Tuesday, September 4, 2018

New Skills for the Information Age

Greetings from the Australian Computer Society Canberra Conference, where Louise Smith, ACS Director of Workforce Development & Planning and Education, is speaking on "Puzzle Out SFIA 7". This is about the new version 7 of the Skills Framework for the Information Age (SFIA). This is a very complex standard set of skills definitions for those in the computer industry. I used SFIA for designing the course Green Computing for ACS (or more accurately I defined the skills and then sent them to SFIA Foundation to put in the standard). One aspects that troubles me about SFIA, even in the new version, is the emphasis on business, rather than technical skills.

SFIA Version 7 has at level 7 a definition of knowledge:
"Has established a broad and deep business knowledge including the activities and practices of own organisation and a broad knowledge of those of suppliers, partners, competitors and clients. Fosters a culture to encourage the strategic application of generic and specific bodies of knowledge within own area of influence."
This definition refers specifically to "business knowledge", suggesting other forms of technical knowledge are not relevant. I suggest we need to acknowledge and reward technical skills at the highest levels in organizations. A modern organization depends on technology working reliably, securely and continuously. Failure of these systems can result in to the organization going out of business, as well as a loss of service to the community.

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