The professional certification industry has grown significantly in conjunction with increased growth of various aspects of the information technology field. The Information Technology Infrastructure Library (ITIL®) is a set of best practices designed to describe common approaches that organizations can apply to regular activities conducted by information technology (IT) organizations. The current version of ITIL offers a series of professional certifications designed to attest to an individual’s level of competency in specific areas that ITIL covers, or to attest to an individual’s level of competency in the overall set of ITIL best practices.
As with many professional certifications, establishing a precise value to both organizations and individuals for earning a credential is difficult to precisely calculate. However, it is believed that there is some combination of both tangible and intangible factors that makes certifications a worthwhile investment of time and money for both organizations and individuals. This white paper specifically discusses the value of ITIL certifications to both organizations and individuals in the context of various tangible and intangible factors. Furthermore, respondents to a survey of individuals with various degrees of ITIL certification gave specific organizational improvements that the knowledge gained while earning ITIL certifications contributed to. These specific organizational benefits are clear examples of the value of ITIL certifications.
What Are ITIL Certifications?
The official ITIL certification program currently consists of 12 certifications that attest to the holder’s knowledge from a very basic level up to a level indicating significant overall mastery.
In an ITIL certification program, the first certification that individuals earn is ITIL Foundation. ITIL Foundation is an entry-level certification that indicates individuals have demonstrated a specific level of knowledge about terms, processes, and other aspects of ITIL. ITIL Foundation is very basic, and it is intended to set the stage and prepare the individual for higher-level ITIL certifications.
ITIL Intermediate Certifications
The ITIL Intermediate certifications are the general next step after earning an ITIL Foundation certificate. The intermediate certifications are divided into two paths: Lifecycle and Capability.
Intermediate Lifecycle Path
The ITIL Intermediate Lifecycle consists of the following five certifications.
- Service Strategy
- Service Design
- Service Transition
- Service Operation
- Continual Service Improvement
Earning any of these certifications attests that the holder has demonstrated a specific level of understanding of that aspect of the ITIL best practices. To earn any of the ITIL intermediate lifecycle certifications, individuals must pass a challenging exam that asks how they would handle very realistic scenarios that can be addressed using ITIL best practices.
As a general rule, the ITIL Intermediate Lifecycle certifications are appropriate for management and decision makers in an organization, as the classes that support these certifications generally take a management-level approach to coverage of the ITIL best practices.
Intermediate Capability Path
The other side of the ITIL Intermediate certifications is known as the Intermediate Capability Path. The capability path consists of the following certifications.
- Planning, Protection, and Optimization
- Release, Control, and Validation
- Operational Support and Analysis
- Service Offerings and Agreements
As with the lifecycle certifications, to earn any capability certification, individuals must pass an exam covering that specific topic.
As a general rule, the ITIL Intermediate Capability certifications are appropriate for those who regularly perform various hands-on IT activities, as the classes that support these certifications tend to take a more detailed look at ITIL best practices.
ITIL Advanced ITIL Certifications
ITIL Expert Once a candidate has earned the ITIL Foundation certificate plus a defined number of credits from the available ITIL intermediate certifications, the individual is eligible to take a class called Managing Across the Lifecycle (MALC).
MALC, like the intermediate certifications, requires that the individual pass a challenging exam. Once individuals pass the MALC exam and have the required number of credits, they are awarded the ITIL Expert certificate. The ITIL Expert credential indicates that the individual has a strong, high-level understanding of the ITIL best practices and how they’re used to help organizations.
ITIL Master is a specialized level of certification beyond ITIL Expert for individuals who have in-depth practical experience with implementing ITIL best practices. In order to achieve ITIL Master, an individual is required to describe and defend real-life projects they have completed using ITIL best practices.
Reproduced from Global Knowledge White Paper: The Value of ITIL® Certification