IT Career Matrix and Development of a Certification Roadmap
Continuing on from the work commenced in 2010, the “Development of a Certification Roadmap for IT Professional Certification” project aims to devise professional development paths for our IT professionals.
The project is sponsored by the OGCIO and supported by many highly respected individuals from major IT professional bodies and Hong Kong’s IT industry. We would like to take this opportunity to thank them for their generosity in spending their time and contributing their expertise to the project.
The main objective of the project is to develop a Certification Roadmap that can guide the advancement of an IT professional from one level of proficiency to the next with available certification information. A generally recognized Professional Proficiency Matrix will be devised for each IT discipline, which will form the basis of the Roadmap. With the Roadmap, and the Matrix, our IT professionals can plan their career development; our employers can define precisely the skills and experience required for their recruitments; our professional bodies can identify gaps in professional qualifications and therefore develop the most meaningful certifications; and our schools and professional course providers can have a good yardstick for the design of program curricula and continuing professional development materials.
The Roadmap and the Matrix can also provide a framework for the cross recognition of certifications with professional bodies overseas and help our government to rationalize what and when to support development projects of further qualifications.
The project is led by our Project Director Ms Theresa Lui in conjunction with the Project Steering Committee. An industry panel with representatives from major IT professional bodies along with Expert Groups with members from key IT disciplines, are working with HKU SPACE (the Research Team) to develop the Matrix and Roadmap. The project is completed by 2011.
The Development of a Certification Roadmap for IT Professional Certification project was initiated by HKCS and officially gained the green light from OGCIO on the 4th of June 2010 after clearance of various queries and provision of supporting documents.
This project aims to prepare a concise and easily understandable roadmap for qualifications for IT professionals. Such a roadmap is beneficial to the IT industry, its workforce and customers in view of the diverse range of certifications, accreditations and qualifications available for IT professionals now.
This project will define a professional proficiency matrix by proficiency level for each of the generally recognized IT disciplines. The matrix will define at a high level, professional profiles for each title and include a certification roadmap that guides the advancement of IT professionals.
HKCS is the project owner and take the lead in implementing the project. Professionals from across the IT industry have contributed to this project as members of the Steering Committee, Industry Panel and Expert Groups. The project would not be successful without their support and insights, and the Project Team would like to express sincere gratitude to those professionals.
- To develop a Professional Proficiency Matrix (the Matrix) by level of proficiency for each stream of IT disciplines generally recognized in Hong Kong;
- To define the profession profile needed to achieve certification for each title in the Matrix;
- To develop the Certification Roadmap (the Roadmap) based on the Matrix. The Roadmap shall provide guidance for IT professionals to advance from one level of proficiency to the next with indication on availability of certifications locally or internationally;
- To record, analyze, understand and confirm the needs and acceptance of these certifications, by conducting a survey and follow-up interviews, with stakeholders of the IT Industry of Hong Kong (the Industry);
- To prioritize and develop a Rollout Plan (the Plan) for filling any gaps (qualifications without any certification provider) related to the IT Professional Certification in Hong Kong;
- To establish a Review Committee and develop the Review Process for the continuing review, refinement and expansion of the Matrix and Roadmap;
- To obtain Industry input, support and buy-in on the development of the Matrix, Roadmap and Plan;
- To publish and promote the recommended Roadmap and Plan to the Industry.
- Allow members of the IT profession to plan their career development;
- Allow employers to define precisely the skills and experience required in their recruiting efforts;
- Allow professional bodies to identify what gaps there are in professional qualifications and therefore the most meaningful certifications to be developed;
- Provide a good yardstick for the accreditation of school curricula and design of continuing professional development materials;
- Provide a framework for future initiatives to promote cross recognition of certifications with professional bodies overseas;
- Help Government to identify focus areas for supporting the development for further qualifications.
The deliverables of the project will include the following:
- A Matrix by level of proficiency for each stream of IT disciplines generally recognized in Hong Kong;
- A high-level definition of the profession profile (including roles, responsibilities, experience and competencies in accordance with local requirements) for each title defined in the Matrix;
- A Roadmap with guidance for advancement from one level of proficiency to the next within an IT discipline or across disciplines as well as availability of local or international certification for each title;
- A Review Committee for the continuing review, refinement and expansion of the Matrix and Roadmap;
- A market research to understand and confirm stakeholders’ needs and acceptance of existing and/or new certifications required in their business operation and/or professional practice;
- A Plan for rollout of new certifications currently without any provider;
- Three public consultation sessions in public forum format;
- A publication of the result of the market research;
- A promotion campaign (including the production of a video, a press conference and road shows) to inform the Industry of the recommended Roadmap and Plan;
- A financial audit of the project expenses.
