The global skills and competency framework for the digital world

More than just a framework

The SFIA Foundation provides much more than just the SFIA Framework. It provides and operates the mechanism necessary to develop the SFIA Framework from real industry experience and practice and make it available for use along with supporting resources.

The SFIA Foundation provides:

  • The SFIA skills and competencies framework
  • The mechanism to support its continued development, maintenance and support
  • The global ecosystem necessary to support the use of the framework by a global userbase
  • User guidelines informed by good practice from real users
  • Practical examples of the use of SFIA such as illustrative role profiles
  • Valuable assets and resources such as SFIA Views and links to industry bodies of knowledge
  • SFIA accredited partners and specialists to help organisations
  • Mappings to industry frameworks and collaborations with industry bodies

User guidance

The SFIA Framework is an enabler to support human capital management and development activities. User guidance is collected from industry use and made generic for others to use.

One example is the guidance for skills and competencies assessment, which is available from the SFIA website.

SFIA skills profiles for standard industry roles

A common initial use of the SFIA Framework is to define the skills and competencies needed to support an organisation’s role profiles. The SFIA Foundation recommends that organisations develop their own skills profiles rather than using off-the-shelf profiles of others without proper consideration. However, it is often difficult for those new to creating role profiles to see what can be done. By looking across the industry, across different countries and users we can provide a useful starting point for creating a SFIA-based skills profile for common roles. Some examples include an extensive set of roles organised as career paths. Examples include:

  • Australian public sector career pathways – a set of more than 160 roles defined
  • Roles aligned to the International Standard Classification of Occupations (ISCO-08)
  • USA National Initiative for Cybersecurity Education (NICE) work roles
  • SFIA 8 illustrative skills profiles
  • Digital apprenticeships

Bodies of Knowledge

SFIA recognises that knowledge is important but it does not include specific knowledge within the framework nor does it define the detailed knowledge required. SFIA chooses to actively promote bodies of knowledge that are developed by experts in the subjects and recognised widely by industry.

  • Knowledge is highly context sensitive to particular industries, employers, technologies, methods, tools, jobs etc
  • Knowledge changes rapidly, and the responsibility for keeping up-to-date lies with the people who are leading, managing or doing the work
  • There are often national interpretations of knowledge, e.g. legal and regulatory requirements

SFIA has identified around 50 industry bodies of knowledge and has provided links to these from the SFIA website. This resource is updated regularly as new bodies of knowledge are identified.

SFIA views

SFIA views help users to identify the key elements of SFIA most relevant to particular environments such as specific professional disciplines, industry topics and approaches and complementary frameworks. SFIA is designed to be flexible and SFIA views are explanations of how SFIA can be applied in particular situations. Current SFIA views include:

  • Digital transformation
  • Big Data / Data Science
  • Information and cyber security
  • DevOps
  • Agile
  • Software Engineering
  • Enterprise IT

Other SFIA views are in development with input from the global SFIA user base.

SFIA mappings to industry frameworks

These help framework users adopt SFIA and help SFIA users access the specialist knowledge in these frameworks. Industry frameworks and bodies of knowledge provide a reliable insight into current industry working practices and priorities.

Good frameworks structure and categorise their information to help users navigate and understand the content. Mappings between frameworks help the users of both build and integrated view. This helps the adoption and adaption of both frameworks.

Everything is connected. The content of SFIA is broad-ranging and can connect different professional disciplines through its common language for skills and competency levels.

SFIA accredited partners and specialists

Help in Using SFIA is available from either SFIA Partners or SFIA specialists. SFIA specialists consult as individuals; SFIA Partners are organisations that offer services using SFIA which may include SFIA consulting or SFIA related products or tools.

SFIA training

Accredited SFIA training is available from accredited training organisations. The syllabus for each course is published on the SFIA website. This includes:

  • SFIA Foundation level training - a brief introduction to SFIA
  • SFIA Practitioner level training - suitable for those using SFIA within their organisation
  • SFIA Consultant level training - intended to give a wider perspective of SFIA use and adoption
  • SFIA Assessor training - specialist training for those who will be assessing skills and competencies of others

SFIA Foundation global ecosystem

The SFIA framework is generally updated every 3 years, any longer and a framework becomes very stale in what is a fast moving and rapidly changing industry. The SFIA Foundation has built the mechanisms necessary to coordinate a global consultation and to efficiently manage framework updates and enable cost effective translation into over 12 languages.

The SFIA Foundation operates as a not-for-profit global foundation consisting of the following:

  • An international governance board - to ensure the foundation operates for the good of the whole global community
  • A lean operations function - to manage the activities of the SFIA Foundation, provide essential administrative support and to coordinate framework update activities 
  • An international SFIA Council of industry representatives and SFIA expert users from 6 continents - to provide expertise and advice and guidance to the SFIA Foundation
  • An international SFIA Design Authority board - to oversee and ensure the continued quality and integrity of the SFIA Framework and other assets
  • An international user base and user group - to provide input to the SFIA Framework and a source of volunteers for updates to the framework and assets

The SFIA Foundation approach is to ensure that the framework for industry is really built by industry and the SFIA Foundation’s role in this is one of coordination – mostly of volunteer effort from a great many countries.

To keep any framework alive and relevant it is necessary to ensure that it is updated regularly through real usage and, very importantly, in a timely manner. The SFIA Foundation global ecosystem is designed to achieve this. These mechanisms are reviewed and modified as necessary in line with industry needs.