Why Use SFIA 7 for IT Skill Assessments?

Andy Andrews

Why do an assessment?

Before we start on why SFIA 7 is ideal for skill assessments, it is critical to have a clear understanding of why the assessment is being undertaken in the first place. Start with the end in mind. For instance, when assessing the skills of employees, what is the business objective for the assessment? How will the information be used? Is there a ‘point of pain’ that you are seeking to address? How does this undertaking relate to your organisation’s or the IT function’s business strategy?

Ensuring that the purpose of the assessment is clearly articulated will help to sustain sponsorship and buy-in for the assessment process, at an individual and at an organisational level, and will help to determine whether the purpose of the assessment has been met.


Here are some other good reasons for using SFIA to capture a person’s skills:

  1. The SFIA framework is a world-wide industry standard for defining the skills of ICT professionals. The wide acceptance of the framework makes it ideal for assessment purposes due to the consistent definition of the skills in whichever country, region or organisation it has been deployed.
  2. The framework structure itself is consistent. Each skill includes a name, a code, a simple description and levels of attainment. The skill level definitions are defined as demonstrable, action verb statements that serve as evidence indicators – highly important for subjective assessment purposes.
  3. Each skill also includes generic level descriptors with consistent attributes: Autonomy, Influence, Complexity, Knowledge and Business Skills. These attributes are easily understood not only by IT but also HR professionals who may use them for assessment purposes.
  4. The SFIA framework is used by the recruitment industry to develop clear and well-articulated job postings and descriptions, and by learning providers to map their training catalogues. For organisations using SFIA for assessment purposes, the ability to enhance internal and external recruitment processes and to identify learning solutions for employee development, make the framework a highly valuable resource.

What type of assessment?

Choosing a particular means of assessment will depend on a number of factors. For instance, an objective, test-based approach may work better for recruitment purposes but may not be as suitable as self-assessment and manager validation for existing employees – the latter being more conducive to building the rapport and relationship between the two parties.

Objective and subjective assessment types both have value and should be chosen according to the intended application for which the assessment is being undertaken.

Assessments can take several different forms; the following list is not exhaustive but refers to the some of the more common methods used for skill and competency assessment:

  1. Self-assessment
  2. Self-assessment with Manager Validation
  3. Multiple-choice Exams and Tests
  4. 360 Feedback
  5. Peer Assessment
  6. Manager Assessment
  7. Discipline-led / Expert assessment
  8. Performance Ratings
  9. In-depth Structured Interviews
  10. Competency based Interviews
  11. Assessment Centres
  12. Certifications/Qualifications

What next?

At Lexonis we are happy to discuss your SFIA assessment requirements, so have a chat with one of our SFIA Accredited Consultants.

Also, read more about the changes in SFIA 7 in our blog post ‘SFIA Version 7  – What’s all the Excitement About?’

The compelling reasons for IT skills management are greater than can covered in this blog (visit https://www.sfia-online.org/en/framework/sfia-7/sfia-and-skills-management for some more ideas).

Useful Resources and Links:


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