In view of the multitude of qualifications awarded by different bodies, covering different IT professional disciplines, skill levels and experience, there is an initiative for the ICT Industry to prepare an IT Career Matrix and a roadmap for professional qualifications for IT professionals.
New certification titles being conceived in the future must (1) satisfy the immediate and/or most important needs of the IT industry of Hong Kong and (2) not duplicate those already offered locally or internationally to ensure maximum benefits and to avoid duplication of resources.
The matrices and roadmap developed aim to be multi-purposeful and benefit students, IT practitioners, employers, professional bodies, academic and training institutions as well as the Government by providing clear guidelines and benchmarks for the IT industry as a whole. In particular it will allow IT professionals to plan their career development more effectively and certification providers to develop certifications that focus on satisfying the requirements of the Industry.
For this reason, a “Development of a Certification Roadmap for the IT Professional Certification” project was initiated by HKCS and partial funding sponsorship has been obtained from OGCIO.
A 3 x 7 generic job titles matrix was first developed to identify the generic job responsibilities for 7 job categories at 3 competency levels. The 3 competency levels are (1) Master (2) Specialist and (3) Practitioner. The 7 job categories are (1) Software Engineering/Software Development (2) Quality Assurance (3) Project Management (ICT) (4) IT Architecture (5) Service Management and Operation (6) Information Security and (7) Multimedia.
To complement the 3 x 7 generic job titles matrix, a corresponding competency standards matrix was developed. It serves to identify the task competencies required for each job category at each of the 3 levels. It is based on the complexity, the scale and the unprecedented challenges inherited in a job in addition to the needed industry-specific knowledge, professional skills and soft skills.
In order to create the Certification Roadmap, a review of approximately 1,000 existing local and international IT-related certifications was completed. Based on this review, a mapping exercise and gap analysis was conducted to analyze whether any “gaps” exist in the coverage of certifications for the full spectrum of IT jobs. The mapping was done by comparing the competencies of each job category at each competency level to the knowledge requirements of each certification. If the knowledge required by a certification can fulfill such a competency, then a ‘match’ is indicated for that competency. Outcome can be (1) largely equivalent (2) somewhat relevant (3) significantly different.
Based on the research, it is observed that most of the job categories appear to have at least one available certification which is largely equivalent to acknowledge the competency required. As such, it is suggested that no heavy effort is required to develop new certification for most of the job categories. Exceptions are Quality Assurance at Practitioner level and Multimedia at Master level.
There is no available UoC for the category of Multimedia for the time being. This is a fast emerging job category, it is suggested that relevant competency standards can be defined by HKQF as soon as possible so that relevant certification can be created and appropriate resources can be allocated to develop more professionals in this area.
In order to ensure that the findings from the various matrices and gap analyses derived are useful to those in the industry and the public, the report should not be a “snapshot”, but rather a continual process so that findings stay relevant and sustainable to the IT industry over time. As such, a periodic review of available certifications is required. To do this, HKCS will set up a Review Committee and develop a review process for continual review, refinement and expansion of the Matrix and Roadmap.
In addition, continuous efforts were made to strengthen collaboration opportunities between Hong Kong and the Mainland on whether cross and reciprocal recognition of certification is feasible. Continuing efforts will be made towards the alignment of the suggested 3 x 7 matrix with those certifications in the Mainland. Certificates issued in the Mainland are primarily technically-focused and shall be able to fill the lack of certification at the technician level in Hong Kong. On the other hand, it is suggested to have additional publicity in the Mainland about the Hong Kong certifications which are more focused on professional development at higher levels. This is complementing to the current certifications in the Mainland on developing their professional and soft skills.
As described, this Roadmap project consists of extensive research on existing certificates and provides information about the availability of existing certificates against each of the levels within the job categories, however, it is not about validating, evaluating or endorsing any existing certifications. Any potential ‘gaps’ in the certification spectrum can be further explored by relevant stakeholders for appropriate actions.
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For the details of each title, please refer to Appendix A2 and Appendix B as below.
- 2011/12/16 – Roadmap Research Project Public Announcement
- 2011/06/25 – 2nd and 3rd Consultation Sessions
- 2010/08/21 – 1st Consultation Session
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HKCS Roadmap Secretariat
Tel: 2834 2228
Fax: 2834 3003
Address: HKCS Roadmap Secretariat, Hong Kong Computer Society, LG1, 78 Tat, Chee Avenue, Kowloon Tong, Hong Kong