Today, more and more IT projects that are coming in are maintenance projects. Development projects have gone down steeply owing to a number of factors surrounding cutting of costs and reusing available solutions rather than reinventing the wheel.
Moreover, all the developed projects need to be maintained, and hence the demand for professionals in the service sector. The art of managing the service sector in the IT field is most commonly referred to as IT Service Management. On the field, a set of technicians and software engineers by themselves cannot run maintenance projects which involve services and systems. There is a need to bring the whole process under a strong governance that integrates all functions together under professionals who are well versed in the field of service management.
The Information Technology Infrastructure Library (ITIL®) is one of the most popular governance models and its certification is conferred on individuals who possess minimum understanding of the ITIL® model.
In this post, I hope to throw some light on the ITIL® certification and provide ample proof that the certification is the way forward and owning one will move you to a position of strength in obtaining your dream IT job.
Today you’ll learn:
- What is ITIL®?
- What are the jobs opportunities for ITIL® certified professionals?
- Are there any alternatives to ITIL®?
- What are the ITIL® certification exams?
- How to get ITIL® certified?
Introduction to ITIL®
ITIL® is an IT service management governance model. It provides the set of best practices in the industry for managing IT services, and running IT operations.
The library provides a structure for an organization to run cost effective operations, improve performance on a continuous basis, and to control the activities through multi-layers.
In the eighties, a number of service projects were under the hammer as the practices followed and the outputs delivered varied significantly. At this point in time, the British government, under its Office of Government Commerce (OGC) brought forth a set of best practices, and was christened Information Technology Infrastructure Library (ITIL®).
The first version of ITIL® (v1) came out in 1989, and was voluminous with over 30 books. Although the framework was tedious, it was in vigor for over a decade.
In 2000, their most popular version, ITIL® v2 was launched. It basically had two volumes for IT service management and was supplemented by a further six volumes which offered specific guidance for different segments in the IT industry.
The latest installment, ITIL® v3, was launched in 2007 and it consists of five volumes. This version covers the entire life cycle of service management, which is probably fitting and the need of the hour for today’s industry.
Although v3 is the latest and updated ITIL® version, many industry experts, including me, believe that ITIL® v2 suffices for the most part, especially for professionals working in junior and mid levels. The v3 version will come in handy for service managers and delivery managers who have a holistic view into all the processes in the lifecycle.
Jobs Opportunities for ITIL® Certified Professionals
The ITIL® environment not only provides jobs for technicians and software engineers, but there are a number of ITIL® professionals required to run the processes, at junior, mid and higher levels of service management.
The junior level jobs include coordinator roles mainly responsible for coordinating between technicians, managers, customers and suppliers, reporting, running meetings amongst other level one activities.
For those with at least five years of experience, the mid level offers job opportunities that make them functional managers who are accountable for the deliverables. They will have powers to authorize technicians and software professionals to address problematic situation on hand.
The people who take decisions sit on the top. They need to have significant exposure to ITIL® practices to ensure best performance using the available resources and at a minimum cost. Apart from this, ITIL® mandates continuous improvement, which falls directly under higher level managers’ objectives.
I have mentioned the various levels of jobs one could undertake depending on experience just to prove that ITIL® professionals have unparalleled career growth. They perhaps take over management roles much earlier than those working in development environments. And, with the number of maintenance projects on the rise, it is evident that the future is looking bright for ITIL® professionals.
I have been an ITIL® professional for a number of years now. I am in charge of operations for a number of clients in a particular geography. I have the power to take decisions which also includes managing people.
Not too long ago, I started out as a coordinator managing deliverables, getting inputs from technical teams and ensuring timely delivery of outputs. I moved up the ladder as a service manager where I managed a number of services for a particular client. After a successful stint, I was handed a promotion and given wider responsibilities to handle multiple clients, and the power to chop and change things to increase performance and reduce costs.
All in all, I do believe that my ride up the ladder has been swift, compared to my comrades who are in the development industry.
Alternatives to ITIL®
ITIL® has somewhat monopolized the industry, leaving others way behind.
The closest contender is Control Objectives for Information and related Technology (CobiT), another governance model that has made quite a name for itself.
However, unlike ITIL®, CobiT is a certification for organizations and not for individuals.
ITIL® v3 Certification Exams
ITIL® offers four levels of certifications, aimed at professionals at different stages of their career:
- ITIL® Foundation Level
- ITIL® Intermediate Level
- ITIL® Expert Certificate
- ITIL® Master Qualification
The ones getting started in the maintenance projects will want to undergo the ITIL® v3 Foundation Certification, which is perhaps the most popular of the four.
Other exams include ITIL® intermediate level certification meant for managers responsible for making decisions.
Higher up the ladder are the expert and master certifications which test the knowledge through case studies on specific ITIL® topics.
The foundation certification should suffice for the most part, even for those seeking managerial berth. A basic understanding of ITIL® coupled with industry experience will deem the individuals invaluable.
ITIL® v3 Foundation Certification Essentials
There are several accredited examination institutes around the world. Go with the one that is relevant to your geography. Most examination institutes have tied up with Prometric to conduct proctored exams EXIN is the exam institute of my choice.
To register for ITIL® v3 foundation certification examination, you need to head over to the Prometric website to register. The examination will be listed under your examination institute. It costs $174 in the United States and this could vary depending on the geography.
The examination has a total of 40 questions and you are expected to score at least 26 to pass it.
You have a total of 60 minutes to finish the examination. In my opinion, you should be able to answer all the forty questions within the first 45 minutes and utilize the remaining time to review your answers.
If you are writing the exam in a language other than your native language, you will get an additional 15 minutes along with a dictionary to aid you.
ITIL® has published five volumes for v3, however I don’t recommend that you study them for your foundation examination, it is way too much information.
Passing your ITIL® foundation exam: the official study aid by Christian Nissen is a good book, it simplifies all of the concepts for rookies and the material offered is succinct and apt for the examination.
Self study should be sufficient to pass the foundation certification examination but if you need more help, there are plenty of training options out there as well.
ITIL® is a Registered Trade Mark of the Cabinet Office.