITP helps IT pros today. Through on-demand business and soft skills training, and local chapters, IT pros get better at their jobs and closer to the careers they want. (see all past presidents).

History Jerry Geckle

AITP member Jerry Geckle was credited with bringing the first IBM computer to Baltimore. He learned his tech skills as a keypunch operator and later turned real estate on its head by applying computer science to mortgages and leasing.


Early IT pros joined forces first as the National Machine Accountants Association, thanks to big thinkers like Harold M. Pool, and earned a charter from Illinois in 1951. By ’58, the association’s 11,000 members shared more than 300,000 years of technology experience and knowledge in data processing and number crunching.


Members developed their own courses to teach IT skills. The association established ethics and best practices to strive for and, most influentially, introduced certification programs, which standardized the industry and held providers accountable. The association renamed itself the Data Processing Management Association in 1962.


AITP members, from a tiny national headquarters in Illinois, took part in technology’s transition from ’60s and ’70s mainframe designs to palm-of-your-hand mobility.


AITP member Grace Hopper cracked automatic billing and payroll calculations, and her patented FLOW-MATIC had a strong influence on the development of COBOL.


By the mid-1980s, AITP had two national organizations, 12 regional organizations and dozens of chapter groups. By this time, the phrase information technology had come into fashion and seemed to members a more suitable name.


In 1996, the organization became known as the Association of IT Professionals and through the turn of the century experienced aggressive growth. Members from rival IT departments came out of their cubes to collaborate, and leaders took the bull by the horns to grow membership, going door to door to secure local IT firms and their most promising developers. Chapters exploded, growing from 100 members to 150 and then 200.


AITP member and the tech organization’s first president Robert L. Jenal turned his technology prowess into a 39-year career as an executive with Gillette.


Flexing their data processing muscles, members launched award and scholarship programs based on detailed point systems. The association was an oiled and well-tuned machine, enjoying a 40,000-member peak in 2001.


The internet roared to life, and suddenly tech pros could share their knowledge online instead of in real life. As IT pros found other ways to connect, AITP needed a boost. Today The CompTIA AITP merger came at just the right time. It continues the original mission of teaching IT students and sharing with the technology community. CompTIA AITP supports networking, learning and teaching in local tech communities all over the world. CompTIA AITP is a successful volunteer-run operation that is taking the innovative step in growing the organization with the help of hiring professional staff to lead.