Very few businesses, if any, scale without evolving their information technology structure. This is because technology is advancing at a high-speed. Business operations thrive when backed by technology. This, in essence, means that the more an organisation invests in and improves its digital front, the more successful it will be at realising its capabilities, achieving its strategy, and staying ahead of the competition. The key to a business’ digital transformation strategy is practitioners with crucial skills and certifications to implement technologies that will steer the company forward. This is where the ITIL Certification comes in. We shall look at it in-depth later in this article. First, let us see what ITIL is all about.

What is ITIL?

ITIL (Information Technology Infrastructure Library) is a framework for IT service management. It is a collection of best practices in IT cycle management proven to provide value to the client while effectively managing risks and costs. ITIL enables a business to establish a systematic approach to managing IT services. The result is a productive and stable IT environment to support the evolution of IT and scaling in the business. The latest ITIL 4 version, integrates an agile approach with technologies like DevOps and Lean to improve IT service delivery.
ITIL is one of the most popular and adopted IT System Management frameworks, thanks to its dynamism. Over time, it has attracted the attention of many organisations across various industries since it was first introduced in the British government in the 80s. ITIL professionalism was recognized by ISO/IEC 20000 service management in 2005 and is the first international standard recognition for IT service management.

Why is ITIL popular?

Information is at the centre of current business competitiveness. Companies are investing in their IT and aligning it with corporate objectives to enhance the value they deliver to their clients. ITIL does not only revolve around service efficiency and meeting customer needs but also enables businesses to manage and reduce service costs and improve productivity.
By aligning IT with the business strategies and objectives, ITIL provides guiding principles and practices that the organization can implement through its digital transformation process. One advantage that ITIL offers is that it can be implemented by any size of business. Being that it is a framework and not a standard, businesses can incorporate only those aspects that are vital to their growth.

ITIL Foundation certification and its benefits

The ITIL Foundation certification is an introductory and basic certification level of ITIL. This certification gives an overview of the entire ITIL service management operating model. It equips you with fundamental knowledge on the key concepts, principles, practices, and terminology used in the ITIL service lifecycle for continuous improvement in the development and delivery of IT products and services.
You will gain fundamental knowledge of the practice areas of the ITIL service lifecycle which are:

  • Service strategy
  • Service design
  • Service translation
  • Service operation
  • Continual service improvement

There are no prerequisites to taking the ITIL foundation certification training. ITIL certification examination consists of 40 multiple choice questions with a pass mark of 26 correctly answered questions.

Benefits of ITIL Foundation Certification

ITIL foundation certification could increase your earnings by up to 40% compared to other professionals without the certification. ITIL ranks 7th in the list of top-paying IT certifications with an average salary of $120,556. In addition to a world of career opportunities and good salary prospects, the ITIL foundation certification comes with more benefits.

  • The knowledge acquired from the Foundation certification training of the general principles and practices applied throughout the IT service lifecycle enables an individual to support the improvement of IT services based on the ITIL framework for better efficiency, increased productivity, and enhanced customer satisfaction.
  • ITIL focuses on meeting customer needs and enhancing user experience. This way, technology investments, and resources will be channelled towards initiatives that will yield the highest value to the customer and ultimately to the business.
  • Equips a professional with the best practices that make them key contributors to business growth initiatives.

Career paths for ITIL certified professionals

ITIL professionals provide substantial value to large corporations using the ITIL framework. ITIL 4 provides a clear path for IT professionals to progress through the ITIL skills acquisition journey.


Level 1: Foundation certification

The foundation certification is the starting point for the career paths. As we have seen, the foundation level introduces individuals to the basic principles and concepts of the ITIL framework and takes them through the different stages of the IT service lifecycle.

Level 2: ITIL Managing Professional or ITIL Strategic Leader

Level two introduces two paths that an individual can choose from. These are:

  1. ITIL Managing Professional (MP) path

The managing professional path is designed for professionals who work directly with technology teams in the organization. The MP path equips professionals with the knowledge required to run IT teams and projects successfully. It includes the following four modules.

  • ITIL Specialist, Create, Deliver & Support (CDS). This module focuses on IT products and services management techniques, service performance, and quality along with the methodologies of improving them.
  • ITIL Specialist, Drive Stakeholder Value (DSV). This module covers aspects of relationships within IT product and service development and delivery including SLA design, communication, multi-supplier management, relationship management, CX and UX design, as well as customer journey mapping.
  • ITIL Specialist, High-Velocity IT (HVIT). This module focuses on the integration of technologies, skills, and methodologies to speed up IT service or product delivery.
  • ITIL Strategist, Direct, Plan & Improve (DPI). This module focuses on continuous learning and improvement. In other words, leveraging available technologies like LEAN and AGILE to drive and achieve organizational strategy.
  1. ITIL Strategic Leader Path

The strategic leader certification focuses on aligning IT with business strategy. It consists of two modules which are:

  • ITIL Strategist, Direct, Plan & Improve (DPI). This module is the same as that in managing professional certification.
  • ITIL Leader, Digital & IT Strategy (DITS). This module generally covers the marrying of business and IT strategies and through the digital transformation journey.

It is important to note that the ITIL Strategist, Direct, Plan, and Improve (DPI) module is relevant to both certification paths.
To qualify for any of these two ITIL career paths, one has to pass the ITIL foundation certification.

Level 3: ITIL Master Certification

The ITIL Master credential is a more advanced certification that requires one to have completed all the modules for both the managing professional and strategic leader certification paths.
Additionally, one is required to have at least 5 years of ITSM experience in a leadership or management position and vast knowledge and application of the ITIL framework on and achieved management strategies.

In conclusion

ITIL certification empowers professionals to pursue varied career options. Typically, one may start from an entry-level position in project management or service operations, for instance, the service desk technician, IT support, or application support positions. They will then grow into higher positions like system administrator and then managerial positions and with time end up high in the ranks of chief information officer. ITIL certified mentors or coaches are highly sought to guide Companies and educate staff through ITIL implementation.
Ready to take a plunge? Axelos, the body that manages ITIL certification lists ITIL accredited training institutions like Simplilearn in its site. It is recommended that you register for the latest ITIL v4. if you are just beginning.
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