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Software engineering competencies

A view of the SFIA competencies which are relevant to software engineering practitioners and managers.

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Why use SFIA instead of creating a standalone software engineering competency framework?

SFIA is the globally accepted common language for the competencies and competency levels related to information and communication technologies, digital transformation and software engineering. It has been adopted by governments, corporates, academic institutions, professional bodies, training provider and individuals in more than 180 countries.

  • It is regularly updated through a global, open and collaborative consultation process
  • It has a 20+ year provenance and track record of successful use. There is a large amount of content which is immediately available in SFIA
  • There is an established ecosystem and trusted infrastructure for creating, updating and publishing the content in multiple languages (these are costly and time-consuming activities for standalone frameworks)
  • The SFIA Foundation works collaboratively with the major industry professional bodies in all disciplines to encourage an industry-wide global approach for skills and competencies
  • A neutral approach – the SFIA Foundations a global not-for-profit organisation and is it is not exclusively aligned to  specific technologies, vendors or professional bodies

So for the software engineering profession; SFIA describes the specific competency needs of software engineering professionals while also acknowledging the similarities and overlaps with other professional disciplines.

This enables greater transparency across the skills supply chain and for all industry players - employers, educational institutions, professionals, professional bodies, service providers and their clients

  • Facilitating career paths into and out of software engineering roles
  • Developing academic curricula and training programmes to develop the competencies needed by industry
  • Ensuring individuals’ skills are not discarded/discounted because the skill happens to have the "wrong" name or doesn't use a particular industry jargon
  • Identifying ways to close skill gaps (for countries, industries, employers and individuals) by recognising the value of the existing skills of seasoned professionals as well as new entrants and mid-career professionals
  • Differentiating between software engineering competencies - and the knowledge of software engineering principles, techniques, specific programming languages and tools.
  • Enabling non-technical roles involved in talent management to understand the potential for reusable competencies and capabilities

Core software engineering competencies

These are the competencies typically needed by software engineering practitioners.

These are listed below and full descriptions of the competency at each level are available on the website - follow the link from each skill name.

  • Note that not all of the competencies listed are required by all software engineers
  • The set of competencies required depends on the nature of the employing organisation and/or the specific roles and responsibilities of the software engineers they employ.
SFIA skills-------------- Skill Levels --------------
Requirements definition and management REQM   2 3 4 5 6  
Systems design DESN   4 5 6  
Software design SWDN   2 3 4 5 6  
Programming/software development PROG 2 3 4 5 6
Real-time/embedded systems development RESD 2 3 4 5 6
Methods and tools METL     3 4 5 6  
Configuration management CFMG 2 3 4 5 6
Testing TEST 1 2 3 4 5 6
Systems integration and build SINT 2 3 4 5 6
Release and deployment RELM 3 4 5 6
Quality assurance QUAS 3 4 5 6
Measurement MEAS 3 4 5 6
Safety engineering SFEN 3 4 5 6
Application support ASUP 2 3 4 5

Software engineering management competencies

  • These are the competencies typically needed by managers of software engineering functions or teams.
  • These are listed below and full descriptions of the competency at each level are available on the website - follow the link from each skill name.
SFIA skills-------------- Skill Levels --------------
Systems development management DLMG 5 6 7
Project management PRMG       4 5 6 7
Quality management QUMG 3 4 5 6 7
Conformance review CORE 3 4 5 6
Safety assessment SFAS 5 6
Organisational capability development OCDV 5 6 7

Related enterprise IT competencies in SFIA

These are the competencies which are related to Enterprise functions and roles which typically support or interact with software engineering functions and team.

  • Many software engineering organisations and functions will find it useful to refer to and/or utilise some of these competencies.
  • This is particularly relevant in enterprise IT organisations which employ software engineers.
  • These are listed below and full descriptions of the competency at each level are available on the website - follow the link from each skill name.

SFIA skills

-------------- Skill Levels --------------
Business analysis BUAN      3 4 5 6  
User research URCH 3 4 5 6
User experience analysis UNAN     3 4 5    
User experience design HCEV   3 4 5
Solution architecture ARCH       4 5 6  
Data modelling and design DTAN    2  3 4 5  
Business process testing BPTS       4 5 6  
User experience evaluation USEV   2 3 4 5 6  
Service acceptance SEAC       4 5 6  
Change management CHMG    2  3 4 5 6  
Incident management USUP    2  3 4 5  
Problem management PBMG       3 4 5  
Portfolio management POMG         5 6 7
Programme management PGMG           6 7
Product management PROD     3 4 5 6  
Relationship management RLMT       4 5 6 7
Resourcing RESC       4 5 6  
Performance management PEMT       4 5 6  
Professional development PDSV       4 5 6  
Enterprise IT governance GOVN         5 6 7
Supplier management SUPP   2 3 4 5 6  7
Contract management ITCM   4 5 6  
Financial management FMIT       4 5 6  
Benefits management BENM         5 6  

Extended view of the SFIA competencies for software engineering.

The diagram below extends the view of software engineering to include the enterprise IT competencies (in red).

This is illustrative only and users are encouraged to review the full set of SFIA competencies to ensure a good fit to their organisational needs.

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