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A Systematic Approach for Assessing Workforce Readiness

August 2014 Technical Report
Christopher J. Alberts, David McIntire

In this report, the authors present the Competency Lifecycle Roadmap and the readiness test development method, both used to maintain workforce readiness.


Software Engineering Institute

CMU/SEI Report Number



Workforce effectiveness relies on two critical characteristics: competence and readiness. Competence is the sufficient mastery of the knowledge, skills, and abilities needed to perform a given task. It reflects how well an individual understands subject matter or is able to apply a given skill. Readiness is the ability to apply the total set of competencies required to perform a job task in a real-world environment with acceptable proficiency. A readiness test assesses an individual’s ability to apply a group of technical and core competencies needed to perform and excel at a job task. This report describes research into workforce readiness conducted by the Computer Security Incident Response Team (CSIRT) Development and Training team in the CERT® Division of Carnegie Mellon® University’s Software Engineering Institute (SEI). This report presents the Competency Lifecycle Roadmap (CLR), a conceptual framework for establishing and maintaining workforce readiness within an organization. It also describes the readiness test development method, which defines a structured, systematic approach for constructing and piloting readiness tests. Finally, the report illustrates the initial application of the readiness test development method to the role of forensic analyst.