Principal Application Operations Engineer


A principal application operations engineer owns the application strategy and leads on resourcing, learning and development for their team.

At this role level, you will:

  • have expert technical understanding
  • be accountable for vendor and supplier management
  • potentially manage and maintain certain aspects of an application (depending on the complexity and size of a project, and the likely impact it will have on the business)


Background Components

Description Background
Demonstrates good oral and written communication skills. Has a comprehensive understanding of the business aspects of the application(s) supported, a thorough knowledge of the technical aspects of the application system(s) and the hardware and software environment(s) in which they run. Prior Knowledge and Skills
Understands the concepts and practices of human resources and people management. Is familiar with processes and procedures of performance management. Is capable of planning small assignments and organising their own and their team’s work effectively.

Demonstrates a responsible and disciplined approach, even under pressure. Has good communication and negotiation skills. Understands the legal and best practice requirements of human resource management. Has a positive attitude towards diversity principles.

Prior Knowledge and Skills

Work Activity Components

Title Details
Application support requests Ensures that requests for support are dealt with according to agreed standards and procedures. Ensures all work is carried out and documented in accordance with required standards, methods and procedures and that any applicable configuration management procedures are adhered to.
Application maintenance Provides oversight of, and technical expertise to, routine and non-routine applications maintenance tasks.
Performance monitoring and improvement Manages performance monitoring and corrective actions to improve business performance.
Request progress Ensures that users and other interested parties are kept informed of progress, that escalated requests receive priority attention, and corrective action is taken to avoid or minimise delays.
System enhancements Initiates action, by systems development staff or software suppliers, on the development of system enhancements to overcome known problems or further fulfil user requirements.
Advice and guidance Provides advice and guidance on application security, licensing, upgrades, backups, disaster recovery needs, etc, to colleagues as required.
Processes and procedures Puts in place and maintains procedures and tools for the correct recording and progressing of requests for support. Ensures that appropriate application support tools are available and staff are trained to use them, and that adequate documentation for the applications supported is available and kept up to date.
New software releases Accepts new releases of applications software from systems development staff or software suppliers.
Implementation and controls Ensures implementation of information, and records management policies and standard practice, ensuring that information is protected, available and accessible, and can be retrieved as required. Complies with all relevant information and data security policies and procedures.
Awareness Maintains a high level of understanding of the tools and methods used in the organisation and is active in seeking new innovations that could benefit to the organisation.
Methods and tools selection Evaluates and selects appropriate methods and tools in line with agreed policies and standards. Contributes to organisational policies, standards, and guidelines for methods and tools.

Implements methods and tools at programme, project and team level levels including selection and tailoring in line with agreed standards.

Development needs Determines development needs for a professional practice area. Aligns development activities with organisational priorities, learning and development strategies and career pathways.
Communities of practice Promotes the establishment and ongoing development of one or more community of practice (CoP). Encourages participation and ensures alignment with organisational needs.
Lead, manage and supervise Supervises, supports and guides the work of individuals and/or small groups in line with organisational strategy.
Probationary period and contract Defines and supervises probationary periods, setting out the requirements of the job, monitoring progress (e.g. regular interviews) and reacting to variances from expectations, organising training and development as required within appropriate timescales.
Work allocation, support and delegation Allocates routine tasks and assigns project work to individuals, according to their particular skills, capabilities, and development needs.
Guidance, performance and feedback Provides direction, support and guidance as necessary, in line with individual’s skills and abilities setting appropriate and effective boundaries. Sets achievable goals, monitoring and acknowledging performance and supporting individual and team development. Collects data on individual and team performance. Gives regular feedback to team members and leads them to
Formal appraisals Conducts formal appraisals of the performance of team members. Facilitates a dialogue with team members about expectations, progress, performance and development needs.
Empowerment and role model Facilitates effective working relationships between team members. Motivates team members to maintain a high level of performance. Engages with and empowers team members. Acts as a role model for individuals and team members, setting a standard, acting professionally at all times and working to a professional code of conduct and ethics.
Team dynamics Integrates staff into teams to perform packages of work, taking account of individual and team capabilities. Considers the importance of skill mix within teams and is sensitive towards team dynamics.
Policies, standards, processes and guidelines Contributes to the creation and maintenance of policy, standards, procedures and documentation for security, taking account of current best practice, legislation and regulation.


