Monday, April 19, 2010

Green Technology: Procurement and Compliance from Desktops to Data Centres

One interesting aspect of the SIFA discussion I am involved in Adelaide is that ICT skills include procurement and compliance, marketing, learning and development. My green ICT course explicitly references Procurement and Compliance. Perhaps I did the course a disservice by not highlighting these skills in preparing it. So renaming the Green course "Procurement and Compliance for Green Technology". From the marketing point of view, data centres are a hot topic, so a better name would be "Green Technology: Procurement and Compliance from Desktops to Data Centres".

Also it would be interesting to see some e-learning modules developed for marketing, learning and development. These skills tend to be dismissed by ICT technical people as being not worthy of their attention.

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SFIA for self assesment

Greetings from the University of Adelaide, where I am in the software engineering building with 17 people involved in the ACS Computer Professional Education Program. It was a little lonely yesterday, with only a few people around the building on a Sunday, but the campus is bustling today with students in academic gown for graduation. Appropriate for the occasion we are starting our deliberations today with a presentation from David Lindley on how to use Skills Framework for the Information Age (SFIA) for professionals to think about their own needs for development of their skills. David entitled his talk: "Know thyself" from Delphi "nosce te ipsum".

David argues that just as Linneaus professional skills. The produced a binomial classification scheme for plants, SFIA provides one for SIFA classification as two parts: one of 86 skill sets and 7 levels of responsibility. The ACS provides education and so SFIA can be used to describe what skill sets and at what level education is being provided. The ACS Computer Professional Education Program is at level 5 of SFIA in a wide, in a specified collection of skill sets. To relate this more widely, a university degree course would aim for level 4 and a postgraduate course at level 5.

SFIA also has a second set of binomial terms for generic skills. Unfortunately this is part of SFIA I am not familiar with and am not sure how it is used.

David claimed that SFIA has been shown to be use full in practice, even though there has not been a Charles Darwin to show that classifications in natural have scientific underpinnings. One worry I have with this is the scientific aura it gives the classification of job skills. I doubt that such a classification has any fundamental underpinnings. Also I worry that SIFA depends on an Information Technology Infrastructure Library (ITIL) view of ICT. There is a risk that the easily understood management aspects of ICT will be emphasised and the technicalities will be lost.

I used SFIA to develop the Green ICT Course Computer Professional Education Program. However, I used essentially as a shopping list of skills categories, without a detailed understanding (this technique was described by one of my colleagues as "reverse engineering" the course specification from SFIA). This proved useful in practice and using some framework was better than none. Also using an internationally agreed "Framework" impresses those accrediting courses. But I would like a little more about it.

In terms of the individual professional, David argued that they should aim for a small number of skills (2 or 3, up to 5 or 6). This is so as to differentiate the individual from others. The difficulty is to get the individual to identify a few skills, not dozens. He described a technique from Sheelagh Flowerday, an Accredited SFIA Consultant. The suggested method is to first prepare a wish list, which might be dozens. On a second pass select core skills.

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Thursday, January 08, 2009

Occupational Skills Profile Model

The Occupational Skills Profile Model (OSPM) from the Information and Communications Technology Council (ICTC) is an attempt to standardise skills and occupations in the Canadian ICT sector. It is similar to the UK's Skills Framework for the Information Age (SFIA). Unfortunately like SFIA, OSPM suffers from being a proprietary system which requires payment of a fee to use. It also suffers from excessively large and complicated documents. "Occupational Skills Profile Model: A Foundation for the Future" is 544 pages (10.6 Mbytes) of PDF. ICT is a global business and it seems unlikely there is much difference between the jobs in the UK, Canada or anywhere else. Those doing OSPM and SFIA need to pool their resources and provide something we can all use in a format we can use.
The Occupational Skills Profile Model (OSPM) was developed by the Software Human Resource Council (SHRC) to standardize skills and occupations in the Canadian ICT sector, the public sector and educational institutions. It is the foundation for identifying, recruiting, retaining and retraining workers, and is recognized as the national standard for describing ICT occupations in Canada. ...

The 36 current occupational profiles defined by the OSPM include software and hardware occupations to be compared across industries and over time, and give employers the ability to target and address skills gaps within their organizations.

... skills are grouped into five areas:

• Technical/Functional Skills
• Business and Management Skills
• Personal/Interpersonal Skills
• Software/IT Environments
• Hardware Environments ...

From: "Occupational Skills Profile Model: A Foundation for the Future" , Reference Manual Version 3.0, Information and Communications Technology Council Inc., Ottawa, Ontario, Canada, 2007

ps: The ACS uses SFIA for its courses and I had to come to grisps with it for the Green ICT course.

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Thursday, August 21, 2008

International Alignment and Accreditation of Australian ICT Courses

In its August 2008 newsletter, the ACS announced that some of its online postgraduate Computer Professional Education Program has been revised to incorporate the Skills Framework for the Information Age (SFIA) competencies. Also the International Federation of Information Processing (IFIP) held an accreditation assessment of the ACS for the International Professional Practice Partnership (IP3) , with a result expected in September at the 20th World Computer Congress (WCC 2008).

Charles Hughes, Chairman, International Professional Practice Partnership (IP3) is one of the keynote speakers for WCC 2008. IP3 is intended to provide international professional standards for ICT people.

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