Understanding ITIL Certifications

ITIL (an acronym for Information Technology Infrastructure Library) is a framework design to maximise the organisational and operational efficiencies of IT services and lifecycles. The framework is increasingly seen as a necessity in many industries, leading to a surge of demand for ITIL-certified employees.

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Types of ITIL Certifications


ITIL training courses and ITIL certifications take a modular approach and can be taken in stages, front entry level onwards.


(i) Foundation


As the name implies, this entry level certification provides participants with a foundation of ITIL. It is popular with executives whose company has recently adopted the ITIL framework, as well as senior management personnel who wish to understand the terminologies and concepts used in reports and briefings. The certificate is awarded for candidates who achieve a minimum score of 65% in a 40-multiple choice questions open book exam (or 26 correct answers).


(ii) Practitioner


A practitioner certification trains candidates to comfortably use ITIL in practice, as well as speak and understand the language of ITIL. The practitioner module also prepares candidates to cross into other frameworks and methodologies, such as Agile and DevOps. The open book exam is also a multiple choice one, but the passing mark is 70% (or 28 correct answers out of 40 questions).


(iii) Intermediate


There is no self-taught option for intermediate certification. Candidates must attend training classes before they are allowed to take the exam. In addition, candidates must have also passed the Foundation exam.


The two areas covered in this module are Service Lifecycle and Service Capability. Service lifecycle training provides candidates in supervisory roles with the ability to work seamlessly between multiple teams. Service capability training, on the other hand, focuses on individual ITIL process such as analysis and RACI matrix.


(iv) Expert


Expert certifications are only for candidates who have successfully earned at least 17 credits from foundation and intermediate modules, and passed a couple of other specific modules. This is to ensure that candidates possess the required level of ITIL knowledge and skill. Otherwise, the expert training may prove to be too advanced. Expert certifications are generally taken by senior executives who are working directly, or plan to work in ITIL-managed IT departments.


(v) Master


Like doctoral degree candidates, there are no set questions in place for candidates seeking to earn a master certification. Instead, candidates are expected to demonstrate proficiency in the ITIL framework and apply techniques and principles into real life settings. Candidates will have to elaborate on their objectives and decision making process.


To take the expert certification, candidates must possess at least five years senior leadership experience in an ITIL-managed IT service environment.