One of the key features of a mature profession is the definition of a common and comprehensive competence architecture which outlines knowledge, qualifications, skills, performance standards and experience requirements against a complete set of roles and where possible, standard job specifications.
The IT industry, both in Canada and globally, has seen the benefits associated with the development of a skills framework and a number of initiatives have been started.
Canada: ICTC: Occupational Skills Framework (OSPM)
United Kingdom: SFIA Foundation Skills Framework for the Information Age (SFIA)
Europe: European Committee for Standardization European E-Competence Framework
Germany: Kibnet - Kompetenzzentrum IT-Bildungsnetzwerk
All frameworks share a common theme: they describe the specialist and technical skills required in IT-related roles and can be used and understood by IT users and companies, the public sector, educational and social partners.
The skills framework provides a tool for:
- Academic Institutions: to enable effective planning and design of IT curricula
- IT practitioners and managers: to have clear guidelines for demonstrated competence and to assist in identifying ongoing professional development needs
- Human Resources: to have access to a common reference framework to assist in job standardization, resource allocation and the definition of professional development programs.
In 2000, CIPS adopted the OSPM to assist in defining CIPS' constituency for planning and marketing purposes. The OSPM at that time was a job classification tool which did not list specific competency requirements.
In 2008, CIPS introduced the Information Technology Certified Professional (ITCP), which is aligned with the International Professional Practice Partnership professional standard. An important element of the ITCP standard was the definition of the professional's autonomy and responsibility competency level. Although the OSPM was morphing into a competency style framework, the work related to this project had not yet been completed and CIPS decided to adopt the Skills Framework for the Information Age (SFIA) as the interim skills framework for the ITCP until such time as a Canadian competency skills framework had been defined that was equivalent to SFIA. Discussion has commenced between CIPS and ICTC to discuss the OSPM and SFIA equivalency.