The global skills and competency framework for the digital world

Mapping learning products to SFIA - evolving community practice

This is an evolving document describing how to determine which SFIA skill(s) a particular training course or learning product would help to develop.

Logged in users can download the pdf here
You can register as a new user here.

SFIA skills reflect experience and competency in particular fields of activity.  Planned, structured learning/training helps individuals to gain skills quickly, to move their careers forward, but formal learning is never identified as a requirement for a SFIA skill.

The “70-20-10” empirical model says that most capability is gained 'on the job' through experience (70%), supported by learning from experienced colleagues (20%), and can be accelerated by formal learning methods (10%).

If you’re a learning provider, you want to see your products mapped to SFIA skills. 

If you’re an L&D manager using SFIA, you want to see which learning products might help in developing a particular SFIA skill in your organisational context.

What is mapping?

"Mapping" in this document means deciding which SFIA skill(s) a particular training course or learning product would help to develop. 

  • Note, always, that formal learning/training only contributes to development of a SFIA skill. 

Mapping learning to SFIA skills and or roles

Mapping Guidelines

This is a guide to mapping courses to SFIA, not a set of ‘official’ rules.  

You’ll need to reference the SFIA framework, either online here or, if you register as a SFIA user, you can download a spreadsheet version, for easier look-up!

The SFIA 8 framework describes 121 skills.  SFIA Categories and Subcategories, and SFIA views, may help you locate the skills most relevant to a particular course.

If you are new to SFIA try the SFIA 101 - to understand how the SFIA levels and SFIA skills work

A training course ‘maps to’ a SFIA skill if the course helps someone develop or fulfil a SFIA skill.  Training is most usefully mapped to a specific SFIA skill-level (“skill-at-a-level”). That is:

  • The course helps someone develop or apply a particular aspect (or all) of the skill-level description.
  • Some of the course content (a module/chapter or more) helps someone develop or apply an aspect of the skill-level description.

Some courses builds knowledge and capability implied by SFIA skill descriptions or explicitly described in the SFIA generic attributes that define and describe SFIA Levels of Responsibility.

Short briefings and awareness-level learning products, (typically covering context, principles and terminology) may either be excluded from mapping or mapped to the overall description for the relevant SFIA skill.  For example a “PRINCE2 Foundation” course maps to SFIA skill Project Management PRMG overall but not to a SFIA skill-level.

Guidelines are slightly different for different broad subject areas:

  • Industry professional skills (e.g., agile, architecture, business analysis, cyber, service management, project management)
  • Technical (vendor product-specific courses and technical courses authored by 3rd parties)
  • Personal, management and leadership (‘PML’ in these guidelines)

Industry Professional Skills


This section covers training in professional best practices and training aligned to industry bodies, and includes BCS syllabus, Service Management, Project Management, Cyber Security, Agile, etc..). 

The general approach for mapping a specific professional skills course is as follows.

  • Identify SFIA skill(s)
    • from the course's primary focus (e.g., Business Analysis, Project Management)
    • from chapters/topics if the course is wide-ranging or the title is generic.
  • Identify SFIA skill-level, from an outline understanding of the target audience:
  • Level 2: roles that follow standard procedures, such as service support, service administration or operations/security administration;
  • Level 3: competent practitioner, undertakes a variety of tasks without guidance or supervision
  • Level 4: (1) experienced team member (typically Senior or Lead); (2) entry level for professional roles, e.g., Project Manager (APM PFQ) and Solution Architect
  • Level 5: established professional skills, e.g., Project Management (APM PMQ), ITIL Specialist/Manager, Security professional (CISSP), BCS Business Analysis Diploma
  • Level 6: business decision making responsibility; senior professional with (building) a reputation in the external professional community. g., ITIL Expert, senior Project Manager (APM PPQ)

