Software Cost Estimator as a Profession

Software Cost Estimating is the profession for estimating the costs of a software solution based on the needs and a defined solution. Cost estimation is the basis for a successful software project and needs to have the right level of detail and accuracy to be able to control the delivery with respect to scope, cost and schedule. A software cost estimator creates estimates based upon relevant historical data and by means of estimation models. Except cost, these estimates result in a schedule to deliver the defined solution.ICEAA conference presentation

Software Cost Estimator certification

Currently there is no certification for the profession of Software Cost Estimator available in the market, like the certification for Cost Estimator and Analyst for system engineering that is provided by ICEAA. To fill this gap, Nesma and ICEAA (International Cost Estimation and Analysis Association) are working together on the creation of a training curriculum and certification program to make ‘Software Cost Estimator’ a profession. Certified Software Cost Estimators will support organizations to bring their cost estimation process to a higher level and to make software projects more successful.

software Cost Estimation Body of Knowledge  (sCEBoK)

To support the training curriculum and to be able to provide the certification, Nesma and ICEAA in cooperation with several international organizations and professionals in the software industry are working on the development a Software Cost Estimation Body of Knowledge (sCEBoK). This body of knowledge will contain relevant knowledge to fulfil the role of Software Cost Estimator and will be the basis for training and certification. Except knowledge, experience is an important criterion to pass this exam.

sCEBoK 2018 content

Currently the sCEBoK consist of the following modules, as presented during the ICEAA Conference in Phoenix in June 2018:

  • Estimation principles
  • Estimation in the software lifecycle
  •  Solution based estimation
  • Estimation methods – Formal
  • Basis of Estimate (BOE)
  • Estimation models – Size based methods
  • Basis of Measurement (BOM)
  • Estimation maturity
  • Budget process
  • Cost drivers
  • Data collection and basic data analysis
  • Benchmarking
  • Statistics to support basic metric analysis
  • Application Maintenance


For the final sCEBoK, additional modules will be developed and current modules will be further improved with support of professionals of international software organizations. The new modules will focus on knowledge with respect to software cost estimation as well as on a further refinement of estimation models for modern lifecycles like Agile and DevOps. The sCEBoK will consist of training material including detailed notes. As a next step a wiki will be developed to share the knowledge.

sCEBoK exam

The sCEBoK exam will be split in two levels:

  • Foundation
  • Advanced

The Foundation exam will required basic knowledge of the sCEBoK and some experience in the role of Software Cost Estimator and is meant to fulfil the role of Software Cost Estimator in smaller to medium sized projects with a low or average complexity. The Advanced exam will require a more advanced level of knowledge of the sCEBoK and experience and is meant for Software Cost Estimators involved in larger and more complex projects. More detailed criteria will be provided later. The sCEBoK program will first focus on the development of the Foundation exam, followed by the Advanced exam.

First exams

The first Foundation Professional Software Cost Estimator certification is planned to be available in May 2019 at the ICEAA conference in Tampa, Florida. The next certification will be provided at the IWSM conference in November 2019 in Haarlem, the Netherlands. After the first certifications an on-line an exam will be provided to make the certification available to a larger international audience.

Will you participate in the sCEBoK?

The sCEBoK is an initiative of not for profit organizations with support of industry organizations, tool providers, research centers and universities. To make this sCEBoK successful and to be able to provide a high quality certification, further participation is required. We are looking for support from organizations in Asia, Europe, US and Mid- South America that have software cost estimation knowledge and experience and are willing to support this initiative. Support can consist of developing a sCEBoK module, reviewing modules, creating questions for the exam or support in making the sCEBoK consistent as an editor. In all cases your name will be mentioned as a participant in the final material.

More information?

Would you like to receive more information with respect to the sCEBoK or are you eager to participate? Visit the website of Nesma or ICEAA, follow the sCEBoK group on Linked-in or send an E-mail to