Draft | ESSA Educational Profiles for Software Roles

ESSA Educational Profiles for Software Roles

To reconcile the workforce requirements with the educational offerings, ESSA releases the next generation of educational profiles for software roles — Developer, DevOps expert, Solution designer, Test specialist, and Technical (software) specialist.

The profiles translate the employers’ skills need into educational terms. The competencies, skills, and knowledge required to succeed in a software professional role are integrated into a full set of measurable learning outcomes. ESSA makes available nine education profiles to cover five software roles at different qualification levels — ranging from Vocational Education and Training (VET) to Bachelor, to Master.


Who are these profiles for

  • For employers: The educational profiles guarantee that individuals who have completed them possess the competences needed to fill corresponding software roles. When recruiting or considering up-/reskilling pathways for employees, they are a helpful tool to evaluate job readiness and identify gaps.
  • For educational institutes: The educational profiles help align (existing) programmes with the new workforce requirements for software roles and increase graduates’ employability potential. When designing or updating programmes, they can be used flexibly to fill in the gaps in the educational offering by incorporating all or selected learning units.
  • For training providers: The educational profiles provide general training pathways to take up software roles. When delivering training, these can be made more specific and even personalised by assessing and complementing the learners’ base knowledge, skills, and competencies to fulfil their up-/reskilling and career prospects.
  • For software professionals: Staying up to date in the software industry is a lifelong learning experience. An educational profile helps you to compare your profile against the employers’ expectations for a software role and identify the learning outcomes to be completed to stay relevant.
  • For career changers and aspirant software professionals: Software is a booming sector, offering many career opportunities. The educational profiles can guide your decision-making process and allow you to self-evaluate and quickly identify the knowledge, skills, and competencies you need to successfully start a software career.

Next steps

The general educational profiles are the first step into the development of specific educational profiles focused on certain target groups, specific regional market needs, or educational institutions. Specific educational profiles could be the guiding star to developing an upskilling programme in DevOps for developers, a work-based full-time programme for students in software roles, or a reskilling programme for accountants to become developers for the FinTech industry…

Towards curricula, programmes, and training

Both the general and specific educational profiles are pieces of our puzzle. General educational profiles lead to general curricula in which general principles and methods like modularisation, build-up in complexity, and integration of work-based components are described. And this guides the development of specific curricula that are based on specific educational profiles.

Keep in mind that these specific curricula will be developed for specific learning settings which take into account the specific needs of the learners — like a full-time student or full-time worker who will have very different needs for example. You can find in ESSA’s Software Skills Strategy (draft report) the full information on our approach.

Cover picture by Ryoji Iwata on Unsplash.