Project Management

ITIL Certification Path: What’s Next After ITIL v3 Foundation?

April 30, 2014

Bita Beigishah

Life after ITIL v3 Foundations tends to be a little unclear for most people and the primary reason for that is that the difference between ITIL’s Lifecycle and Capability streams is not explicitly defined. Students often ask us “What’s next?” after ITIL Foundation. They need guidance on understanding the ITIL certification path and where to take their next step towards ITIL expert. You have an exact plan mapped out prior to going for ITIL Foundation, but it’s good to know your options.

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They need guidance on understanding the ITIL certification path and where to take their next step towards ITIL expert.  The hard truth is frankly that it depends. Below we provide insight into the qualification scheme of the ITIL framework in order to help you better understand the differences between ITIL Capability and Lifecycle certification paths.

The Difference between the ITIL Lifecycle and Capability

After completing the ITIL Foundations course, the next step on the journey to Expert status is to attain 15 credits in either the Lifecycle or Capability streams or, in some unique cases, both streams may be appropriate, but we’ll touch on that more later on in the post.

When trying to decide between these two modules you should start with this question:

“Is my job role focused on managing the strategy as a whole or is it focused more on the technical aspects of the strategy’s processes?”

If you are focused on the overall strategy, then the Lifecycle stream may be the best route for you.

Here are the Service Lifecycle Modules:

These courses will not take a detailed look into the processes themselves, but it will address them in relation to policy, organizational structure and additional key phases of the entire Lifecycle. Instruction in these five areas will ultimately provide students with a high-level overview of the ITIL practice areas and, as a result, is best suited for those seeking leadership roles within their organization.

If you are focused on the individual processes, then consider yourself a perfect candidate for the Capability stream.

Here are the Service Capability Modules:

These courses will take a detailed look into each of the processes necessary to execute the ITIL practices. These courses will provide students with intense and detailed instruction on each process which makes this stream ideal for those individuals in more of technical or hands-on role.

When to Combine ITIL Lifecycle and Capability Streams

It is not often that combining courses in both the Lifecycle and Capability streams are appropriate for an individual. As the above breakdown of the two streams states, they are really clear cut in defining the audiences each appeals to and most people can envision themselves falling into one category over another. Additionally, focusing on just one stream will ensure that you build the right set of core knowledge necessary to do well on the next qualification phase which is Managing Across the Lifecycle (MALC).

However, in some cases, a need for knowledge in both the management and technical side of things may be necessary. If you already have a strong background in a few of the areas of one stream and want to compliment it with more detailed knowledge in those areas but not necessarily the stream as a whole, then the mix and match approach may be best. The best way to determine this is to read the details of each level in both streams and determine your areas of strength and the areas you want to improve on. If you do this, chances are you will find the combination that is most appropriate for you.

The one concern you should have when combining the two streams is that your combination will still offer the broad set of knowledge needed to pass the later qualifications of ITIL Managing Across the Lifecycle, ITIL Expert Level, and ITIL Master Qualification.

To see examples of the different paths you can take toward the ITIL Expert Certification, download our ITIL certification path below.

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