Guidelines for specific subject areas

Cyber Security

  • SFIA 8 has a number of security-related skills: Information Security SCTY, Personal Data Protection PEDP, Vulnerability research VURE, Threat intelligence THIN, Digital forensics DGFS, Penetration testing PENT, Security Operations SCAD and Vulnerability assessment VUAS. 
  • Many more SFIA skills include security aspects, while other skills may be applied in a security context, such as Audit AUDT and Quality assurance QUAS. 
  • The SFIA Levels of Responsibility (LoRs) include a statement on “Security, privacy and ethics” in the "Business Skills" attribute for every Level.
  • Most Cyber courses that cover professional and non-vendor specific technical cyber skills map to Information Security SCTY.
  • Deep technical software security skills may be mapped to Penetration Testing PENT or Digital forensics DGFS.  (Note that courses that enhance someone's capabilities in these fields may not include Pen-testing or forensics in the course title.)
  • Courses on configuration and operation of specific Cyber products, might be mapped to PENT or DGFS but will mainly map to software configuration.  (See General Notes in the Technical mapping section below).
  • Courses on Cyber operations such as network monitoring and incident management, map to Security Operations SCAD.
  • Courses that offer foundation level security training map to Information security SCTY overall (no skill-level) or to Security Operations SCAD level 2.

Service Management

  • The ITIL curriculum is unusual in that intermediate courses each may map to 3 or 4 SFIA skills.
  • ITIL Foundation courses map to many SFIA skills.  However we suggest the top 4 mappings are: Service level management SLMO, Customer service support CSMG, Incident management USUP and Problem management PBMG.
  • ITIL awareness courses do not map to the above SFIA skills but may be mapped to methods and tools METL overall (no skill-level).
  • The Service Desk Institute curriculum maps well to Customer service support CSMG and Incident management USUP.


Scrum Master role is not a project manager. Scrum Master …

  • is a facilitator / enabler
  • is a 'warden' for the methodology
  • is broadly a SFIA Level 4 role

Scrum master training maps primarily to SFIA skills:

(1) Methods & Tools METL, level 4

(2) Relationship Management RLMT, level 4

(3) Organisational facilitation OFCL, level 4

Agile/Scrum awareness courses map only to Methods & Tools METL overall (no skill-level).

Technical training


Technical training includes vendor curriculum (e.g., AWS, Cisco, Citrix, Microsoft, Oracle, Red Hat, VMware, etc) and courses authored by learning providers’ in-house experts. 

In general, technical software training, particularly vendor courses, map to SFIA Levels 2, 3 or 4 only. 

  • No training in how to install, configure or performance-tune a product maps to Level 5 or above, no matter how 'advanced’ it is!

The general approach to mapping is as follows:

  • Identify the first SFIA skill, from an outline understanding of the course subject area. See notes below on specific technology areas.
  • Identify SFIA skill-level to map the training to, from an outline understanding of the target audience. The mapped SFIA level for the training is the level the target audience is seeking to achieve by applying the skills covered. So, someone taking the training wants to be (typically):
  • Level 2: acquiring fundamental concepts and technical skills, applying skills under supervision
  • Level 3: competent technical practitioner, able to apply skills confidently, without supervision
  • Level 4: experienced ('senior') practitioner, advanced technical skills recognised by colleagues, able to share expertise effectively
  • Level 5: applying design/architecture skills, making or contributing to major technical decisions
  • Level 6: making business decision, with underlying knowledge of product capabilities and business benefits. Generally not mapped to technical skills training.
  • Level 7: experience and influence outside own organisation, not a level achieved by attending a technical training course.
  • Calibrate for consistency with mapping of learning paths, courses on similar topics or at a similar level

We can make some general observations about skills and skill-levels. 

Much technical training is about product knowledge, so a huge number of courses map to just a few SFIA skills

  • IT Infrastructure ITOP
  • Programming / software development PROG,
  • Systems installation and removal HSIN
  • System software SYSP. 

In a recent ‘live’ mapping of a major learning provider’s products one-third of 1400 mappings were to SFIA skills ITOP or PROG.

SFIA skill levels 2, 3, and 4 are well aligned to typical technical role-levels, such as

  • (Infrastructure and tech support) IT Support Technician, IT Support Engineer, Senior IT Support Engineer
  • (Business solutions development) Associate Solution Developer, Solution developer, Senior Solutions Developer

Level 2: Technical introduction and basic operation.  Programming language skills

Level 3: Core platform installation & configuration or application development skills

Level 4: Advanced platform configuration & troubleshooting or application development skills

Guidelines for specific subject areas

In the following sections, where "--->" is shown, this is shorthand for "maps to".

IT infrastructure

The SFIA skill IT Infrastructure ITOP includes configuration of server and network software / middleware, tools and platforms, whether on-premises or cloud-based, so maps to a vast number courses.  (Note, this ITOP skill title was "IT Operations" in earlier versions of SFIA.)

