Framework underpinning methodological choices

All involved stakeholders and experts are conscious that for the achievement of broad acceptance and use of the e-Competence Framework, intelligent links to other existing concepts and tools – both on national and international level – are vital.

The methodological phase of the framework development has taken this into account. The most important methodological choices and framework underpinning decisions are mentioned below.

Further details can be found in the following publications:

“Building the e-CF – a combination of sound methodology and expert contribution” (e-CF 3.0 CWA Part 3) – download

“Towards a European e-Competence Framework – a guideline for its development” (experts publication 2007) – download

“Towards a European e-Competence Framework” (Interim report to CEN and European Commission, October 2007) – download

Methodology overview

A European understanding of competence

As a first step, the experts achieved agreement on how to talk about ICT knowledge, skills and competences on a European level.

  • Taking into account the definition of knowledge, skills and competences within the EQF, the experts defined competence as “a demonstrated ability to apply knowledge, skills and attitudes for achieving observable results”. Consequently, the related descriptions will embed and integrate knowledge, skills and attitudes.
  • The item skill is defined as “ability to carry out managerial or technical tasks”. Managerial and technical skills are the components of competences and specify some core abilities which form a competence.
  • Attitude means in this context the “cognitive and relational capacity” (e.g. analysis capacity, synthesis capacity, flexibility, pragmatism…). If skills are the components, attitudes are the glue, which keeps them together.
  • Knowledge represents the “set of know-what” (e.g. programming languages, design tools…) and can be described by operational descriptions.

The framework structure

The structure of the European e-Competence Framework is based on four dimensions.

 Dimension 1 5 e-Competence areas, derived from the ICT business processes PLAN – BUILD – RUN – ENABLE – MANAGE
 Dimension 2 A set of reference e-Competences for each area, with a generic description for each competence. 32 competences identified in total provide the European generic reference definitions of the framework.
 Dimension 3 Proficiency levels of each e-Competence provide European reference level specifications on e-Competence levels e-1 to e-5, which are related to EQF levels 3-8.
 Dimension 4 Samples of knowledge and skills relate to e-Competences in dimension 2. They are provided to add value and context and are not intended to be exhaustive.


How to identify and populate ICT competence areas

The e-Competence Framework is based on competence areas and competences. The e-Competence areas, sets of competences clustered according to specific criteria, are the fundamental blocks of the framework and the main navigation aid to identify and describe competences. The two dimensions the experts agreed to consider for e-Competence area identification and population are:

  • ICT business and work processes to identify e-Competence areas and to construct the related sets of e-Competences (plan, build, run, enable, manage and related sub-processes, e.g. conceiving, testing, maintaining, supplying, improving)
  • ICT knowledge areas (e.g. microelectronics, networks, system integration) to help construct the core competences related to the e-Competence areas.

5 e-Competence proficiency levels related to the EQF levels 3-8

The recommendation of CWA 15515 to align the framework closely to the EQF categories has been followed in order to avoid inconsistencies between the EQF and the future European e-Competence Framework. However, as an industry-addressed competence framework needs descriptors for IT professional competence (not qualifications), it is not possible to use exactly the same level definitions. For this reason the experts needed to find a way to define the e-Competence levels according to the framework’s specific aims and target groups yet still in relationship with the EQF. Based upon a set of methodological decisions and choices (s. guidelines), the expert working group defined a five level structure which relates to the EQF as follows:

 e-Competence Level EQF Level
 5  8
 4  7
 3  6
 2  4 and 5
 1  3

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