The global skills and competency framework for the digital world

#28 Digital Use Skills - introduce this area change request pending

Introduce a number of 'digital Use skills'

From Australian Public Sector SFIA Forum:

Consider introducing digital use skills mostly at L1 & L2

The reasoning behind this is that for many users their work is largely administrative and there are no skills identified in SFIA in this area. They may be 'stepping stones' for future roles or just may be users skills. 

One reason for doing this is to enable all people working with IT systems being able to have a SFIA skills assessment to identify their skills rather than to have to exclude large numbers of staff because their skills don't naturally match the current scope of SFIA.

Current status of this request: pending

What we decided

Some additions made to SFIA 8 levels of responsibility and the work on behavioural factors.

 Add to SFIA development roadmap.

What we changed

Detailed investigation into this area has identified significant potential and opportunity for SFIA to add value in this space.

Any people of professional bodies who are interested in collaborating in this should please contact the SFIA updates manager.

Ian Seward (General Manager)
Sep 06, 2017 11:17 AM

This actually raises a bigger question - how far reaching should SFIA become?

Ian Seward (General Manager)
Sep 06, 2017 01:24 PM

This change could have additional benefits. A number of areas see their workers as IT staff although they are largely users of IT systems. While they are typically not IT staff they are usually classified as clerical and admin. While this may be accurate it perhaps doesn't reflect the important in their role and especially where they are entering or extracting data from systems which is of a critical nature.

This could still usefully be aligned with the generics and have possible lead on into more 'senior roles' which perhaps do not require the more 'technical' experience in IT development and IT operations.

John Godsell
Sep 07, 2017 05:55 PM

I agree this could be developed to reflect roles that are predominantly ones that require the use of technology to produce/process date e.g. extensive use of spreadsheets, publishing using a work processor, database extraction.

SFIA Updates Manager
Sep 10, 2017 06:37 PM

The UK Forum for Computing Education highlights 3 bands of people who need digital skills (

Digital Citizens need a basic proficiency in digital skills in order to communicate, find information, purchase goods and services.

Digital Workers need deeper digital skills as part of their day to day work activities. These could range from formatting documents, creating spreadsheets or using specific digital technologies which support their particular occupation which from example could range for scientists, to marketing professionals and business leaders. [Note - so not limited to clerical / admin roles].

Digital Makers – need to have the skills to build digital technologies. These can range from less advanced tasks such as configuring spreadsheets, writing apps to
designing telecommunications infrastructure and complex search algorithms.

Matthew Burrows
Oct 18, 2017 07:38 PM

So, the design principle that needs agreeing is whether SFIA describes user-level skills rather than just professional and specialist skills in the skills section. There are words in Business Skills level 1 which cover user level - “Uses basic information systems and technology.....” and it continues at a higher level in Business Skills level 2 - “Understands and uses appropriate methods, tools and applications.”

Ian Seward
Nov 09, 2017 03:09 PM

This is an observation not solely against this CR. Consultation is an 'interesting' exercise, we are getting very different types of CR. Some may be new skill, update a skill, question a design principle, extend the scope of the framework ...

It raises quests about the scope of the framework, the underlying design principles, the understanding of the digital world, and the blurring of roles. Having attended the workshop, this is a legitimate question for what might be sees as digital workers who might work closely with digital makers or move to become digital makers. I'm aware of a number of large areas where the workers might be considered IT workers because they are part of the information processing and use computers rather than quill and velum; and of course they often take part in agile developments. With the stated extensive world shortage of skills many will indeed become digital makers.

SFIA Updates Manager
Nov 09, 2017 05:23 PM

For the ancient among us ... SFIA2 had a “Use” category. (This was removed in SFIA3).

It described a generic approach for User skills. See here

While we wouldn't replicate SFIA2's approach exactly - it does show one way of tackling the issue..

The distinction between Digital Citizens, Digital Workers and Digital Makers is also helpful (NB don't know if we can/should use those actual terms but the definition of each helps me).

So the scope of SFIA could include skills for both Digital Workers and Digital Makers - but we expect to define Digital Makers' skills in a detailed, specific style and the Digital Workers' skills described in a more abstract, generic way.

Why would we do them in a more generic way - I suppose the concern I have at this point in time is just how large the challenge could be to understand, distil, describe all the variances of Digital Workers and the "Digital Use" skills they require.

Matthew Burrows
Feb 20, 2018 12:53 PM

As Tech Partnership are a SFIA Foundation Board member, I believe they should be agreeing that we cover this area in SFIA rather than creating/maintaining something separate
After all, they are disbanding shortly, and it makes sense to have it all in SFIA so there is a pathway from Digital User (at home and at work) to Digital Professional.