Knowledge/Skills Components

Title Depth Details Type
Conceptual Thinking Acquiring understanding and insights regarding the underlying issues in complex problems or situations through the development of abstract representations, the identification of patterns and the analysis of hypotheses. Behavioural Skills
Information Acquisition Identifying gaps in the available information required to understand a problem or situation and devising a means of resolving them. Behavioural Skills
Flexibility Taking account of new information or changed circumstances and/or business requirements and modifying response to a problem or situation accordingly. Behavioural Skills
Planning and Organisation Determining a course of action by breaking it down into smaller steps and by planning and resourcing each of these, making allowance for potential problems and escalating if necessary. Behavioural Skills
Decision Making Making decisions at the appropriate time, taking into account the needs of the situation, priorities, constraints, known risks, and the availability of necessary information and resources. Behavioural Skills
Cross-Functional and Inter-Disciplinary Awareness Understanding the needs, objectives and constraints of those in other disciplines and functions. Behavioural Skills
Interacting with People Establishing relationships, contributing to an open culture and maintaining contacts with people from a variety of backgrounds and disciplines. Effective, approachable and sensitive communicator in different communities and cultures. Ability to adapt style and approach to meet the needs of different audiences. Behavioural Skills
Influence, Persuasion and Personal Impact Conveying a level of confidence and professionalism when engaging with stakeholders, influencing positively and persuading others to take a specific course of action when not in a position of authority. Behavioural Skills
Teamwork Working collaboratively with others to achieve a common goal. Behavioural
Providing Direction Directing others to undertake specified tasks within a defined timescale. Behavioural
Follow-up and Monitoring Checking progress against targets, taking action to resolve exceptions/ issues and reporting and escalating where necessary. Behavioural Skills
Application Systems Proficient in Technical or functional understanding of Commercial Off-the-Shelf (COTS) applications and/or other bespoke software deployed within the organisation in order to provide system configuration, audit, technical, and/or functional support. Technical Knowledge and Skills
Application Development Tools Proficient in Software tools which automate or assist part of the development process. Technical Knowledge and Skills
Information Retrieval Tools Proficient in The application of automated (software) tools that enable selective access to information, or extraction of patterns and knowledge from large amount of data, typically held within some form of database or data warehouse. Also referred to as Technical Knowledge and Skills
National/International Standards Proficient in Current and emerging standards associated with IT practice nationally and internationally, published by authorities such as IEEE, IEC, BSI, ISO. Technical Knowledge and Skills
Operating Systems Proficient in System software that controls activities such as input, output, dynamic resource allocation, and error reporting, within the operation of a computer configuration. Technical Knowledge and Skills
Programming Languages Proficient in A set of codes and syntax (supported by software tools) that enables the unambiguous translation of specified functionality into source code for the creation of computer programs. Technical Knowledge and Skills
Corporate, Industry and Professional Standards Proficient in Applying standards, practices, codes, and assessment and certification programmes relevant to the IT industry, and the specific organisation or business domain. Technical Knowledge and Skills
Operational/Service Architecture Proficient in Knowledge of the IT/IS infrastructure and the IT applications and service processes used within own organisation, including those associated with sustainability and efficiency. Technical Knowledge and Skills
Access Control Systems Familiar with Any tool or system which provides security access control (i.e. prevents unauthorised access to systems). Technical Knowledge and Skills
Development Approach Proficient in Understanding and application of different development approaches e.g. iterative/ incremental methodologies (Agile, XP, TDD, SCRUM) or traditional sequential methodologies (Waterfall or V-Model). Irrespective of development methodology a DevOps approach may also be taken where development and operational staff work collaboratively. Technical Knowledge and Skills
Infrastructure/System Security Proficient in The security threats and vulnerabilities that impact and/or emanate from system hardware, software and other infrastructure components, and relevant strategies, controls and activities to prevent, mitigate, detect and resolve security incidents affecting system hardware, software and other infrastructure components. Technical Knowledge and Skills
DevOps Proficient in The collaborative approach consisting of agile practices, processes, and procedures designed to facilitate rapid IT service and product delivery. DevOps emphasizes people (and culture) and seeks to improve collaboration between development (Dev) and operations (Ops) teams with the aim of shortening the systems development life cycle to provide continuous release of high-quality software. Technical Knowledge and Skills
Customer Service Techniques Expert in Techniques for identifying, gathering and validating customers’ needs in the delivery of IT services. Other Knowledge and Skills
Function or Department Operations Proficient in The activities, structure, and position in the organisation of the functions or departments for which services are provided. Other Knowledge and Skills
Presentation Techniques Familiar with Methods and techniques for delivering effective and accessible presentations, either face-to-face or online within various contexts and to a variety of audiences. Other Knowledge and Skills
Appraisal Techniques Familiar with Methods and techniques for appraising an individual’s performance and potential. Other Knowledge and Skills
Budgets Aware of Principles, methods, techniques and tools for the preparation and monitoring of budgets to manage costs and ensure cost-effectiveness and value for money. Other Knowledge and Skills
Risk Management Proficient in Methods and techniques for the assessment and management of business risk including safety-related risk. Other Knowledge and Skills
Techniques for Effective Meetings Proficient in Methods and techniques for running effective meetings and for understanding and influencing the roles played by participants. Other Knowledge and Skills
Coaching Techniques Familiar with Methods and techniques for coaching individuals or groups by a balanced combination of support and direction, including use of virtual learning environments plus add-ons to augment feedback specific to work items, workflow or career plans. Other Knowledge and Skills
Project Planning and Control Techniques Familiar with Methods and techniques associated with planning and monitoring progress of projects. Other Knowledge and Skills
Own Organisation’s Learning and Development Procedures Familiar with The procedures used within own organisation for staff learning and development. Other Knowledge and Skills
Resource Allocation Familiar with The effective and efficient routine deployment of resources, (but also including reassessment and reallocation in a dynamic multi-project environment), to achieve optimum results. Other Knowledge and Skills
Performance Monitoring Familiar with Identifying, agreeing and monitoring (usually by face-to-face interviews) objectives and deliverables with individuals. Identifying under-performance issues against agreed quality standards and performance criteria. Identifying gaps in capability and causes, disciplinary or ability-related (needing assistance, training or other support). Other Knowledge and Skills
Disciplinary Issues and Procedures Familiar with Managing episodes of unsatisfactory behaviour or performance in accordance with appropriate policies and legislative conformance. Includes changes to circumstances, such as sickness, disability and other personal issues. Other Knowledge and Skills
Team Dynamics Aware of Knowledge and understanding of the psychological and environmental forces that influence the direction of team behaviour and performance and the tools and techniques to improve team cohesion and performance. Other Knowledge and Skills
Information Assurance Proficient in Information assurance methods, tools and techniques (including the Caldicott Principles) used to protect the integrity, availability, authenticity, non-repudiation and confidentiality of user data and manage the risks related to the use, processing, storage, and transmission of information. Other Knowledge and Skills

