ITIL Certification Levels

February 17, 2022

By Simpliaxis


ITIL or Information Technology Infrastructure Library lays down the best practices that should be used when delivering IT services. It offers an organized and systematic approach to IT Service Management and IT Asset Management in order to align the needs of a business with IT solutions. It provides detailed procedures, processes, checklists, and tasks that any organization can apply to deliver quality IT solutions and stay competent. The primary purpose of ITIL is to adhere to all compliance requirements and to measure an organization’s improvement from an IT perspective. There are multiple advantages of using ITIL as a framework for IT service management: increasing productivity, strengthening customer relations, managing risk, reducing cost, and building a robust IT environment.

History of ITIL

ITIL versions have developed and changed over time in order to keep up with the times. ITIL Certification Levels are courses that individuals can do to demonstrate that they are educated in service management best practices, relevant terminology, processes, and methods prevalent in modern IT. The first such certification level was developed in the 1980s by the United Kingdom Government’s Central Computer and Telecommunications Agency (CCTA). It was based on a Plan-do-Check-act (PDCA) model, which is often credited to W. Edwards Deming. This framework was called the Government Information Technology Infrastructure Management (GITIM). The purpose of this was to standardise all the IT management procedures across all government agencies. By the end of the 1980s, a need was felt both in the private and public sector IT departments to develop a better framework around IT Service Management. This is when ITIL actually came into being. At this juncture, ITIL was simply a library of information that charted the best methods to manage an IT department. In order to develop this, many concepts were borrowed from IBM’s Information System Management Architecture. In the early 2000s, ITIL Version 2 was developed, which consolidated most of the ITIL guidance procedures and put them into nine publications. Then in 2007, ITIL Version 3 was developed, which was then updated in 2011 after taking feedback from the user and training community. Finally, in February 2019, ITIL Version 4 was published by AXELOS, which incorporates the latest technology and service management trends. The ITIL Version 4 is a completely revised model and is a major upgrade from ITIL Version 3. This article will talk in detail about ITIL version 4 and the various certification levels.

ITIL Version 4

ITIL Version 4 is a transformational framework for managing IT Service Management. The biggest shift that is present in this framework is that it is no more about adding value to the business but working with the business to create value together. It provides the framework necessary for today’s day and age and utilizes modern technology such as cloud computing, Agile, and DevOps. The major components of the ITIL Version 4 are the ITIL Service Value Systems (SVS) and the four-dimension model. 

The ITIL Service Value System provides a flexible operating model for the continuous improvement of services by enhancing a business’s creation and delivery. The main aspects of the ITIL SVS are:

  • Service Value Chain

  • ITIL Practices

  • ITIL Guiding Principles

  • Governance

  • Continuous Improvement

The ITIL Four Dimension model is designed in a manner to make the ITIL SVS a holistic and effective system. The four dimensions are:

  • Organization and People

  • Information and Technology

  • Partners and Supplier

  • Value Streams and Processes

ITIL Certification Levels under version 4

ITIL Foundation:

This is the first stage for anyone who wishes to do a certification course in ITIL 4. This is an entry-level certification course that covers the basics of ITIL 4. Any person who is appearing for an ITIL 4 Foundation Exam must have the following knowledge –

  • a basic understanding of making valuable products and services for the stakeholders and customers

  • the basic principles which govern ITIL 4

  • the four dimensions of service management

  • the best practices of ITIL 4

  • key concepts of Lean, Agile, and DevOps

The ITIL foundation course is designed to take place over two and a half days. After the classes are completed, there will be a one-hour exam which will consist of 40 MCQ. Any candidate for this exam must get at least 26 correct answers to pass these ITIL levels.

ITIL Managing Professional (MP):

This ITIL Certification Levels are meant for people who are IT practitioners who work with technology and digital teams across various organizations. Under this ITIL Managing Professional Certification Level, the information which is necessary for running an IT Project, workflows, teams using technical and practical skills is taught. In order to pass the ITIL Certification Levels, a candidate will have to pass a number of exam modules which are as follows –

  • ITIL Specialist (Create Deliver & Support):

This module covers core service management methods, service performance, improvement methods, and service quality methods. This module is basically designed for an ITSM professional tasked with the end-end to deliver IT Services and products.

  • ITIL Specialist (Driver Stakeholder Value):

This module deals with the service provider's engagement and interaction between customers, suppliers, users, and partners. It will cover SLA Design, customer journey mapping, communication, relationship management, Multi-supplier Management, and CX and UX design.

  • ITIL Specialist (High Velocity IT):

Under this module, a candidate will be taught how to integrate different methodologies like Agile and Lean with other technical skills such as automation and cloud computing to ensure speedy delivery of products and services.

  •  ITIL Strategist (Direct Plan & Improve):

In this module, the practical skills necessary to develop a learning and improve IT organization has a robust and effective strategic direction. The focus will be kept on using Agile and Lean to make plans and be able to deliver continuous improvements quickly.

ITIL Strategic Leader (SL):

ITIL 4 has another kind of Certification Level, which is called the ITIL Strategic Leader. This certificate level is for all types of digitally enabled services which is part of an organization and not just their IT operations. This certification course is focused on how IT influences and informs business strategy. In order to pass these ITIL levels, a candidate must pass two exam modules:

  • ITIL Strategist (Direct Plan & Improve): 

This module is the same as the one present in the ITIL Managing Professional certification course.

  • ITIL Leader (Digital & IT Strategy):

This module contains knowledge on how to align business with IT strategy and be prepared to cope with any disruptive technology that may rise in the future. Further, this module teaches how to remain flexible in order to be competitive in a fast-changing market and implement effective IT and digital strategies.

ITIL Master

The ITIL Master certification level is different from all other ITIL Levels because this does not have any module or prescribed syllabus that a person can do and acquire this certification level. In order to be eligible for this ITIL Master Certification Level, a candidate must have completed both ITIL MP and ITIL SL certification levels and have at least five years of experience working in ITSM as a leader of a team or as part of the management or advisory group.


This ITIL certification level requires a strong background in ITSM and a thorough hands-on experience working with ITIL. Every candidate has a personalized test that is based on every individual candidate’s prior experience. In order to achieve this ITIL Certification Level, a candidate will have to demonstrate – how they have selected and applied a range of knowledge, methods, principles, and techniques from the ITIL framework and the supporting management techniques to achieve desired business outcomes.



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