“Automation Competency Model” is a competency framework guideline which explains what knowledge, skills, abilities and experience is required by a person to successfully perform in his occupation. Such competency models are developed through rigorous research and industry collaboration, and are maintained as well as improved over the years for the betterment of the industry and individual career.

In 2009, Automation Federation, an association of member organizations engaged in manufacturing and process automation activities, started working to develop preliminary model in collaboration with Department of Labor USA. Later, Subject Matter Experts continued to finalize and validate it against their own criteria, thus releasing the final version for pursuing career in Automation. In this regard, “Guide to Automation Body of Knowledge” by International Society of Automation, also primarily used for the Certified Automation Professional exam , was utilized to key in the basic structure of the model. Hence, this comprehensive model may be used by all the stakeholders such as industry, professionals and educators.

It can be seen in the attached picture that ACM comprises of various layers tied up to each other in a logical hierarchy finally leading to individual competency. Starting from lower tier, Personal Effectiveness Competencies or personal traits are the foundation of the model and essentially required in any profession such as Initiative, Personal Integrity and life long learning.

Next comes academic focused where an individual must have gone though basic sciences developing critical thinking and analytical skills. Level 3 focus on team work, business understanding, planning, understanding customer as well as market and utilizing various tools. This is the level which lays down the foundation of the automation domain for an individual progressing to broader vision thereafter.

Level 4 incorporates various functional expertise required in the diversified industry and market such as Design & Engineering, Construction, Operations, Maintenance including QA and HSE.

Once you are familiar with 4 No. of levels, you are now well placed to master a particular domain of automation including fundamentals. Level 5 defines various possible types of automation technologies as of minimum requirement for an individual to grip his profession. Higher levels lead to specialized areas with regard to application, business area and technology.

The requirement of developing competency model was also needed as couple of years ago it was generally a misconception that IT and Automation relates to same set of knowledge, skills and abilities. With the inception of this model, a clear guideline has been set not only for individuals & parents taking decision to pursue a career but it also helps industry and professionals to streamline their strategic goals in career development within the industry.

In this regard, Automation Federation has endeavored to streamline the path for the next breed of automation professionals. The Automation Federation is working to build strategic partnerships with academic, industry, government, and private groups that will expand the use of the Automation Competency Model globally.

With the increase of competitive pressure, industries need guideline and benchmarks to drive the productivity in an efficient manner. Hence, various organizations have already started to implement this model and set as benchmark for the formation of various plans and working criteria. An individual may also plan in regard to his long life career that is What to Learn, Where to Learn and When to Learn.


1. Automation Federation;

2. “Automation Competency Model helps guide future technical workforce” by Steve Huffmanpublished by Intech July 2015

AUTHOR: Asif Khokher is seasoned professional having 24 years of international and diversified experience in the field of Control Systems, SCADA and Solar PV for Power, Oil & Gas, utility and other industries serving with International Consultants, Contractors and Sub-contractors/Suppliers/System Integrator. He is currently based in Pakistan, and works as Consultant/Auditor/Inspector and Owner’s Engineer and can be reached at asif.khokher@innovasyses.com