The Information Technology Infrastructure Library (ITIL) has been a leading framework of IT concepts and best practices for more than 20 years. It is also the basis of leading IT certifications, including the entry-level ITIL Foundation certification. The ITIL Foundation credential is an excellent way for IT specialists and managers to establish their expertise in the field, expanding their employment and earning prospects.
Who should consider ITIL Foundation certification?
According to the vendor's website, the ITIL Foundation certification is an entry-level credential geared toward any IT professional who wants a basic understanding of the ITIL framework, especially those working for companies that have adopted or adapted ITIL concepts. The primary goal of this credential is to provide candidates with a keen understanding of how ITIL can improve the quality of IT service management.
The ITIL V3 Foundation certification is the most current intermediate-level credential ITIL offers today; the ITIL V2 certification is a prior version. Fortunately, ITIL now offers bridge exams that allow V2 candidates to earn ITIL V3 certifications without rehashing established training and skills.
The benefits of ITIL Foundation certification
Because the Foundation credential is ITIL's entry-level certificate, it often serves as an IT novice's gateway into the world of IT service management, basic ITIL concepts and practices, and to more advanced credentials, including the ITIL Intermediate, Expert and Master certifications. Because ITIL is so widely adopted across IT management, establishing one's expertise with ITIL basics is an excellent way to boost one's resume and earning potential. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), the median computer systems administrator salary in 2010 was $69,160. According to Global Knowledge's 2011 IT Skills and Salary, however, ITIL Foundation certification can improve earnings considerably: those with ITIL V3 certification earned $90,000 on average.
Skills mastered: The ITIL Foundation certification curriculum
According to ITIL's official V3 Foundation syllabus, certification hopefuls must complete training in the following areas:
- Service management as practice
- The service lifecycle
- Generic concepts and definitions
- Key principles and models
- Technology and architecture
- ITIL qualification scheme
- Mock exam
Upon completing the above coursework, candidates must successfully pass the ITIL Foundation exam before becoming certified.
The ITIL Foundation exam
ITIL reports that the ITIL Foundation certification exam is a 60-minute, supervised test that can be completed either online or on paper. There are 40 multiple choice questions taken from the full ITIL Foundation curriculum. Candidates need to answer at least 65 percent of these questions correctly to pass the exam and earn certification.
ITIL recommends that Foundation hopefuls dedicate at least one to three hours of study time to each of the training areas covered in the exam. While professional organizations like the Association for Computing Machinery offer ITIL Foundation study materials that support self-study, there are also a number of training providers that offer more structured training. Candidates should consider their timeframe, budgets and personal learning styles before choosing the right study method that suits them best.