Network skills 

  • NTDS "Network design", which is good for training above the core certifications.
  • NTAS "Network support" at Level 3 is useful for basic Networking courses – but Levels 4+ focus on the support processes, not technologies.

Network configuration, including security configuration, maps well to IT Infrastructure ITOP. 

Security software (Checkpoint, Cisco, Symantec) is just "software" to SFIA, so training maps to Software configuration PORT, IT Infrastructure ITOP, Systems installation and removal HSIN or System software SYSP.

Cloud Computing

Infrastructure-as-a-Service (IaaS) is still infrastructure, so a lot of training will map to ITOP "IT Infrastructure" or possibly ARCH "Solution Architecture".

Cloud applications are still applications, so solution development training will typically map to Software Development PROG, Systems Design DESN or Solution Architecture ARCH.


Foundation courses and introductory Language courses (e.g., Java SE x Fundamentals) ---> Programming/Software Development PROG Level 2

Core language skills (e.g., Java SE, C# language, SQL Language & PL/SQL, Python) ---> Programming/Software Development PROG Level 3

Advanced development/run-time platform skills, enterprise apps development & performance tuning ---> Programming/Software Development PROG Level 4

Software design and technical architecture courses ---> Software design SWDN Level 3 or 4


  • General methods ---> METL “Methods and tools”
  • DevOps Engineer ---> SLEN Systems and software life cycle engineering and PORT Software configuration (not CFMG Configuration management).
  • Git ---> PROG Programming / software development
  • Chef / Puppet / Ansible ---> ITOP IT Infrastructure
  • Continuous Integration / Continuous Deployment (CI/CD) courses ---> RELM Release Management

Data Science

Covers conventional terms and activities: Data warehouse, Data mining, Data Modelling/Analysis and also modern terminology: Data Analytics, Data Visualisation, Machine Learning, Data Strategy, Data driven decision making.

It’s useful to note the subtle evolution of terms, from data "Analysis" to "Analytics". 
Traditional "data analysis" means understanding and diagramming the structure of business data and the relationships between different types of data, so training in this ---> Data modelling DTAN.

"Analytics" is examining actual sets or series of data values, from a range of sources and possibly in large volumes (Big Data), to detect/report patterns, trends and exceptions.  Analysis of data values (big or small data volumes) ---> BINT Business intelligence but more sophisticated activities may ---> DATS Data science.

SQL Server BI tools (Integration, Analysis, Reporting) ---> BINT Business intelligence.

Reporting tools ---> VISL Data Visualisation

AI and machine learning ---> MLNG Machine learning

Python programming language is particularly used for data manipulation so that training  --->DATS Data science and MLNG Machine learning (as well as Programming/software development PROG).

Training in Microsoft PowerBI, Crystal reports, BusinessObjects ---> BINT3 or BINT4

Business Applications

In-depth technical training on configuring enterprise software, such as ERP or CRM products and Microsoft 365 ---> Software configuration PORT level 4.

Product technical overviews ---> PORT "Software configuration", level 3


Personal, Management and Leadership (PML) Skills

PML covers "soft skills" training, e.g., personal time management or negotiating skills, and also learning programmes towards qualifications, such as from Institute of Leadership & Management (ILM) and Chartered Management Institute (CMI).

Most PML courses will map to a SFIA level of responsibility (LoR), for example SFIA Level 4, not to a specific SFIA skill.  This means the skills covered may be useful in any level 4 role, regardless of the specific skills mapped to a role. 

You may want a more granular mapping to the SFIA generic attributes, so you may map soft-skills learning to Influence level 3 or Business Skills level 5. 

To map PML skills, you need to refer to the descriptions for the SFIA generic attributes.  As a general guide it’s useful to think of the SFIA LoRs in the following terms:

SFIA Level Essence of SFIA Level
1-2          Self-management
3              Communicate with others
4              Influence others
5              Manage people and relationships
6-7          Leadership


A few subjects map to specific SFIA skills but these are the exceptions. Examples might include:

  • Learning in training skills, such as “Train the Trainer” or delivering remote learning courses ---> Learning delivery ETDL
  • Coaching and mentoring ---> Employee experience EEXP or Performance management PEMT
  • Customer Service skills ---> Customer service support CSMG
  • Sales skills ---> Selling SALE