ITIL® Certification: How To Get Certified?

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04th Apr, 2019
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ITIL® Certification: How To Get Certified?

ITIL®: What it is and how to get certified?

The Information Technology Infrastructure Library is a globally recognized framework and a well-recognized ITSM. It is regulated and monitored by Axelos worldwide. It is considered imperative at the entry level in many spheres. ITIL® singularly defines a service lifecycle model which prescribes specific activities and processes during the entire path of design, development, delivery, and support of IT services. IT services are, basically, any IT activity which could potentially deliver business value to an organization's end users, customers and other internal as well as external stakeholders. Something as rudimentary as centralized corporate email or even servers which act as the back end IT support for official websites comes under IT services.

Anyone looking to make a career in the long run in IT may find it useful to invest resources in attaining the certifications under ITIL®. This certification helps professionals guide a business organization to follow the best-in-class IT management standards and practices. It also enables the organization to witness growth and navigate changes with the help of IT. By using the ITIL® framework within the organization, companies ensure that the services they provide are delivered by a set of defined and consistent processes that ensure best practices and procedures, resulting in a level of service for users which is predictable. Significant reduction in the cost of service and development and implementation of services, better customer satisfaction, enhanced productivity from IT department, improvements in quality, improved management of services and overall flexibility at an organization level to changing and growing business requirements are few of the benefits that can be derived from ITIL®.

The current version of ITIL®, i.e., ITIL® V3 is being eased out slowly to make way for ITIL® V4 which has been launched in February of 2019 by Axelos. ITIL® V3 was a framework and set of professional certifications which were designed to ensure a person’s level of competency in most areas that ITIL® covers. ITIL® V3 certifications also showed a person's level of skill in ITIL® best practices. The core of ITIL® V3 has not changed when it was updated to V4.

ITIL® Certification

ITIL®, like many professional certifications, considerably enhances the earning value of the certificate holder. However, it may be difficult to calculate the exact increase. A person planning on an ITIL® certification must keep in mind that a combination of intangible and tangible factors make a certification like ITIL® a worthwhile investment of resources for both organizations and individuals.

In order to enrol for this certification, a candidate can apply through the Prometric website, which is sponsored by Exin, an authorized ITIL® exam administrator. On the landing page, a candidate can look for an exam centre near them for the ITIL® Foundation exam as well as schedule the test as per their convenience and the availability of a slot. The landing page also allows the candidate to reschedule a test and cancel it, if required. Basically, the candidate has a choice of timing, date and venue when it comes to giving the ITIL® certification examinations. The process starts with the candidate searching for a seat in a centre as per his or her convenience and proceeds to then choosing a language followed by a venue of their choice. Further, the candidate is informed of the net price to be paid, requested to create an online account and then pay the fees as well as confirm the booking.

Why to get certified in ITIL®?

Since its release in February 2019, ITIL® V4  has focused on being an expansion on the previous version of ITIL®, i.e., ITIL® V3 in the sense that it offers more flexibility and technical support to the organization as it adapts to a digital transformation. ITIL® V4 endeavors to provide an end-to-end model for IT as well as serve digital delivery and operation for an organization. It aims to equip IT teams with knowledge of tech-enabled products and services to ensure that they can continue to play a vital role in business strategy.

The first certification, i.e., ITIL® Foundation certification is used by many organizations for training purposes since it covers the basics and is not based on any specific technique or technology. It offers a variety of job opportunities for those pursuing it in IT companies. Professionals in IT are assured basic understanding of how to create as well as implement best practices of ITSM keeping in mind quality management, which will ensure better growth of the business.

The ITIL® Foundation certification is the initial stage, and it acts as a base for all the other ITIL® certifications. It is worth two credit points within the qualification scheme of ITIL® and its levels. It serves as a training program which in turn helps in not only increasing the level of confidence of the IT professionals by teaching them to design, execute, and utilize IT services for the gratification of the organization’s customers.

The ITIL® framework provides a common platform and language to deliver IT services. This includes multiple things such as communicating with vendors and customers more efficiently and effectively. The ITIL® framework primarily aims to overcome any challenges that may occur between the IT services and the business to achieve targeted results. This is enough reason for those wanting to make a career in IT, to pursue a certification in ITIL®.

Furthermore, the ITIL® certifications are among the top notch certification courses offered in this domain. Many professionals of ITSM prefer them because they provide both knowledge and best practices used in ITSM.

ITIL® makes the most persuasive case with the fact that many large organizations across the globe have implemented the ITIL® framework. These organizations include giants such as Atos, Shell Oil, Microsoft, IBM, Caterpillar, Disney, Spotify, Boeing, Equinor, and many more. All are enjoying great success due to ITIL®, with a significant drop in operational cost as a result.

What are the ITIL® certification levels? 

