If your ideal IT job involves service management or asset management, a great way to enhance your knowledge and performance potential is through an official ITIL certification.
Jump to the main takeaways:
So much of what goes into running a successful hinges on reliable, efficient IT services. However, without the right ITSM tools in place and a team of savvy personnel at the controls, it’s nearly impossible for businesses to keep up with evolving technology, customer expectations, and increasingly tough competition in their respective industry.
This is especially true in the wake of ITIL v4's (also called simply ITIL 4) release in early 2019. The framework's revision means that it's conceptually as much on business issues as it is about IT-related processes.
As such, mastering ITIL through an official certification is a great tool to enhance one's ITSM knowledge and skill set.
In this blog post, I’ll be going over how you can get the best ITIL certification for your ITSM career path. You’ll learn about the different ITIL certification options, how they can boost your IT job performance, where you can get certified, and how much it all costs.
Let’s get started!
There are different ITIL certification levels in existence, each offering IT professionals and any other curious parties the opportunity to learn the framework’s principles in a way that’s relevant to their respective careers.
Here’s more from AXELOS, ITIL’s current proprietor:
“The ITIL® certification scheme provides a modular approach to the ITIL framework, and is comprised of a series of qualifications focused on different aspects of ITIL best practice to various degrees of depth and detail. The tiered structure of the qualification offers candidates flexibility relating to the different disciplines and areas of ITIL and the ability to focus their studies on key areas of interest.”
As it currently stands, there are five tiers that make up the ITIL v3 certification scheme:
Since February 2019, several certification modules for the latest version of the ITIL framework, ITIL v4, have been published by AXELOS, with more on the way through 2020. As of this writing, those tiers include:
The transition from ITIL v3 to v4 also presents ongoing ITIL certification candidates with various options to round out their knowledge base. You can check out both ITIL foundation syllabi PDFs here.
AXELOS recommends starting with the ITIL v4 Foundation level if you’re new to the framework. However, if you’ve already completed one or more ITIL v3 learning tiers, they state that finishing those modules before moving on to ITIL v4 will maximize your information intake.
Additionally, you can also subscribe to AXELOS’ My ITIL portal, where you’ll have access to support materials like exam guidance videos, templates, whitepapers, and more. \
How you approach obtaining your ITIL certification will largely depend on your current role in IT, how you want to grow your career, and which pools of knowledge are most valuable to you. That said, the great thing about the process of becoming ITIL certified is the number of options when it comes to the “where” part.
To make the ITIL certification process as widely available as possible, AXELOS has established a large strategic partner network. This allows for more transparent collaboration between ITIL’s governing body and the IT community at large.
Finding the training option nearest you or your workplace is very simple. All you have to do is enter your geographic coordinates (city and country) on their dedicated landing page, and the site will auto-generate a list of relevant service providers. There are lots to choose from, with over 200 facilitators in North America alone.
Once you see on an option you like, you can use the ITIL training page search results to contact a partner directly via an email form or view their vital coordinates, including website, phone number, and full address.
The same process also applies if your organization is looking for ITIL-certified consulting professionals. The company states that its consultants “offer consultancy and assurance services across IT service management including software development, evaluation of IT resources, processes and investment and IT security and resilience.”
You view their list of consulting partners here.
Now, we go from the “what” and “where” to the “how” of your certification process. In other words, the step-by-step process of passing your ITIL exam and the associated ITIL certification costs.
If you’re looking for a purely digital starting point, you’re going to need the ITIL foundation textbook, which is available in a number of different formats including PDF and eBook. It is the ground upon you'll build your ITIL knowledge base and the essential tool you need to get your ITIL certification.
As of this writing, the price of the book was £45.00. Applicable taxes, shipping, and/or exchange rates will differ based on your geographic location, so make sure you look into those before checkout.
A great study tool that you can use in conjunction with the book is the ITIL 4 Foundation app, which is available on major platforms like Apple and Android. Again, the price will vary depending on where you’re located, but keep this in mind as well: The app is meant to be used as a sidekick to the manual linked above, not as a standalone replacement.
Elsewhere, there are fees associated with the training programs offered by the AXELOS global partner and affiliate network. To determine the best avenue to take with regards to local training, contact the location nearest you or your workplace and discuss your needs and ITIL certification goals with them.
There’s also the issue of time, insofar as how much of it you have to dedicate to obtaining your certification, as well as how long with the resulting process will take at that pace. You need to consider those additional variables before pursuing the next stage of your ITIL certification process.
Finally, we come to the all-important “why,” as in why getting your ITIL certification is a must for your current or future ITSM career.
The answer has a lot to do with the big recent changes to the ITIL framework I mentioned earlier, and what that means for the IT community going forward. AXELOS has stated that ITIL must prioritize consumer engagement with IT services as much or more than it does internal processes and protocol:
“Value is co-created, not delivered [...] the activities that a service provider undertakes do not create value by themselves. Value is realized only when the consumer engages with the service provider through the means of a service relationship.”
More than ever before, how the ITIL framework affects established business practices will have a huge bearing on how successful they are in a digital marketplace. This includes evolving your organization’s IT arsenal alongside changing technology with agile or ITIL-centric change management.
Perhaps more crucial is how companies use ITIL to create and refine the kind of IT services that will continually meet rising consumer expectations.
As Business News Daily put it:
“By adopting the ITIL framework, companies ensure that their services are delivered according to a set of consistent, well-defined processes that incorporate best practices and processes, resulting in a predictable level of service for users. The benefits of ITIL include reduced cost of service development and deployment, improved customer satisfaction with service delivery, increased productivity from IT personnel, quality improvements, better management metrics of services and increased flexibility in adapting services to changing business requirements.”
With all that in mind, the opportunities for IT professionals or those looking to transition into a tech-based role in the workforce will only continue to grow. From service operation positions to project management jobs or ones based in strategy and design, there are so many career possibilities that an ITIL certification opens you up to.
No matter what your chosen path is in the world of IT, getting ITIL certified is a bona fide way to make that next leap professionally. By mastering the most prominent ITSM framework, you’ll be setting yourself up for success now and in the future–not to mention becoming a huge asset to whichever organization you work for.
To read more about how you can leverage your knowledge of ITIL to get the most out of processes like incident management or platforms like Jira Service Desk, make sure you check out our blog!
Originally published Aug 21, 2019 11:59:00 AM