Training Activities

Training Components

Title Details
Service Delivery The service delivery processes: the systems, products, services, hardware and software environment.
Program Design Methods and Programming or system development methods (e.g. structured program design).
Stakeholder Relationship Management Negotiation, presentation and engagement skills to adapt and address the needs of different stakeholders to develop and maintain strong stakeholder relationships.
Systems Development Systems development, including development life cycles and methods, organisation interfaces, typical corporate application architectures, project and programme management, risk management and change control.
Advanced Programming Methods and Techniques Complex methods and techniques for the creation of program code. Typically for use in scientific calculation, for improving operational efficiency of programs or for enhancing the productivity of experienced programmers.
Infrastructure Hardware and System Software Hardware, communication networks and system software that provides the organisation’s IT infrastructure; features of the infrastructure that need to be taken account of in hardware/software installation, with due attention to sustainability impacts e.g. back-up and recovery, virtualisation techniques to optimise efficient energy use of system hardware components, load sharing in communication networks; availability and use of Cloud services.
Coaching Concepts, methods and techniques for providing coaching in subject specialisms to individuals or groups (e.g. GROW model).
Data Protection and GDPR Data protection legislation, regulatory framework and compliance, including GDPR (General Data Protection Act).
Mentoring Methods and techniques for providing mentoring support to less experienced individuals.
Security Awareness Tools and techniques to help users and employees understand the role they play in helping to combat information security breaches and for IT and security professionals to prevent and mitigate risk.
Health and Safety Understanding statutory health and safety requirements relating to the working environment and/or the tools and techniques to promote, communicate, implement and maintain a health and safety culture.


