Many people working in information technology support services plan to get an ITIL® foundation certification within the next five to ten years. This entry-level certificate is designed to test the candidate's knowledge of best practices in information technology support. There are three steps required to obtain an ITIL® foundation certification: learn the material, register for an examination, and write the examination.
The information technology infrastructure library (ITIL®) is a set of books designed to provide guidance and standards for the daily management and operation of information technology services. The material was originally developed by the UK public service in an attempt to establish best practices and standards for service providers. Over time, this work has been modified and edited to make it more universal.
There are three levels of ITIL® certification: foundations, practitioner, and service manager. The foundations certificate is focused on the terminology used, as well as the basic philosophy and overall concepts used in service management. This is a preliminary course and successful completion is required to take the practitioner level. There is a significant amount of material to be absorbed, but it is mostly definitions and is not very complex.
At the practitioner level, the material is focused on an in-depth understanding of the primary concepts of information technology service management. The manager certificate requires a combination of related experience and a full understanding of service management topics. This is the highest level of certification in the ITIL®.
The only way to obtain ITIL® foundation certification is to register and complete the examination. This exam is available from registered examination centers around the world. The exam itself is one hour in length and is comprised of multiple choice questions. There are private institutions that offer short courses and access to reference materials designed to help students prepare for the examination.
Most students are advised to take three to four days of full-time study to prepare for this exam. A minimum mark of 65 percent is required to successfully pass this examination. The questions are phrased to specificly test the level of knowledge and may include several trick questions. Students who are unsuccessful may retake the exam within six weeks, but are required to pay the examination fee again.
The ITIL® foundation certification is most relevant for information technology service staff. He or she may have a position as a technologist or network support operator. The vast majority of candidates register for the practitioner certificate upon successful completion of the ITIL® foundation certificate. An increasing number of firms and organizations are specifically asking for ITIL® certification for service-related positions.