[9] How to use International e-competency standards to select IT Training?

The demand for high quality IT training standards is increasing, while the way to select them is extremely complicated. To find a way in this huge demand is difficult but some tools do help. We try to help by explaining two standards

E-CF (www.ecompetences.eu)
The E-CF version 3.0 gives clear definitions and sound orientation to support decision-making in relation to the selection and recruitment of candidates, as well as the training and assessment of ICT professionals. It enables the identification of skills and competences that may be required to successfully perform duties and fulfill responsibilities related to the ICT workplace. The widespread adoption of the E-CF by companies and organizations throughout Europe has started to increase the transparency, mobility and efficiency of ICT sector related human resources.

As the information says, it is about a European initiative and it will be clear in the coming years if this initiative will be accepted globally. It looks like more and more Organizations do support the framework and want to use it for defining job roles and related training needs.

The relevancy towards our goal to have a good understanding of how IT Training can be used to improve skills and knowledge, can be seen if you go to the toolkit of the framework. It consists of 5 blocks, Plan, Build, Run, Enable and Manage, with in total 40 competences and 5 levels. If you want to see what competences are needed for a specific job role, you are able to click on one of the 40 competences and you will see what definition pops up.

There will be more initiatives, also outside Europe, to have a common language and have a better understanding of how persons should be trained and certified to be able to have certain jobs and job roles.

One other framework is called SFIA. See www.sfia.online.org.
The Skills Framework for the Information Age (SFIA) was established in July 2003 as a system for IT Professionals to match the Skills of the workforce to the requirements of the business. It is a logical two-dimensional skills framework defined by areas of work on one axis and levels of responsibility on the other. It has been proven as an effective resource that benefits business by facilitating all aspects of the management of capability in corporate and educational environments.

The past 10 years has seen SFIA establish itself as the World’s most popular definition of IT skills, easily accessible to:

  • ICT practitioners and Users
  • Employers
  • Education and Training Providers
  • Governments

The collaborative development style involves people with real practical experience of skills management in corporate and educational environments. That is what sets SFIA apart from other more theoretical approaches, and has resulted in the success of SFIA in over 100 countries. In order to maintain relevance to users' needs, SFIA is updated frequently. It remains in step with current thinking about IT capabilities. Its nature as a component of the organizations’ approach to skills management means that it does not dictate any particular method: whatever your approach to this important subject, SFIA can help.

The framework was developed by the British Computer Society, yet has migrated to a globally respected framework-, with over 2.500 corporate users in 195 countries.

SFIA defines 96 professional IT skills in 6 categories, with several sub categories, plus 7 levels of attainment, described in general, non-technical terms.

The purpose of SFIA is quite the same as E-CF, mainly to support the Human Recourses of an Organization to look at possible needed competences for IT professionals and users to get trained and certified.

Several standard organizations that this site is referring to-, are using SFIA to define skills and to relate the requirements of their programs to, like ISACA, Open Group and CompTIA.

However the structure is not the same, we do not have any preference for E-CF or SFIA. Both frameworks can work well for the purposes people are looking for. SFIA has more related commercial business, like accreditation for Training Providers and consultants. The Open Group is referring to both frameworks, so they can even be combined in using!

While both frameworks are coming from Europe, they can absolutely be used globally. We see SFIA more in countries outside Europe, especially North America and Australia.

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