By Clare Naden
Standards touch all areas of our lives, so standards developers are needed from all sectors of society. New international guidance for the competences required of standards professionals has just been published to improve and harmonize the skills required and attract new talent into the standards community.
From company specifications to national, regional, and international guidelines, there are many types of standards and many thousands, if not millions, of standards professionals working on them. Although the work involved to develop them varies, there are many common skills required. Varying guidance exists, such as national qualifications programs in several countries and the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation’s APEC Education Guidelines for standards professionals No. 5 and No. 6.
Recognizing the need for international guidance, and to facilitate access into the standards development profession, ISO has now developed a two-part International Workshop Agreement (IWA) that sets out the competences for organizations worldwide.
IWA 30-1, “Competence of standards professionals – Part 1: In companies,” specifies the knowledge, skills, and attributes required of those working in standardization within companies; IWA 30-2, “Competence of standards professionals – Part 2: In standards-related organizations,” is applicable to those in organizations involved in any part of the lifecycle of standards. The documents cover the structure of tasks and sub-tasks, the common competences, the competences by task, and a career road map for standards professionals.
Donggeun Choi, chair of the ISO technical committee that developed the standards, said there are millions of jobs in standardization around the world, and newcomers to the standards community are always required.
“Standards are ever evolving as they are intended to respond to ever-changing market needs,” he says. “These standards will help new professionals enter into the world of standards and existing ones to refine and improve their skills.”
About the author
Clare Naden is news and communications specialist at the International Organization for Standardization (ISO).