The Institute of Coding Accreditation Standard: Exploring the Use of a Professional Skills Framework to Address the UK Skills Gap

David Bowers*, Alan Hayes*, Tom Prickett*, Tom Crick*, Kevin Kevin Streater, Chris Sharp

*Corresponding author for this work

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

3 Citations (Scopus)
31 Downloads (Pure)


Computer science comprises a broad spectrum of subjects and specialisms, with a rich variety of undergraduate courses offered by universities in the UK and other jurisdictions. This breadth of provision presents challenges for employers considering employing graduates from such courses, particularly for small to medium enterprises (SMEs) who may not have the resources to provide graduate training programmes, and therefore need ‘work-ready’ graduates. To make appropriate job offers, such employers need to know both the topics studied and the skills/competencies accumulated by graduates.

This paper explores and evaluates the feasibility of benchmarking students’ achievements against an industry-led skills framework, Skills for the Information Age (SFIA), to distinguish between what graduates know, have done or are competent in. The approach taken was evolutionary prototyping, informed by expert review. The work generated an accreditation standard that could be implemented or used as a model to enhance an existing accreditation standard. In contrast to academic approaches to competency-based education, or abstract notions of generic skills, this work focused on defining an output standard expressed in terms of employer needs and expectations captured in the SFIA skills framework. We show how a course meeting the proposed standard would satisfy the UK benchmarks for an undergraduate computing degree. By badging SFIA knowledge and competencies, such a course would enhance its learning outcomes, offering clarity for employers and career benefits to students.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationUKICER '23: Proceedings of the 2023 Conference on United Kingdom & Ireland Computing Education Research
EditorsTroy Astarte, Faron Moller, Keith Quille, Seán Russell
Place of PublicationNew York, US
Number of pages7
ISBN (Electronic)9798400708763
Publication statusPublished - 25 Sept 2023
EventUnited Kingdom and Ireland Computing Education Research (UKICER) conference 2023 - Swansea University, Swansea, United Kingdom
Duration: 7 Sept 20238 Sept 2023


ConferenceUnited Kingdom and Ireland Computing Education Research (UKICER) conference 2023
Abbreviated titleUKICER'23
Country/TerritoryUnited Kingdom
Internet address

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