Reference and guide to SFIA version 6. Framework status: Current standard.

Moving to SFIA version 7

If you use SFIA version 6, this guide helps you plan the adoption of version 7.

Each update of SFIA provides an opportunity to review and rejuvenate your approach to the management of skills.

  • SFIA 7 is no different. By focusing on key themes raised by the industry; SFIA 7 contains some significant updates to support an up to date approach to managing digital, IT and software engineering skills and competencies.
  • Moving to SFIA7 will support industry, employers and individuals at a time when the availability and importance of these skills has never been more important and prominent.

This guide has been developed by the SFIA foundation to help you plan your adoption of and transition to SFIA 7.

  • General guidance for adopting SFIA 7 whether you are currently using SFIA 6 or previous versions of SFIA

Specific details on the content of SFIA 7 and how it has changed from SFIA 6.

The need for change

Organisations and individuals use SFIA because it reflects current thinking about technology-related capabilities. To maintain this the framework is updated regularly.  

The process of consultation and updating is as important as the content of the framework itself.

SFIA is updated collaboratively through a process of open consultation with input from organisations and people who are using SFIA or have with hands-on, practical experience of skills management in corporate and educational environments. This approach:

  • sets SFIA apart from other more theoretical approaches.
  • is a key factor which has driven the adoption of SFIA by organisations and individuals in nearly 200 countries
  • Made SFIA as the world’s most popular framework for information and communications technology (ICT) and digital skills

SFIA stays current by a process of evolution, taking input from practitioners of many types from all over the world, all provided in the context of reflecting current practice.

  • Over the years SFIA has itself become very influential in how people and organisations think about skills, but we will always continue to listen to those working in a range of corporate, government and educational organisations.

The consultation period for SFIA7 started in July 2017.

The consultation had two parallel tracks

  1. Open consultation - facilitated by the SFIA7 development website

  2. Focussed consultation to address key industry themes

Open consultation

The process of open, public consultation is very important to the SFIA Foundation. It is vital to the spirit of SFIA. SFIA is defined by industry practitioners to be used by industry practitioners.

The collaborative development style involves open consultation and input from people with real practical experience of skills management in corporate, industry and educational environments.

This sets SFIA apart from other more theoretical approaches, and has resulted in the adoption of SFIA by organisations and individuals in nearly 200 countries.

From July 2017 to March 2018 we collected feedback from many users of SFIA, based on their experience.

  • Specifically, we requested suggested requirements for change, and asked that contributors confirmed the problem or opportunity, how it affected them, and how it should be dealt with.
  • It is important to capture the rationale in order to fully understand the need for each proposed requirement.

Each requirement was logged, categorised and, if appropriate, grouped with similar requirements into themes.

Focussed consultation

The SFIA ecosystem is now mature and well established. Opinions and feedback are regularly collected via the SFIA Council. In this way the a number of key industry  themes were identified which had to be addressed by the SFIA7 project. The themes were:

  • Digital
  • Agile / DevOps
  • Big Data / Informatics
  • Software Engineering
  • Cybersecurity

By engaging with SFIA’s network of users, partners, industry, academia, government and professional bodies the project collated a diverse range of ideas on what to do to address these themes.

The suggestions were analysed and assessed and actions needed to improve SFIA were identified.

  • Some actions related to the updating the core framework
  • Others related to the supporting reference material, guidelines and ecosystem in which SFIA operates

With agreed requirements - the Design Authority Board started to identify solution to requirements

  • The Design Authority Board is a virtual, global team of accredited SFIA consultants with many years experience in the field.

All the content in SFIA has been reviewed, and many improvements have been made.

SFIA version 6 remains in its recognisable format but with clear improvement. It is offered as a resource for all, to be used in all the ways mentioned in the introductory pages of the reference guide.

Thanks are due to all those who have contributed by giving us the benefit of their experience.

Remember that SFIA describes individual professional skills – not knowledge, not jobs, not roles, not people, not processes, and not general areas of activity, however important they are. The comments received have been processed with that in mind.

Continuous consultation

The SFIA Council had recommended that the SFIA consultation process move to being a continuous approach. Previous update projects have been a focussed, resource intensive approach to deliver a new version of SFIA. It was felt the process to keep SFIA up to date and relevant could be more efficient and effective if consultation was continuous and permanently available. This project has established the foundations to move to this approach.

The change requests function will remain open and available on the SFIA website.

Change requests will be analysed and grouped

  • Pending - the request has been received but no decision has been made
  • Accepted - this will be actioned in the next release
  • Rejected - the change request has not been accepted
  • Deferred - the change request has been accepted but a solution, action or implementation date has not been finalised

How to use this transition guide

The guide identifies which skills have been added to or changed for SFIA7. It also identifies 4 skills which have been retired.

The guide provides an indication of the degree of change, using a Low, Medium, High scale.

There is also an indication whether the changes may impact upon current/previous skills assessments. E.g. for example whether a skill level has been added/removed, or whether the skill level definition has changed significantly. Most of the changes for SFIA7 should not impact current/previous assessments - those that do have been highlighted in this guide.

The inclusion of new skill definitions in SFIA provides the opportunity to refine skills profiles.

Users are recommended first to read through this guide which describes the parts of the SFIA framework that have been updated and the rationale behind the significant changes.

identifying areas of significant change.

The changes that are of significance to the organisation can then be addressed in the context of the following activities.

  • Internal SFIA Consultants/Practitioners. In a large organisation that has people who SFIA practitioners or consultants, it will be helpful to arrange a meeting to review the changes and decide action. Actions may be needed to update internal documents or processes which use SFIA.
  • SFIA Accredited Partners, Consultants and Practitioners. You should ensure that you have an in-depth understanding of the new version, so that you can provide the best quality advice and guidance to your customers.
  • SFIA-based role profiles and/or job descriptions. These can be updated to reflect new skills, new levels, merged skills and skills that have changed significantly.
  • Updates can also be made to Rate Cards, CVs/Resumés, Continual Professional Development (CPD) plans, Recruitment processes and tools, and other items using SFIA that will benefit from adopting the latest version.
  • Product and Service Providers. Review SFIA7 content and plan your updates to reflect the latest version. Ensure you communicate the SFIA version(s) you support.  
  • Skills management databases. Review any internal databases that refer to SFIA skills. A convenient way to update a database is to use the skills definitions issued by the SFIA Foundation in the form of a spreadsheet.
  • Development and training. Review how your material aligns to SFIA skills and skill levels. This will highlight material to be updated or created.
  • Training and education providers can review and update the mapping of their offerings to SFIA, and make any necessary curriculum changes to each affected course. New and refreshed SFIA skills may provide an opportunity to create new educational products.
  • Managers. Communicate to managers that a new version of SFIA is being adopted, and brief them on changes that require action or special attention.
  • Organisational Leaders. Reviewing the new and changed areas and the key themes can provide insights and inspiration for developing the capabilities of your own organisation. Strategic workforce planning is key in aligning organisational capabilities to technology and business strategies.