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New SFIA framework highlights cyber security



New version of Skills Framework for the Information Age adds cyber element to range of descriptions and reduces emphasis on ‘IT’

Cyber security has been given a prominent position in the new version of the Skills for Information Age framework.

SFIA 6, developed by the SFIA Foundation, includes a series of updates on the previous version, including the introduction of two new skills related to security: digital forensics and penetration testing.

Matthew Burrows, the SFIA 6 design authority, said the changes reflect the changes in terminology and emergence of new technologies that influence the approach of organisations in looking to define and develop skills.

The transition document for SFIA 6 shows that explicit references to security have been added to the descriptions of several skills, including solution architecture, data management, systems design and change management. In addition, the three core skills of information assurance, information security and security management have all been updated.

Increase in number

Speaking at an event staged with the foundation’s partners BCS The Chartered Institute for IT and The Tech Partnership, Burrows said the overall number of skills listed has been increased from 96 to 97, with some being absorbed within others while new ones have been added. They are still broken down into six categories and graded up to seven levels.

Among the other updates are a reduced emphasis on the term ‘IT’, and an increased focus on ‘digital skills’, such as changing ‘marketing’ to ‘digital marketing’.

Asked what difference the new framework could make for public sector organisations in running transformation projects, Burrows said it would make it easier for users to find support on individual skillsets.

“The main difference is, because version 5 was delivered at the end of 2011, some of the terms were not in use and some people were looking at SFIA and asking ‘Does it cover all the skills that are needed?’” he said. “If you do a word search and it doesn’t cover ‘cyber’ the assumption is that SFIA doesn’t cover cyber security skills. There were in fact 26 skills that were relevant to information security, but they maybe didn’t use the right language.

“Some of it is just language, and some of it is something that wasn’t happening before. So the biggest difference is bringing it up to date.”

He added that the foundation has had discussions with the Government Digital Service about the possibility of linking SFIA 6 with the development of a GDS digital and technology skills matrix.

Framework support

The framework provides employers and practitioners with support to define the skills they need and use it in programmes and creating job profiles.

Adam Thilthorpe, chair of the SFIA Foundation and director of professionalism at the BCS, said: “The question that all organisations must seek to answer in today’s environment is whether they have the capability to disrupt themselves, before someone does it to them. SFIA provides a common language for us all to discuss our skills needs for the present and the future.”




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