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IT sector backs common language for skills and experience

e-skills UK has today published the IT Professional Competency Model – a new, sector-wide approach to expressing IT professional capabilities. This simple and flexible model represents a breakthrough in helping employers, educators and others to communicate using a common language and framework for skills, knowledge and experience.

The IT Professional Competency Model allocates the competencies IT professionals have – in other words, what they can actually do – into subject-based ‘disciplines’ and levels. The model also includes transferable skills, such as business and personal skills, which apply to all disciplines. It is based on extensive consultation with employers of IT professionals in all areas of the economy.

The model is now being adopted by employers and by the Professionalism in IT Alliance* as the basis for IT professional standards and development programmes.

Karen Price, CEO e-skills UK, said: “Professionalism in IT is linked inextricably to skills and competence. We need a common framework to define this which everyone can use and build on. The IT Professional Competency model will enable employers to understand clearly what someone should be able to do and the standard of performance they can expect - supporting recruitment, performance management and staff development, among other things. Individual IT professionals will be able to use the model to better clarify development needs, career paths and aspirations. Moving forward, the model will also inform the content of qualifications, education and training courses.”

Cabinet Office’s Katie Davis, director of the Government IT Profession, said: “There are nearly 50,000 IT professionals working across central government and the public sector in a wide variety of roles. They need and want a government-wide programme that sets high standards of performance and career development. The IT Professional Competency Model will help us deliver this. A common language for skills and experience is efficient, practical and of use to us all.”

Jeremy Beale, Head eBusiness group, CBI said: “e-skills UK is to be commended for developing the IT Professional Competency Model. Effective use of technology is key to competing in today's global economy, and companies need to take every opportunity offered by IT to enhance their productivity, efficiency and customer service. This model, and the development programmes that will underpin it, constitute a vital step in helping companies of all sizes and sectors to recruit and develop the IT professionals they need to build value in today's challenging and exciting global business environment.”

The IT Professional Competency Model is a ‘top layer’ view of capabilities that links through to skills and development structures including the Skills Framework for the Information Age (SFIA) and the British Computer Society’s Chartered Professional programme. It will also provide the framework for the creation of new development programmes and form the basis for qualifications reform and simplification.

David Clark, CEO, British Computer Society, a member of the Professionalism in IT Alliance said: “There is a growing need for structured development programmes for IT professionals, particularly in the light of offshoring and its impact on the UK’s IT skills ladder. BCS is working in partnership with e-skills on qualification reform and the IT Professional Competency Model will help organisations to plan and align development programmes and qualifications to an agreed common framework, ensuring they are fit-for-purpose and meet employer and individual needs.”

John Higgins, Chief Executive, Intellect, a member of the Professionalism in IT Alliance said: “The IT Professional Competency Model is designed to meet employer needs for a user-friendly external recognition of skills and experience. We are particularly encouraged that the model recognises that for today’s IT professionals business and interpersonal skills are often at least as important as subject matter expertise and technical skills. Employers need assessment of capability across all these areas.”

Désiré has been musing and writing about technology during a career spanning four decades. He dabbled in website building and web hosting when DHTML and frames were en vogue and started writing about the impact of technology on society just before the start of the Y2K hysteria at the turn of the last millennium. Following an eight-year stint at where he discovered the joys of global tech-fests, Désiré now heads up TechRadar Pro. Previously he was a freelance technology journalist at Incisive Media, Breakthrough Publishing and Vnunet, and Business Magazine. He also launched and hosted the first Tech Radio Show on Radio Plus.