The British Computer Society has launched a tool that will help employers create better job descriptions for their IT staff based on the BCS’ SFIAplus standard. Called IT Job Describer, the browser-based tool replaces ISM, which was sold in paper format from 1986 to 1996, and then as shrink-wrap Windows software until May 2004.

IT Job Describer has been developed with feedback from professionals in the IT industry, and in conjunction with BCS’ partner InfoBasis, which provides skills management software.

When asked to explain about the SFIAplus standard, a BCS spokesperson said: "SFIAplus is a skills, training and development standard for those working in IT. Fully integrated with the government backed SFIA (Skills Framework for the Information Age), SFIAplus is made up of a matrix of 78 skills on one axis and 7 levels on the other. Those working in IT can identify their skill(s) on the matrix and the level(s) at which they practise them. For each of these, SFIAplus provides a wealth of information about competencies, training, development and qualifications." The standard is maintained by the BCS calling upon the expertise of its members so as to ensure current best practices in IT, he added.

The tool is priced at £995 for a one year introductory licence. The BCS spokesperson also said that a number of price options are available to suit the various sizes and types of organisation.

"IT Job Describer will benefit both individuals and organisations by showing clearly what skills IT jobs require, and encouraging smarter deployment of professional staff," said InfoBasis CEO Ashley Wheaton.