AXELOS took the ownership of ITIL® in July 2013. It is now in charge of not only maintaining the ITIL® framework but also for accredited training and examination institutes. To deliver training, ITIL® certifications and administering exams, AXELOS has recognized hundreds of ITIL® Accredited Training Organizations (ATOs). The ITIL® certification examinations are administered by the ATOS at the end of the training course or alternatively, by an Examination Institute (EI), which may work directly with the ATOs.

Under ITIL® V3, ITIL® had five levels of certification:

ITIL® and ITIL® V3 Levels

1. Foundation

In the ITIL® certification sphere, the first level is the ITIL® Foundation certification. This level focuses on ensuring that the candidate is well versed with standard terminology and methodology.  Candidates will get the knowledge required to not only support but also deliver ITIL® related services.

2. Practitioner

The Practitioner level is the second level of the ITIL® certification. In this level, the candidates are encouraged to improve their ability to adopt and adapt ITIL® for an organization.

3. Intermediate 

This is the third level of the ITIL® certification. It consists of two categories or modules of certification: Service Lifecycle and Service Capability.

The Service Lifecycle modules are:

  • Service Strategy (SS)
  • Service Design (SD)
  • Service Transition (ST)
  • Service Operation (SO)
  • Continual Service Improvement (CSI)

The Service Capability modules are:

  • Operational Support and Analysis (OSA)
  • Planning, Protection, and Optimization (PPO)
  • Release, Control, and Validation (RCV)
  • Service Offerings and Agreements (SOA)

In the Service Lifecycle module, a lot of focus is given to management across several ITIL® processes. On the other hand, the module of Service Capability focuses on specialized as well as process-level knowledge within ITIL® processes.

4. Expert

ITIL® Expert certification is the fourth level of the ITIL® certification, and it is also delivered in modular form. This certification can be taken only by those candidates who have cleared the previous levels to ensure the requisite detailed knowledge and skills to clearly understand the entire system of ITIL®.

5. Master

The fifth level of the ITIL® certification is the ITIL® Master Level certification. This level focuses on strengthening and widening the mastery of the practical application of ITIL® in a variety of settings. The professionals working on ITIL® directly are usually involved in planning, operations, and management of ITSM. Through this certification, they obtain the skills to demonstrate their knowledge. An ITIL® Master does not just describe but also justifies the process of decision making that they have undertaken for adopting ITIL® principles, know-how, techniques, as well as methods. They can combine this with supporting management techniques to achieve the desired business outcome.

It is important to note that the ITIL® system uses a credit system right from the Foundation level through the Expert levels with each certification amounting to a certain number of credits. The following chart illustrates the current ITIL® credit system:

Sr. NoLevel of ITIL® certificationNo. of credits awarded
1ITIL® Foundation2
2ITIL® Practitioner3
3
Lifecycle ModuleService Strategy3
Service Design3
Service Transition3
Service Operation3
Continual Service Improvement3
Capability ModuleOperational Support and Analysis4
Planning, Protection, and Optimization4
Release, Control, and Validation4
Service Offerings and Agreements4
4Managing across the lifecycle5
5ITIL® Expert

Please note that the candidate needs 17 credits between ITIL® practitioner and ITIL® Intermediate to progress to the next level.

ITIL® V3 will be continued to be credible and recognized IT certification. Also, the exam will continue to remain available until AXELOS makes an official announcement that the certifications have been retired under ITIL® V3. This is to ensure that the candidates have sufficient time to collect and complete the ITIL® V3 credits, which are a prerequisite to starting other certifications such as ITIL® Managing Professional.

The ITIL® V4 modules slightly vary from the ITIL® V3 structure and will be released during 2019, with Foundation already available since February 2019. Modules, including the ITIL® Specialist module, the ITIL® Strategist and the ITIL® Leader will be released in the latter half of 2019.  

Post the ITIL® V4 Foundation level; the candidate can choose to pursue either the ITIL® Managing Professional (ITIL® MP) or ITIL® Strategic Leader (ITIL® SL). End-learners must complete both - the ITIL® MP and ITIL® SL -  to be eligible to certify as an ITIL® Master.

To be certified as an ITIL® Managing Professional, the candidate must complete the following modules:

  • ITIL® V4 Foundation
  • ITIL® Specialist: Create, Deliver & Support
  • ITIL® Specialist: Drive Stakeholder Value
  • ITIL® Specialist: High-Velocity IT
  • ITIL® Strategist: Direct, Plan & Improve

To be certified as an ITIL® SL, candidates must complete the following modules:

  • ITIL® 4 Foundation
  • ITIL® Strategist: Direct, Plan & Improve
  • ITIL® Leader: Digital and IT Strategy

The ITIL® Strategist: Direct, Plan & Improve is a universal module for both the ITIL® streams.

What is ITIL® certification path?

