SFIA Accreditation

SFIA Foundation Accreditation Scheme

The SFIA Foundation operates two types of accreditation – for individuals, and for organisations.  The category for individuals is further divided into 2 groups, and therefore 3 categories are covered by the SFIA Foundation scheme:

  • Category A: SFIA Accreditation for Individuals, for their knowledge and experience in using SFIA (including SFIA Practitioners, Consultants, Trainers and Assessors)
  • Category B: Certification for Professionals whose skills and competencies are described using SFIA, and wish to be recognised for their Knowledge, Skill and Competency
  • Category C: SFIA Accreditation for Organisations who use SFIA (including SFIA Partners of various types)

 

Category A: SFIA Accreditation for Individuals, for their knowledge and experience in using SFIA (including SFIA Practitioners, Consultants, Trainers and Assessors

Category A is for individual people, to demonstrate their knowledge and/or experience in using SFIA.

As a Global SFIA Accredited Training Provider, SkillsTx are authorised by the SFIA Foundation to issue certificates and credentials at ‘foundation’ level for those successfully completing accredited SFIA training.

Accreditation at other levels (Practitioner, Consultant etc.) is available from the SFIA Foundation. SFIA Foundation Accreditation

 

Category B: Certification for Professionals whose skills and competencies are described using SFIA, and wish to be recognised for their Knowledge, Skill and Competency

Category B is for individual people developing and practicing skills and competencies which SFIA describes.

The scheme recognises individuals for the following elements:

  • Knowledge
  • Skill
  • Competency

Each of the above is certified against either a particular SFIA skill at a level, or a SFIA level of responsibility attribute (Autonomy, Influence, Complexity, Knowledge or Business Skills) at one of the 7 levels in the SFIA framework. For example, an individual may be certified for their Competency against Complexity at level 3, or Knowledge against Programming/software development PROG at level 2.

The accreditation would be used by an individual to let others know about their capability, using SFIA as a recognised common international language for describing skills and competencies within their specialist domains.

Whilst the SFIA Foundation and any Certification Bodies involved in operating the scheme cannot guarantee or underwrite the performance of any individual, they can provide an independent view of their capability based on evidence provided.  This view should be of use to employers, managers or customers of professionals, aiding comparison and assessment of whether an individual has the appropriate knowledge, training and experience for tasks or roles they are asked to perform.

The scheme aims to certify that individuals for one or more of the following elements:

  • Knowledge: provide sufficient evidence that they possess the relevant knowledge appropriate to the SFIA element being assessed. A minimum cognitive level of “can explain” should be demonstrated, but a candidate may also meet the higher cognitive level of “can discuss”.
  • Skill: provide sufficient evidence that they have applied the relevant knowledge and performed the described activity at the performance level of “proficient in the skill” i.e. they can do what SFIA describes on their own without instruction.
  • Competency: provide sufficient evidence that they have applied the relevant knowledge and skills, and have significant professional experience of performing the activities described by SFIA in a professional working environment through the performance of a job, role or function. They must consistently achieve expected objectives and a successful result on an ongoing basis, reliably at a professional level. The experience in a professional working environment represents the difference between a demonstrated skill and demonstrated Competency.

As SFIA has experience at the heart, it is a competency framework. It also describes the skills, so is recognised as a skills framework. SFIA does not provide a body of knowledge for all the skills it defines, but knowledge and relevant elements of recognised bodies of knowledge can be mapped to individual SFIA skills and responsibility attributes.

A defined set of objective criteria are used to assess, verify and record individual’s capabilities in relation to the accreditation levels of the scheme.

 

Knowledge

 

The ability to explain the knowledge and use of knowledge relevant to the SFIA skills or responsibility attribute at the level being assessed.

SFIA Levels of Responsibility

Certification for Knowledge can be awarded against any SFIA responsibility attribute – Autonomy, Influence, Complexity, Knowledge or Business Skills, for example “Autonomy at level 2”.

Professional Skills

Certification for Knowledge can be awarded against any SFIA Professional Skill at any of the levels SFIA defines that skill, for example “Business risk management (BURM) at level 5”.

 

Skill

 

The ability to provide sufficient evidence that the applicant has applied the relevant knowledge and performed the described activity at the performance level of “proficient in the skill” i.e. they can do what SFIA describes on their own without instruction.

The issue of a certificate or digital credential for Skill should be viewed as demonstrating the individual has also met the criteria for Knowledge, and therefore anyone successfully assessed at this level will not need a separate certificate or digital credential for Knowledge for this same SFIA element.

Mandatory requirements

Failure to satisfactorily meet any of the following will result in the accreditation application being rejected.

  • Demonstrate practical experience of carrying out the activity described by SFIA (85% or more of the SFIA description)
  • Whilst instruction may have been given during the development of the skill, certification of achievement under this scheme requires that the activity has been carried out independently without instruction being given while performing the activity.
  • Activity successfully performed several times to the expected level of quality
  • Achieving the expected outcomes or deliverables
  • Evidence provided is recent, i.e. no longer than 7 years ago
  • Skill developed sufficiently as to be ready to apply this skill in a professional working environment

SFIA Levels of Responsibility

Certification for Skill can be awarded against any SFIA responsibility attribute – Autonomy, Influence, Complexity, Knowledge or Business Skills, for example “Autonomy at level 2”.

