The European e-Competence Framework
The European e-Competence Framework (e-CF) provides a reference of 41 competences as required and applied in an IT professional work context, using a common language for competences, skills, knowledge and proficiency levels that is applied and understood across Europe.
Published by the European Committee for Standardization (CEN) as the European Norm (EN)16234-1:2019, the framework is a major component of the European Union’s initiative for digital skills development.
The common language provided by the e-CF may be applied in practice across the entire European IT professional skills development landscape. IT organisations of all sizes, qualification providers of all types and policy makers on national and European levels can benefit from this shared reference to work together towards closing the digital skills gap.
User support documents on the e-CF application in practice are available:
- TR16234-2 User Guide for the application of the European e-Competence Framework
- TR16234-3 Methodology documentation
- CWA16234-4 Case Studies illustrating e-CF use from multiple IT sector perspectives
The user support documents are currently being updated by experts commissioned by the CEN and its technical committee TC428 ‘ICT Professionalism and digital competences ’.
Framework Concepts and Principles
|Dimension 1: |
5 e-Competence areas
|Derived from the IT macro processes PLAN –BUILD –RUN – ENABLE – MANAGE. They provide the entry point to the e-Competences and reflect a process perspective based upon the waterfall approach. However, the e-CF is equally relevant to the steps applied in agile process structures such as Agile/ DevOps lifecycles. |
|Dimension 2 |
41 e-Competences in total provide the European standard references of IT Professional competence as required and performed in IT work context. Each dimension 2 description contains a competence title and a generic competence description, defined from an organisational perspective.
5 e-CF proficiency levels
|5 e-Competence proficiency levels characterised by increasing levels of context complexity, autonomy, influence and typical behaviour. To each e-Competence, specifically relevant proficiency levels are assigned. The dimension 3 level descriptors provide the individual perspective of competence performance. |
knowledge and skills examples
Examples of knowledge and skills relate to the e-Competences generic descriptions in Dimension 2. These examples are provided to add value to the competence descriptor and are not intended to be exhaustive. They offer inspiration and orientation for the identification of further specific knowledge and skills assignment according to contextual needs.
The new EN16234-1:2019 version of the e-CF standard incorporates additionally the notion of transversal aspects that are relevant to successful peformance of all IT professional competences defined by the standard. Transversal aspects include, among others, Accessibility, Usability, Privacy, Security and Ethics and are applicable across all competences.
How to benefit from the e-CF in practice
The common European IT professional competence language provided by the e-CF can be used for many purposes. With well-founded relationships to other IT standards and career structures, the framework can be applied to IT services provision and IT professional development by public and private organisations, IT professionals, managers and HR departments, higher education, vocational education and training (VET), assessment and accreditation bodies, social partners, professional associations, market analysts and policy makers.
In this context, ITPE is offering e-CF briefings, and some application examples are provided for your inspiration below.
HR AND IT DEPARTMENTS can use the e-CF for IT strategy and HR planning, competence gap analysis, HR development and identifying training needs. Enhanced communication between the HR department and the IT professional staff is usually an added, positive effect.
QUALIFICATION AND CERTIFICATION STAKEHOLDERS can benefit from the e-CF for programme promotion, curricula development and relating learning outcomes to Competences. Increased transparency in the EU landscape, more flexible learning pathways, better marketing to students and employers as well as better understanding inside the organisation are among the positive effects.
IT PROFESSIONALS find a trustworthy, European reference in support of their CV, self-promotion and career development. Combined use with the European IT Professional Role Profiles can also greatly benefit the professional.
POLICY MAKERS get a trustworthy reference, a European benchmark and starting point for developing occupational standards as well as new skills alliances and strategies on local and international levels.
RESEARCH & CONSULTANCY can minimise their efforts when defining IT reference languages for their market analysis, salary ratings, foresight scenarios, and data-based analysis of talent and labour market. Using the shared European IT Professional competence language saves time, and efforts can be focused on handling the collected data.
ADDITIONAL BENEFITS CAN BE ACHIEVED BY ALL STAKEHOLDERS when combining the use of frameworks. For example, in an IT organisation, the e-CF and DigComp can be used together with a framework for behavioural skills to enhance pre-defined job profiles description. These job descriptions can easily be based upon the European IT Professional Role Profiles, avoiding starting from scratch or from a less sustainable description model. In an IT qualification environment, the e-CF and EQF can be beneficial for creating consistent links between qualification demand and IT competence supply.
Version EN16234-1:2019 of the standard, Annex B, provides a series of relationship reports showing the e-CF interfaces with EQF, ESCO, SFIA, IT Profiles. The recently published study DIGIFRAME shows how to make integrated use of the e-CF, ICT Profiles and other more specific existing industry standards, such as Swebok, ITIL and CMMI, in order to develop organisational capability and individual competences in tandem.
The e-CF was created and is maintained under the umbrella of CEN, the European Committee for Standardization. Inside CEN, the Technical Committee (TC) 428 ‘ICT professionalism and digital competences’ is in charge of keeping the e-CF standard maintained. Maintenance of the standard happens in the context of a larger TC 428 program, as outlined in detail in the TC 428 business plan
A new version of the e-CF was published in 2019, reflecting its relevance to competitiveness, transparency and convergence of the European IT Skills landscape in a global digital environment.
Get the e-CF
The EN16234-1:2019 – ‘e-Competence Framework (e-CF). A common European Framework for ICT Professionals in all sectors’ – can be acquired at the national sales points of the CEN member bodies. CEN national member bodies are, for example, AFNOR in France, ASL in Austria, NSAI in Ireland, BSI in UK, SIS in Sweden, SIST in Slovenia. Find your national organisation here.
FAQ’s about the e-CF