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Guide to ITIL® Certifications and Tips for Exam Success

Jan. 03, 2018
Michael Scarborough


This certification and exam guide discusses the various ITIL® certifications and what they might mean to you, your organization, and your career, as well as provide important test-taking tips for the ITIL certification exams. ITIL, which stands for Information Technology Infrastructure Library, is a collection of IT service management best practices designed to align IT services with business goals. ITIL focuses on providing a roadmap for organizations in order to improve on the capabilities of people, processes, and technology. Adoption of the ITIL framework can strengthen other business strategies, such as DevOps, cybersecurity, cloud computing, and other emerging trends.

ITIL certifications help individuals validate their ability to demonstrate skills from a foundational to a mastery level of IT service management. ITIL certification can often be a key differentiator in the marketplace as well.


ITIL certifications: functions and benefits

ITIL offers five different certification levels:

  • Foundation
  • Practitioner
  • Intermediate (Service Lifecycle and Service Capability)
  • Expert
  • Master

ITIL Foundation

ITIL Foundation is an introductory certification that demonstrates an individual has a baseline understanding of ITIL best practices. ITIL Foundation consists of a 40-question, multiple-choice exam that typically follows an ITIL Foundation course. However, ITIL Foundation is the one ITIL exam that does not require an individual to complete what are known as “contact hours” to be eligible to take the exam. Contact hours are required class or study time to be eligible to take the exam. ITIL Foundation has suggested hours, but no required contact hours. In other words, you can take a foundation class that includes the exam, or you can self-study and take the ITIL Foundation exam through a company like Prometric.

ITIL Foundation is targeted to a broad demographic, from service desk jobs to senior leadership and everything in between. One of the purposes of this certification is to help everyone in IT speak a common language. If you’re working in IT, or interested in working in IT, ITIL Foundation has quickly become an expectation in many organizations around the world. ITIL Foundation is an easy exam. Upon passing Foundation, two credits are earned. ITIL Foundation is really designed to be passable by most people in IT as it makes an individual eligible for the next level of certification, ITIL Intermediate.

Where Foundation simply introduces people to ITIL terminology and topics, the Intermediate level is more application-oriented. It’s also where the individual’s ability to apply ITIL best practices to common business situations is developed and tested.

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