IT Service Management is playing a larger role than ever in the world of business. IT-powered services and products continually drive essential internal business operations, automating and scaling them in a way that enables companies to grow. Meanwhile, customer-facing digital services form the foundation of value generation in the Digital Age, and failing to optimize them can seriously hamper an organization’s ability to compete.

In this environment, the name ITIL comes up a lot. ITIL 4 is an ITSM framework offering best practices for planning, creating, implementing, managing, and improving IT services. While it is not the only ITSM framework available, it has long set a standard and is even used as a prerequisite in many high-level IT job roles.

With this in mind, many candidates interested in IT careers explore ITIL as a stepping stone. Indeed, career growth is one of the main reasons candidates pursue professional qualifications. As a best practice framework, ITIL 4 offers tools, insight, and ways of working that can make relevant users far more capable and effective in their roles while also preparing them to take on new responsibilities.

This begs the question, does studying ITIL help candidates advance their careers? Furthermore, who can get the most value from studying ITIL? And if ITIL is a career booster, how much can prospective practitioners expect to earn?

In this article, we explore how ITIL can improve your career in IT.

Is ITIL an IT framework?

While ITIL plays a large role in IT services, it is not strictly accurate to call it an IT framework. That is to say, it is not a technical certification suited to entry or low-level employees who primarily interact with the services being managed. If you are a coder or IT technician, studying ITIL may not be a strictly practical choice compared to alternatives such as CompTIA A+.

Don’t worry if this is confusing. After all, ‘IT’ makes up half of the ‘IT Infrastructure Library’ that used to give ITIL its name. 

Rather than being a technical IT framework, ITIL is more of a management framework. It focuses on how to plan, create, implement, manage, and continually improve IT services in a way that supports the business. This makes it primarily suited for current and prospective managers.

However, that is not to say that studying ITIL does not benefit candidates who have yet to reach this level.

Is ITIL relevant for my current role?

The short answer to this question is that it depends on your seniority. However, while managers will get more direct use from ITIL, that does not mean that lower-level employees cannot benefit from studying it.

The ITIL certification syllabus can give less experienced candidates a clear understanding of how IT services and the wider business interact and support one another. ITIL 4 Foundation is also a prerequisite for taking the Intermediate exams, which are more specialized in what they cover.

There are also ITIL Awareness courses that are better suited to junior positions. They offer a quick overview of the framework, its purpose, and how it applies to ITSM operations, management, and strategy. It also gives candidates a clear idea of more advanced roles and responsibilities that they can aim for with further experience.

Of course, it’s a different story for mid to high-level managers. The intermediate ITIL certification path deals with more specific elements of IT management and strategy, such as:

  • Making sure IT services create value for stakeholders
  • Planning, creating, implementing, and supporting IT services
  • Aligning ITSM with long-term business strategy
  • Engaging with stakeholders and helping them understand ITSM
  • Continually improving IT services

For candidates interested in advancing their careers further, this kind of knowledge is essential. The ITIL framework is based on well-practiced expertise from a global community of practitioners and is updated on a regular basis to cover the latest areas of interest in the ITSM landscape. It sets a reliable standard that businesses are well aware of, helping qualified practitioners stand out from their colleagues.

Are ITIL qualifications desirable?

As we mentioned previously, ITIL is the world’s most popular ITSM framework. It is used extensively throughout multiple industries, including Healthcare, Education, Retail, Technology, and Finance, as well as both public and private sectors. The flexibility and range of information covered by the framework also make it suitable for companies regardless of their size, with everyone from small startups to multinational giants placing value on ITIL practitioners.

Part of the reason for this is detail. ITIL covers the breadth of ITSM and is updated frequently to cover new topics, such as sustainability and Cloud services. This makes ITIL an excellent choice for companies eager to cover all the bases and take advantage of as many opportunities as possible. 

That being said, not all ITIL practitioners are certified with up-to-date qualifications. For example, many ITIL v3 practitioners have simply built their knowledge organically over time rather than seeking certification in the new framework. AXELOS and other thought leaders also provide a range of resources on developments in ITSM that can often be accessed free of charge.

However, it is important to keep in mind how the job market works. These days, it is largely driven by recruiters, and recruiters love qualifications. It simply makes finding candidates easier, meaning that practitioners are more likely to hear about new vacancies. 

