Sectoral Qualifications Framework for Information Technology (SQF IT)

ITIT specialists are one of the most sought after professionals on the Polish labour market and their average salary is also among the highest. This encourages more and more young people to take up IT courses and prompts entrepreneurs to verify qualifications declared by candidates for work in IT. Therefore, descriptions of qualifications available under the Sectoral Qualifications Framework for IT will be certainly helpful in this respect.

Jarosław Ubysz of Altkom Akademia S.A., which designed the structure of the SQF for IT, admits that the widespread application of IT in various areas of life, which reflects the success of information technology on the labour market, has became a challenge for development of the framework. “IT is about provision of services. All sectors of the economy benefit from IT solutions which are applied everywhere: in banking, administration and manufacturing. IT has been harnessed by medicine and management. We were wondering which skills and competence are distinctive for IT and which for other areas,” he explains and provides IT project management as an example. “Such projects mainly require management, not specialist IT skills.” Jarosław Ubysz explains that identification of distinctive competences for information technology was vital to develop the structure of the SQF for IT.

“Information technology is about data processing, so central IT-specific competence includes software development and IT system management,” he adds.

The sectoral framework has been designed to level various professional qualifications which were allocated to Levels 4 through 7 (referenced to the Polish Qualifications Framework). Each level describes the scope of responsibilities a software developer or an IT administrator should be able to perform.

And so:
  • Level 4 – has the skills required to operate or develop software for a single personal or mobile device;
  • Level 5 – has the skills required to support a network of devices or multi-tier architecture software;
  • Level 6 – has the skills required to operate a data processing centre or a distributed system software;
  • Level 7 – has the skills required to operate a data computation centre or software of the entire IT system;
Therefore, the SQF for IT embraces qualifications which are specific only to the IT sector. Jarosław Ubysz stresses that new specialities may need to embrace qualifications from different areas. “A bank analyst should demonstrate IT as well as business and mathematical competence. We have identified only IT qualifications within the framework.”

The SQF for IT was the collaborative effort of Altkom Akademia S.A. and several dozen experts from more than thirty IT companies.

Most sought-after professionals include network specialists (accountable for design, maintenance and administration of IT networks, e.g. database administrators, administrators). IT is witnessing dynamic growth and qualifications in the sector are outdated just a fast. “Even thorough formal education – fairly uncommon in IT – is not sufficient. The attractiveness of the employee on the labour market is now largely driven by his or her informal education (postgraduate studies and training courses)”, adds Ubysz. This is how most IT professionals acquire professional qualifications and validate them by obtaining certificates required by employers. Currently, many large IT companies (which are usually multinational organisations) issue their own certificates that validate skills related to the practical application of their software and IT tools. “We do not know yet whether or not companies which have dominated the professional certificate market will be willing to have them registered within our Framework. We will wait and see,” adds Jarosław Ubysz.

IT is one of the fastest growing global sectors. Application of information technology enables organisations, countries and regions to accelerate social and economic growth. The number of IT companies has been growing in Poland for more than a decade. These are mainly small and micro-enterprises, although large multinational corporations are still the biggest players on the market. The value of the market has been estimated at EUR 4.1 billion in 2014, which secured it the second position. The Polish IT sector is growing dynamically compared to other countries in the region (Central and Eastern Europe) and the significance of IT services is increasing. Agnieszka Wojtczuk-Turek of Warsaw School of Economics quotes that one-fourth of GDP growth and 50 per cent of productivity growth in the EU is triggered by IT technologies. Annual investments in innovations made by the Polish IT sector stand at PLN 539.7 million, including PLN 356.7 million in R&D.

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