A few weeks ago I delivered an ITIL Intermediate Continual Service Improvement (CSI) class at a customer site. One of the students in the class had already completed the four other lifecycle classes, meaning that the CSI class was his final class before taking the Managing Across the Lifecycle class and hopefully becoming an ITIL Expert.
He asked me, “Once I become an ITIL Expert, what do I do?” My first inclination to such a question is to respond that you should probably know that before you embark upon something as significant and time-consuming as the ITIL Expert certification. However, I didn’t want to be rude, and I do recognize that sometimes we begin something with one vision in mind, and then as we work towards completion that vision changes because of various internal and external factors.
I thought about it for a few seconds, and here’s a summary of what I said.
The key thing to think about is that whichever path one chooses, we must always demonstrate value. This is something that should be clear to anyone who completed an ITIL foundation class. Value is communicated differently in different scenarios.
First, if your employer spent time and money putting you through a training program that results in earning the ITIL Expert credential, then the first place to apply the knowledge that you gained is with your current employer. If having an ITIL Expert on staff wasn’t important, then the organization wouldn’t have committed the resources in support of their employee. This doesn’t necessarily mean that earning ITIL Expert is going to earn a promotion or result in being put in charge of a service management program. It does mean that you gained new skills and techniques that can be applied to improve some aspect of the organization. Because we were in the CSI class, I suggested that one thing he might do is implement a CSI register in his functional area as a way of tracking and managing improvement opportunities.
Second, sometimes people pursue training and certification on their own as a means to move into a new field or to a different part of the same field. In this case, there are many potential employers interested in people that hold the ITIL Expert credential. The ITIL Expert credential is difficult to achieve, and because of this it is indicative that an individual understands how to apply the ITIL best practices in various situations. Many different industries and organizations, including everything from higher education to state and federal government to health care and financial services, are interested in service management professionals.
Third, someone holding an ITIL Expert credential is often of interest to various consulting companies that help their customers improve through adoption of ITIL best practices. In fact, many of the ITIL instructors at Global Knowledge receive several contacts per week from companies looking for people who are ITIL Experts with broad exposure to various industries and organizations
Other options that are available include becoming an accredited trainer, which involves helping other people understand and apply ITIL, and becoming an independent consultant, which involves working with organizations to assist them with adoption and application of the best practices. In the case of becoming independent you quickly learn that it’s your ability to communicate the value that you provide that matters, which is exactly what ITIL training reinforces.
There are many options once someone has earned the ITIL Expert certification. The most important thing is that we apply the knowledge we’ve learned and that we continue to update and improve our knowledge. Continual improvement of knowledge and a commitment to lifelong learning is what supports our long-term ability to offer valuable services.