An important step for Australian digital capability

The Australian Government has made the Skills Framework for the Information Age (SFIA) free for all Australians. Find out how your organisation can benefit.

SFIA is a global standard that defines digital and other ICT related skills, and Australia holds one of only 2 country-wide licenses in the world.

The APS Digital Profession works very closely with SFIA.

We spoke with Grant Nicholson, Capability Architect with the Digital Profession, who helped make the Australian SFIA license available, to learn how you can use it to improve digital capability in your agency.

SFIA is all about collaboration and innovation

SFIA is a global framework language for describing the skills digital practitioners need. It was developed in the United Kingdom and is now used around the world in 11 languages. Australia has the second-largest user base after the UK.

Many organisations have used SFIA in their workforce planning, recruitment, human resource management, skill recognition and capability development processes. You can use the framework anywhere to discuss or manage skills.

SFIA allows government, the education sector and private enterprise to work better together in building the digital capability in Australia and could even spur competitive innovation.
– Grant Nicholson, Capability Architect

SFIA saves effort and provides clarity

‘Without a framework,’ Grant explains, ‘you need to write a lot of words to accurately describe the skills you need to get a job done. SFIA contains all the details describing digital capabilities. This means if you need a certain capability, you can refer to the skills and levels you need from SFIA, and everyone knows what you are talking about. In just a few words, you can describe the main skill set for an entire job.’

SFIA is updated regularly to include new and emerging skills. The world-wide user base does this through an open ‘request for change’ process. They do the work for organisations to identify and define these capabilities to describe new job roles. This means SFIA will always be current and relevant – a benefit for all users.

In Grant’s opinion, ‘SFIA makes life simpler, easier, and clearer, because we are all using the same skill definitions and terminology. You can compare jobs and identify the capability differences between them really easily, and building career pathways is straightforward.’

There are a number of example role profiles provided on the SFIA website to use for inspiration and comparison. There are also a number of thematic views showing the family of SFIA skills typically used in certain disciplines like DevOps and Cyber Security.

More about SFIA

All SFIA details are available from the SFIA Foundation website, with no restrictions on use in Australia. However, there are some special conditions for:

  • multi-national organisations
  • companies selling products or services incorporating SFIA overseas
  • businesses profiting from products based on SFIA.

The SFIA-AU page on the Digital Profession website provides all the details.

The main SFIA website also contains resources for registered users. Registration is free, and users can submit change requests.

The country-wide license is valid until 30 June 2024.

An achievement for Australia

SFIA is a great framework and Australia has had a lot of influence over its development. There is an Australian representative on the SFIA Board of Governance, and Australian users actively submit change requests and participate in review and improvement activities.

If you are not familiar with SFIA, I highly recommend you take a look. It can transform the way you do digital capability and make life a whole lot easier,’ Grant advises.