The ITIL or Information Technology Infrastructure Library is known for offering best practices to deliver IT services through a systematic approach to ITSM. In February 2019, AXELOS updated the ITIL to ITIL 4 that emphasized on maintaining flexibility, innovation, and agility in ITSM and supporting legacy systems and networks. Over the year, ITIL 4 was rolled out and the final elements were launched in early 2020. Currently, ITIL is one of the top IT certifications. ITIL is an IT management framework that helps businesses in managing risks, establishing cost-effective practices, building a stable IT environment, and strengthening customer relations.
The transition to ITIL4 brought several changes to ITIL’s certification scheme. ITIL v3 certifications are still valid. However, candidates who want to get started with ITIL or are currently at the ITIL v3 Foundation level, are encouraged to go for the ITIL 4 certification. Intermediate-level candidates can finish their ITIL v3 certification. However, it makes more sense to transfer the credits and move to the higher-level of ITIL 4.
Certification paths for ITIL 4
The certification scheme for ITIL 4 is quite similar to ITIL 3’s. However, it has been streamlined to two designation paths with a total of seven modules. You will start with the Foundation level and move to either Strategic Leader (SL) or Managing Professional (MP) paths.
You can decide to stop at either of the paths. However, if you complete both the paths, you can go for the ITIL Master designation. Let’s discuss each level in detail:
Regardless of what certification path you choose, your journey will start from the ITIL Foundation module. This is the introductory exam covering the principles and core concepts of ITIL 4. It is an entry-level certification created for helping the newcomers get acquainted with the basics of ITIL 4. Even if you are a seasoned pro, this certification will validate your foundational knowledge so that you can move on to advanced-level certifications.
The training for the ITIL Foundation level will be about 2 and a half days long in a classroom. At the end of the course, an exam will be conducted with 40 Multiple-Choice Questions. You will have to answer at least 26 answers correctly within 60 minutes to pass the exam. You can enroll yourself for the training program through an Accredited Training Organization (ATO). Another option is self-studying using study material from AXELOS and practice exams.
ITIL Managing Professional (MP)
During the course, you will learn everything required to run IT projects, workflows, and teams using technical and practical skills.
For completing the ITIL MP certification, you will need to pass the following exam modules:
- ITIL Specialist Create Deliver & Support – It covers all the core service management techniques, improvement methods, and service quality and performance methods. It is aimed for ITSM professionals who are responsible for end-to-end delivery of IT products and services.
- ITIL Specialist Drive Stakeholder Value – During this model, you will learn how to engage and interact with the customers, users, partners, suppliers, and the service provider. It covers SLA design, communication, multi-supplier management, customer journey mapping, relationship management, and UX and CX design.
- ITIL Specialist High-Velocity IT – This module covers integrating methodologies like Lean and Agile with technical skills, including automatic testing, cloud, and automation. This helps in making rapid delivery of services and products.
- ITIL Strategist Direct Plan & Improve – In this module, you will be learning the practical skills needed for creating an IT organization that has an effective and strong strategic direction and is willing to learn and improve. It focuses on leveraging Lean and Agile to plan and deliver quick continual improvements.
- ITIL Strategic Leader (SL)
The SL certification of ITIL is not just for the IT operations, but for all digitally-enabled services. It focuses on how IT can be used for influencing and informing business strategy. For earning the ITIL SL certification, you have to pass the following two exam modules:
- ITIL Strategist Direct Plan & Improve – This module is the same as offered by the MP certification. It covers all the technical skills needed for creating an IT organization focused on learning and improving.
- ITIL Leader Digital & IT Strategy – In this module, you will be learning how to align the IT and business strategy and how you can handle disruptive technologies.
Once you have completed all the modules for MP and SL certification, you will be qualified for the ITIL Master certification. In order to become an ITIL master, at least 5 years of working experience in ITSM is mandatory. You must have worked at the management, higher management advisory, or leadership level.
For the ITIL Master designation, you need a strong ITSM background along with hands-on experience with ITIL. However, there is no fixed syllabus or training course for this certification. The test will be based on a situation that you selected. This way, the material will be according to your personal experience. The certification demands hands-on experience and an explanation and justification regarding your choices. You will have to explain why and how you applied your knowledge, methods, techniques, and principles of the ITIL framework. You also have to justify the use of supporting management techniques for achieving the desired business outcomes.
ITIL 4 has backward compatibility with ITIL v3 certification. This means that all the courses of the ITIL 3 certification scheme have a credit value depending on their level. This way, they will be valuable to ITIL education. If you have more than 17 credits or have the ITIL v3 expert certification, you can go for the ITIL 4 transition module. It has been specifically created to help candidates get up to speed quickly on all the new changes made to the new release. The module also sets you on the path to getting the updated MP designation.
How you decide to prepare for the ITIL certification depends on how familiar you are with the material. You can choose to self-study using the study materials and the sample exam papers. However, it is best that you opt for an Accredited Training Organization that offers in-person and online classes.