As one goes through the certifications and modules of ITIL® V4, one quickly realizes how much simpler ITIL® V4 is. The number of exams has been reduced from twelve to six. The ITIL® Foundation certification is still the starting point of the entire ITIL® journey, which gives candidates an introduction to the essential concepts and basic methodologies behind ITIL® and gives a bird’s eye view of the ITIL® lifecycle stages. After this certification, however, candidates can go in one of two directions.

As mentioned before, the first is the ITIL® Managing Professional (MP), which includes the following four modules:

ITIL® Specialist – Create, Deliver & Support
ITIL® Specialist – Drive Stakeholder Value
ITIL® Specialist – High Velocity IT
ITIL® Strategist – Direct, Plan & Improve

The second option, as illustrated above, is ITIL® Strategic Leader (SL), the modules for which are:

ITIL® Strategist – Direct, Plan & Improve
ITIL® Leader – Digital & IT Strategy

Candidates won’t be required to collect credits like ITIL® V3 to sit for higher-level examinations. They must, however, still clear the ITIL® V4 Foundation exam before moving on to SL or MP modules.

The development of ITIL® V4 was mostly community-driven where thousands of IT practitioners assisted AXELOS in envisioning and creating a version of ITIL® which would deal with some of the most common points of criticisms that IT professionals have with ITIL®.

Some of the most important changes within ITIL® V4 include:

  • Greater integration with widely-accepted ITSM practices which include Agile, Lean and DevOps
  • A  focus on customer experience
  • Better integration between ITIL® as well as business practices
  • A focus on the community which make the framework more dynamic

While the ITIL® V4 seems like it is not focusing on a niche, its content is very relevant for ITSM practitioners. Right from the Foundation module, every examination has gone through an upgradation on account of the amount of new material. In other words, it would benefit ITIL® V3-certified professionals to consider the transition to ITIL® V4 seriously.

About ITIL® foundation practice exam

The first stage in the ITIL® framework is the Foundation certification which has to be completed to become an ITIL® Expert. This makes understanding the structure of the ITIL® Foundation exam very important for the candidate. Prior knowledge of the structure of the examination would help the candidate plan and strategize to score well in the actual exam.

There is a simulated exam which provides all the features and patterns similar to the actual ITIL® Foundation exam format. These practice exams are available for free and can be taken multiple times.

Here are all the details about the test:

  • The duration of the test is 60 minutes or an hour long.
  • There are about 40 questions with multiple choices.
  • Of the various choices given, there will be one or more choices which may be correct.
  • The test can be paused mid-way, and there is also the option to retake the test at a later point.
  • The test will resume from the point where the candidate left it and the test time will be reduced by the amount of time taken by the candidate in the previous attempt.

With this practice ITIL® examination, the candidate can differentiate between the concepts that they are familiar with and those that they aren’t. Candidates who enroll for the practice ITIL® foundation online exam should be able to take the real exam effortlessly. A sample ITIL® foundation exam is like a representative of the actual ITIL® certification exam. The purpose of this is to help remove the element of uncertainty for the candidate that is bound to affect them when they write their certification unprepared. Every IT professional aspiring for an ITIL® certification is encouraged to give practice exams to ensure success.

What are the benefits of ITIL® certification?

ITIL® framework aims to support individuals and organizations to gain the best and most optimal value from IT and digital services. It  equips a service provider with the ability to implement a realistic capability model, balance it with the strategy of business and needs of the customer.

ITIL® provides a comprehensive framework which is practical and has proven its worth in establishing a system of ITSM, ensuring consistency and improving continually for the sake of businesses using IT-enabled services.

ITIL® V4 is hugely relevant to IT professionals such as software developers and service managers as well as to businesses, as it encourages a well-rounded view of designing and delivering products and services. Right from the first level, ITIL® V4 focuses on transparency, collaboration, automation and holistic working.

ITIL® V4 has a focus on many of the core elements which make it valuable to individuals and organizations. Change, which in today’s day and age is a constant state of affairs, is something many organizations struggle to navigate. With ITIL® V4 and its best practices, organizations receive the support they need to thrive despite these changes.

ITIL® V4 is the iteration of ITIL® which integrates all of the excellent things from ITIL® and its versions and extrapolates it to ITSM and service operations. It helps navigate the shift from traditional process-led delivery to faster quality and value-based delivery for organizations.

Here are the key benefits of getting an ITIL® Certification Program:

  • It helps improve the position of the candidate in the job market as they become an ITIL® certified professional
  • It ensures that the candidate stands out from others and other uncertified counterparts with similar experience in the ITIL® framework and methodology
  • The candidate learns methods to apply ITIL® tools and techniques, improve their efficiency and focus on their effectiveness at workplace
  • Candidates get recognized for their expertise by their colleagues and peers
  • It helps them learn a language and improves communication across the organization's hierarchy
  • It assists the candidate in implementing fresh ideas from the ITIL® framework. It also helps them use the best practices to facilitate customers
  • Ultimately, it helps the candidate increasing their contribution to the organization's ITSM
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