ITIL is an abbreviation for Information Technology Infrastructure Library. Based on work originally undertaken for the British Government’s Central Computer and Telecommunications Agency (CCTA) in the 1980s, it evolved into a set of recommendations and best practices that exercise profound impact on IT practices, processes, and procedures all over the world today. The fundamental concept is that standard IT practices help to ensure proper implementation, management, and maintenance of information technology for businesses and government bodies alike.
The first version, known as ITIL v1, was published by 1996, involved publication of over 30 volumes of material. By 2001, ITIL v2 compacted these publications into a collection of 8 logical sets that combined related process guidelines and practices for IT management, applications, and services. The primary focus in these materials is called Service Management (comprised of Service Delivery and Service Support), and provide the most widely published and used elements within ITIL v2.
By 2001 the CCTA was absorbed into the Office of Government Commerce (OGC) which is an arm of the UK Treasury department. By mid-2007, the OGC produced ITIL v3 which is comprised of 26 functions and processes, grouped into 5 volumes organized around a service lifecycle structure. By 2009 ITIL v2 certifications were withdrawn, and a transition to v3 certifications was made public. Nevertheless, v2 materials and information remain both popular and in-demand in IT organizations around the world. But by the end of June, 2011, ITIL v3 remains the only ITIL version still current, and defines the topics around which IT Professionals will want to seek certification.
The ITIL v3 certifications are modular, where each qualification earns a specific credit value. Upon completion of any given module, an individual earns some number of credits and a specific credential. The ITIL v3 Foundation certification is the base level, and earns 2 points. Intermediate credentials require 15 points and may come from a collection of either Lifecycle or Capability topics, or a combination of the two, where each Lifecycle cert earns 3 credits and each Capability cert earns 4. Candidates seeking Expert level certification must earn 22 points (2 from the Foundation, 15 from the Intermediate, and 5 credits from a “Managing Across the Lifecycle” exam).
For more information about topics and credentials please see my PearsonITCertification blog entitled “ITIL Certs Can Be a Real Career Booster for IT Professional.”