Embedding Technical, Personal and Professional Competencies in Computing Degree Programmes

Tom Prickett*, Tom Crick, James Davenport, David Bowers, Alan Hayes, Alastair Irons

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contributionpeer-review


Many factors influence computing graduate employment prospects, including human capital, social capital, individual attributes, individual career-building behaviours, perceived employability, and labour market factors. Whilst most computing graduates go on to be beneficially employed, a small minority remain either under-employed or unemployed. Computing curricular recommendations increasingly advocate a competency-based approach to bolster graduates' perceived employability. Hence, the discipline is evolving to incorporate competency-based approaches. However, "Competency-based" can mean any of three different "kinds" of Competency: technical, personal and professional. "Technical Competency" is the ability to apply acquired content knowledge and skills to develop solutions to unseen problems. "Personal Competency" is the personal behaviours and interpersonal skills required for success in the modern workplace. "Professional Competency" is Technical and Personal Competency combined and applied in a real-world context.

This position paper provides illustrative examples of how to embed all three kinds of Competency. Based on examples from the undergraduate computing programmes at UK universities, it provides examples of embedding each kind of Competency: Technical Competency (teaching programming through craft computing and approaches for developing cybersecurity Competency), Personal Competency (teaching teamwork through project-based learning and creativity via problem-based learning), and Professional Competency (developing work-ready Competency using industrial placements, and co-delivery within industry via Degree Apprenticeships), providing a valuable foundation and framing for portability and extension in other institutions and jurisdictions. Furthermore, these distinctive types of Competency form a helpful taxonomy when considering how to embed Competency in computing courses and are candidates for inclusion within future computing curricula guidelines.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationProceedings of the 2024 Conference on Innovation and Technology in Computer Science Education V. 1 (ITiCSE 2024)
Place of PublicationNew York, US
Number of pages7
Publication statusAccepted/In press - 5 Mar 2024
EventACM Conference on Innovation and Technology in Computer Science Education (ITiCSE) - Università degli Studi di Milano., Milan, Italy
Duration: 8 Jul 202410 Jul 2024
Conference number: 29


ConferenceACM Conference on Innovation and Technology in Computer Science Education (ITiCSE)
Abbreviated titleITiCSE24
Internet address

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