PDA Components

Title Details
Deputising Standing in for supervisor or manager on a temporary basis during periods of absence.
Job Shadowing and Special Assignments Undertaking temporary periods or secondments in other roles, inside or outside IT, particularly those that offer a new perspective on own function or exposure to other environments and cultures.
Project Assignments Participating in a project team, working group or task force established to deliver a solution to a specific problem or issue – especially valuable if the group is inter-disciplinary.
Mentoring Acting as a mentor, advising those for whom there is no direct responsibility, on matters to do with their job role, career and professional development.
Research Assignments Exploring a topic which is not part of own normal responsibilities and presenting findings to colleagues and/or management
Gaining Knowledge of Broader IT Issues Increasing and maintaining currency of knowledge of broader IT issues through reading, attending and participating in seminars or conferences, special studies, temporary assignments etc.
Gaining Strategic Knowledge of Employing Organisation Developing a comprehensive understanding of the business environment in which the employing organisation operates and its position, policies and direction in relation to industry, country and global issues.
Participation in Professional Body Affairs Taking an active part in professional body affairs at branch, specialist group, committee or board level.
Negotiating and Influencing Undertaking learning and practice of negotiating with and influencing others.
Management Development Undertaking learning and best practice of the skills appropriate to managing all or part of an organisation, including business and financial management, benefits management, people management, management of change and strategic planning. This will require both on and off the job learning and may include participation in an appropriate development programme such as MBA or DMS (Diploma in Management Studies).


Qualification Components

Title Awarding Body
ITIL 4 Specialist Drive Stakeholder Value (Managing Professional AXELOS
ITIL 4 Strategist Direct, Plan and Improve (Managing Professional / Strategic Leader Module) AXELOS
Chartered IT Professional (CITP) BCS – The Chartered Institute for IT
ITIL 4 Managing Professional AXELOS
FEDIP Leading Practitioner FEDIP

Organisation Skills

Framework » Organisation
Category » Subcategory
Skill Name and Description Level
DDaT » IT Operations Job Family IT Ops – Asset and configuration management

You can conduct life cycle management for assets including hardware, software, intellectual property, licences and warranties. You can manage usage, disposal, compliance, inventory, sustainability, cost optimisation and protection of the asset portfolio. You can help to improve investment decisions and capitalise on opportunities. You can comply with international standards for asset management. You can document information relating to assets including identification, classification and specification of all items, and information related to storage, access and versions. You can apply status accounting and auditing in line with relevant criteria.

3 – Practitioner

You can manage configuration items, related information, service compliance and risks.

DDaT » IT Operations Job Family IT Ops – Availability and capacity management

You can define, analyse, plan, forecast, measure, maintain and improve all aspects of the availability of services, including power. You can control and manage service availability to meet business needs cost-effectively, including managing the capability, functionality and sustainability of service components (such as hardware, software, network resources, and software or

3 – Practitioner

You can ensure the correct implementation of standards and procedures. You can identify capacity issues and stipulate and instigate the required changes. You can initiate remedial action.

DDaT » IT Operations Job Family IT Ops – Change management

You can manage service changes, configuration items, organisational change, supplier change and associated documentation. You can request changes in response to incidents or problems that provide effective control and reduction of risk to security performance and availability. You can ensure compliance of the business services impacted by the change. You can understand policy, principles and approach. You can apply understanding and knowledge in project or programme activities. You can develop experience in the use of change management tools and processes.