Businesses also put a great deal of faith in qualifications. Becoming certified verifies a candidate’s knowledge, and combining this with sufficient experience makes it far easier to demonstrate that a candidate is capable of performing well in key roles. For this reason, many senior positions will have qualifications like ITIL as a prerequisite.

How much can I earn as an ITIL practitioner?

ITIL is relevant to a wide variety of high-level roles. Here are a few examples.

IT Project Manager:

This role focuses on integrating business and IT in order to achieve key deliverables. It requires knowledge of the IT service lifecycle and the ability to coordinate staff in different roles and departments. Most importantly, they must be capable of taking ITSM projects from conception to completion.

What to study: In this case, candidates can benefit from exploring the ITIL Managing Professional (MP) branch of the certification path. This offers skills, tools, and practices to effectively manage IT services, teams, and workflows. The ITIL Strategic Leader (SL) modules can also help managers understand how to keep projects aligned with strategic goals, preparing them to move forward into program management.

Average salary: According to PayScale, IT project managers earn an average base salary of $89,231 in the USA and £44,039 in the UK.

Service Desk Manager

This role involves managing the daily operations for incidents that appear with IT services. Service desk managers serve as points of contact and manage communication, temporary fixes, and escalation for an organization. They will also engage with customers and be responsible for delivering appropriate standards of support. Finally, service desk managers also play a role in service improvement initiatives and managing service desk teams.

What to study: The intermediate modules Drive Stakeholder Value (DSV) and Create, Deliver and Support (CDS) are ideal here. They demonstrate how to support deployed IT services, as well as how they create value for customers and clients. Candidates will also gain a clear understanding of the tools and processes involved.

Average salary: According to Payscale, service desk managers earn an average base salary of $74,980 in the USA and £34,711 in the UK.

IT Director:

This senior position requires strong, well-developed knowledge of the full ITSM process. This includes the tools, roles, responsibilities, and practices involved, both in terms of daily operations and strategic growth. IT directors play a key role in larger corporate and digital transformation initiatives and are experts at establishing the goals required to deliver market-leading IT services.

What to study: For an aspiring IT director, it is advised to look at both the Managing Professional and Strategic Leader streams. This will give them a clear perspective of the different levels and stages of ITSM, including project and program management. It will also provide them with diverse knowledge that will allow them to communicate effectively with both team members and senior stakeholders.

Average salary: According to Payscale, IT directors earn an average base salary of $122,622 in the USA and £86,203 in the UK.

Getting started with ITIL training

Before getting started with ITIL training, it is important to make sure it is relevant to your current or intended career path. As we mentioned previously, ITIL has a global community of practitioners, with many using websites like LinkedIn and Quora to answer questions from prospective candidates. It can be a good idea to defer to these communities and look for other resources on relevant IT careers before making an investment.

When you are ready to begin training, it will be important to ensure your chosen course is accredited. This simply means that the course has an appropriate level of quality and will help prepare you to pass your exams.

Good e-Learning is an award-winning training provider, as well as an accredited Market Leader for ITIL online training. We work with subject matter experts, including several ITIL authors, to deliver engaging and unique training experiences. Our in-house training specialists also produce a range of highly engaging ITIL training resources, including instructor-led videos, whitepapers, webinars, and gamified quizzes.

We also offer free exam vouchers for every candidate, as well as free resits via Exam Pledge.

Want to find out more? Visit the Good e-Learning website today!

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Philip is a content writer with experience across multiple industries, including gaming, home improvement, and now e-learning. He graduated from the London School of Economics with a BA in History before taking on various odd jobs and volunteer writing positions, but soon broke into professional writing as a retail journalist. Now focusing on content writing, Philip is a tireless enemy of cliched corporate jargon. He believes that marketing content should be clear, concise and relevant to readers. Rather than assuming that customers know all about your solution, it is up to you to identify with their problem and offer something that will really get their attention. As such, he strives to understand the real-world applications of Good e-Learning’s product portfolio so that it can be explained in a way that is both coherent and down to earth. If you cannot understand what you are selling, you won’t get far! In his spare time, Philip enjoys watching movies, gaming and writing with friends.