1 Title/current version

e-CF ( European e-Competence Framework) – Version 4.0.

2 The basics

The European e-Competence Framework, e-CF, is a reference framework for competences applied within the IT sector and a common language for IT-related knowledge, skills and attitudes.

3 Summary

The e-CF has been developed by the Workshop on IT Skills of the European Committee for Standardization (CEN), with contributions from a large number of IT and HR experts. The

development of the e-CF started in 2005 after recommendations from the European e-Skills Forum that national IT framework stakeholders and IT experts should consider developing a European e-competence framework. Version 4.0 of the e-CF was launched in January 2020. This latest version is recognized as an official European standard: EN 16234.


A competence is defined in the e-CF as a ‘demonstrated ability to apply knowledge, skills and attitudes to achieving observable results’.

Each of the 41 competences in e-CF 4.0 is described in four so called ‘dimensions’:

1.   The e-Competence Area taken from a simple IT process model: Plan – Build – Run – Enable – Manage

2.   A Generic Description in terms of the behavior showing the competence and the expected contribution at the workplace

1.   Proficiency Levels based on a mix of:

•  autonomy (from ‘being instructed’ to ‘making choices’)

•  context complexity (from ‘structured/predictable’ to ‘unstructured/unpredictable’)

•  behavior (from ‘able to apply’ to ‘able to conceive’)

2.   Knowledge and Skills examples that may be relevant for competence performance as described in dimensions 2 and 3


The e-CF proficiency levels, 1 to 5, are very similar to the levels 3 to 8 of the European Qualification Framework (EQF) used in formal education. For most competences in the e-CF only two or three levels are defined.


4 Target audience

The framework provides an international tool for:

•  IT practitioners and managers, with clear guidelines for their competence development

•  Human resources managers, enabling the anticipation and planning of competence requirements

•  Education, training and certification, enabling effective planning and design of IT curricula and assessment of professionals

•  Policy makers, professional organizations and market researchers, providing a clear and Europe-wide agreed reference for IT professionalism, IT skills and competences in a long-term perspective

•  Procurement managers, providing a common language for effective technical terms of reference in national and international bids


5 Scope and constraints

The e-CF supports the definition of job roles, career paths, professional development plans, learning paths and qualifications based on a shared common language and competence structure. It allows detailed profiling by defining profiles combining various competences. Measurement and assessment of competence using

the e-CF as a reference framework enables the identification of competence gaps at an individual, team or organizational level, and effective targeted training or recruitment.



Where job titles and job descriptions rapidly become obsolete in the dynamic and complex environment of modern organizations, competence is recognized as a more stable basis expressing capabilities required in the workplace.


As a reference framework, the e-CF can be aligned with HR instruments already existing in an organization, including other competence frameworks.



The e-CF descriptions of competences, describing behavior in the workplace, are easily misunderstood as describing roles in an organization. Using the e-CF, e.g. for role profiles, one has to keep in mind that the framework is just that: a framework. Guidance on how to use the framework can be found in Part 2, the User Guide.