3 – Practitioner

You can deal with high impact, complex change requests. You can ensure that release policies, procedures and processes are applied.

DDaT » IT Operations Job Family IT Ops – Continual service improvement

You can identify and explore opportunities for service and business improvement. You can produce analysis and identify, prioritise and implement improvements and efficiencies, ensuring that the organisation derives maximum value from services. You can recognise the potential for automation of processes, determine costs and benefits of new approaches, and manage change or assist implementation where needed.

3 – Practitioner

You can analyse current processes and identify and implement opportunities to optimise them. You can lead and develop a team of experts to deliver service improvements. You can help to evaluate and establish requirements for the implementation of changes by setting policy and standards.

DDaT » IT Operations Job Family IT Ops – Incident management

You can co-ordinate the response to incident reports, ensuring relevant prioritisation and detail to allow effective investigation. You can identify the correct procedures or channels for resolution and monitor resolution activity and progress updates for customers. You can understand the relevant change management tools and processes.

3 – Practitioner

You can lead the investigation and resolution of incidents.

DDaT » IT Operations Job Family IT Ops – Ownership and initiative

You can take ownership of problems and proactively resolve technical problems, ensuring that technical solutions continue to meet business requirements. You can take full accountability for the actions taken and decisions made.

3 – Practitioner

You can take accountability for issues that occur and be proactive in searching for potential problems. You can achieve excellent user outcomes.

DDaT » IT Operations Job Family IT Ops – Problem management

You can understand and identify problems, analysing and helping to identify the appropriate solution. You can classify and prioritise problems, document their causes and implement remedies.

3 – Practitioner

You can ensure that the right actions are taken to investigate, resolve and anticipate problems. You can co- ordinate the team to investigate problems, implement solutions and take preventive measures.

DDaT » IT Operations Job Family IT Ops – Service focus

You can maintain focus on the whole life of service delivery (designing, developing, delivering and operating). You can ensure that a set of IT products, suppliers and vendors come together to deliver an IT service.

3 – Practitioner

You can see the bigger picture by taking groups of services and investigating how to get the best of underlying services.

DDaT » IT Operations Job Family IT Ops – Service management framework knowledge

You can show an in-depth understanding of service management framework principles and processes. You can apply the technical knowledge in project or programme activities.

3 – Practitioner

You have an expert certificate in the service management framework qualification.

DDaT » IT Operations Job Family IT Ops – Technical specialism

You can demonstrate in-depth knowledge of, for example, code (application), messaging and batch management. The technical specialisms will differ for each role and will be defined in a job description.

4 – Expert

You can understand the direction of future technologies. You can deliver a model to support and maintain those future technologies and any databases that coexist in the current environment.

DDaT » IT Operations Job Family IT Ops – Technical understanding

You can demonstrate knowledge of the specific technologies necessary to fulfil the responsibilities and tasks of the role. You can apply the required breadth and depth of technical knowledge. You can actively keep informed of industry developments to make cost- effective use of new and emerging tools and technologies.

3 – Practitioner

You can show a thorough understanding of the technical concepts required for the role and can explain how these fit into the wider technical landscape.

DDaT » IT Operations Job Family IT Ops – Testing

You can plan, design, manage, execute and report tests, using appropriate tools and techniques. You can work within regulations. You can ensure that risks associated with deployment are adequately understood and documented.

4 – Expert

You can manage testing activities within development or integration activities. You can manage risks and take preventative action when risks become unacceptable. You can manage customer relations.

DDaT » IT Operations Job Family IT Ops – User focus

You can understand users and identify who they are and what their needs are, based on evidence. You can translate user stories and propose design approaches or services to meet these needs. You can engage in meaningful interactions and relationships with users. You can show that you put users first and can manage competing priorities.

3 – Practitioner

You can collaborate with user researchers and can represent users internally. You can explain the difference between user needs and the desires of the user. You can champion user research to focus on all users. You can prioritise and define approaches to understand the user story, guiding others in doing so. You can offer recommendations on the best tools and methods to use.

This job role profile was created in collaboration with BCS, using Role Model Plus. BCS is the professional body that has the responsibility of updating this job family.

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