Professional Skills

Certification for Skill can be awarded against any SFIA Professional Skill at any of the levels SFIA defines that skill, for example “Business risk management (BURM) at level 5”.

 

Competency

 

Competence or Competency is defined as the “ability to apply knowledge and skills to achieve intended results”. However, the ISO/IEC 24773-1:2019 standard also notes that “results are defined with respect to tasks, functions or responsibilities which in turn are job/role/title-related. The word competency and competencies can be used as synonyms of competence and competences. Competence can be used to refer to general ability (e.g. overall competence), while competency can be used to refer to a specific ability (e.g. competency in design of user interfaces). The word competence is used in this document to refer to a general ability; and the word competency is used in this document to refer to a specific ability”. As a result of this distinction, this scheme uses the term ‘competency’ as the certification or digital credentialing relates to a specific SFIA skill or attribute rather than a more general ability.

The ability to provide sufficient evidence that the applicant has developed proficiency at a professional level through application of the knowledge and skill in a professional working environment. Applicants will have to demonstrate that they have met the mandatory requirements listed below, and that they are professionally competent due to significant experience in the workplace. Effectively, certification at this level is confirming that the applicant has demonstrated they have fully developed this skill or responsibility attribute at the certified level, and that their development is at a different level or in a difference skill or attribute.

This aligns with the requirements and notes stated in ISO/IEC 24773-1:2019 the international standard for “Software and systems engineering — Certification of software and systems engineering professionals”, which is based on, and builds upon ISO/IEC 17024:2012 the international standard for “Conformity assessment — General requirements for bodies operating certification of persons”:

  • Competence is related to the performance of a job, role or function by the professional. In order to accomplish all objectives (including performing actions, producing deliverables, or making decisions) of a job, the professional is deemed to possess competence. A given job or role may require more than one competencies.
  • However not all jobs in an industry or within a professional domain are identical. Jobs with similar titles and descriptions can vary in terms of their specific details, including activities performed, decisions made, artifacts produced and level of proficiency required. A certification scheme defines or declares a job, role or function which generally applies to the candidates. The scheme also defines, in more detail, the specific competencies and proficiency levels which it covers. Because each scheme defines the specific competencies it covers, certification schemes may be evaluated and compared more effectively by candidates and other stakeholders.
  • Competence involves the ability to apply knowledge and skills. In order to achieve a successful result on an ongoing basis (i.e. to demonstrate competence) with respect to the job, the professional is expected to apply sound judgement, make correct decisions, apply the appropriate skills and knowledge and make use of relevant professional attributes.
  • Competence for a professional indicates more than the ability to exercise only one specific skill or to produce a simple work product – it indicates that he/she performs consistently, succeeds in achieving the objective and is reliable at the professional level.
  • A certification scheme defines one or more competencies which are relevant to that job role or function.
  • The scheme can define the breakdown of the competencies covered into tasks/activities, so that candidates and other stakeholders can evaluate the scope and context of that certification scheme, and so that they can evaluate the scheme’s coverage of knowledge, skills and competencies as they apply to professionals performing the role or function within a particular domain.
  • Proficiency level (associated with each competency covered by a given scheme) indicates a degree or level expected for a particular competency.

The issue of a certificate or digital credential for Competency should be viewed as demonstrating the individual has also met the criteria for Knowledge and Skill, and therefore anyone successfully assessed at this level will not need separate certificates or digital credentials for Knowledge or Skill for this same SFIA element.

Mandatory requirements

Failure to satisfactorily meet any of the following will result in the accreditation application being rejected.

  • Demonstrate practical experience of carrying out the activity described by SFIA (85% or more of the SFIA description)
  • Provide evidence that this experience of performing the activities described by SFIA is in a professional working environment through the performance of a job, role or function
  • Activity has been carried out independently without instruction being given while performing the activity.
  • Activity performed several times or over an extended period of time (12-months or more)
  • Achieving the expected outcomes or deliverables
  • Consistently achieve expected objectives and a successful result on an ongoing basis, reliably at a professional level
  • Evidence provided is recent, i.e. no longer than 7 years ago

SFIA Levels of Responsibility

Certification for Competency can be awarded against any SFIA responsibility attribute – Autonomy, Influence, Complexity, Knowledge or Business Skills, for example “Autonomy at level 2”.

Professional Skills

Certification for Competency can be awarded against any SFIA Professional Skill at any of the levels SFIA defines that skill, for example “Business risk management (BURM) at level 5”.

 

Category C: SFIA Accreditation for Organisations who use SFIA (including SFIA Partners of various types

Category C is for organisations who use SFIA, either in providing consultancy or training services, in software products and solutions, mapping, rate cards, or other uses requiring a licence from the SFIA Foundation.

Licences and accreditation for organisations is available from the SFIA Foundation. SFIA Foundation Licensing