What do you think of ITIL v3 certifications?

The new qualification scheme for ITIL v3 has now been out for some time and the leading training providers have begun delivering courses on the new Intermediate level (at least here in Sweden). This new set of courses made publicly available during the next couple of months will probably raise some questions regarding certification and perhaps some interest in some real life experience of this new qualification scheme. I have not found much to read except the "official sources" about this subject and therefor I want to share my personal experience of this new set of certifications.

A couple of months ago I embarked on the long and winding road towards an ITIL v3 Expert certification. I'm well aware of the bridging possibility between the v1/v2 Service Manager and ITIL v3 Expert. This blog post is not about this way of achieving the ITIL Expert diploma. It only covers the "all v3" qualification and is not about the bridge. I thought this to be a fun way of checking my knowledge regarding ITIL v3 against the defined "standards" of APMG/OGC and in doing so also to fulfill a personal goal.
Before any critics of certification stop reading or come barking at me I must say that I do not mean that certification always is a valid proof of knowledge (and even to a less extent of experience) and that I've long time ago realized that a lot of people have the skills without having the diplomas and vice versa.

Credits are earned by attending a course held by an Accredited Training Organisation (ATO) and passing the corresponding exam. All who have passed the Foundation level exam on v3 (or added a bridging exam to the v2 Foundation exam) have earned 2 credits. Each exam passed on Intermediate level is worth 3 credits (per Lifecycle course) and 4 credits (per Capability course). The difference between the two streams (Lifecycle vs Capability) is (in short) that focus in the Lifecycle courses is on a "managerial and supervisory" perspective and that the Capability courses have a more "day-to-day" perspective and are similar to the old clustered Practitioner courses from version 2. The Lifecycle course goes through each process/function from that particular phase of the Lifecycle. The Capability course can cluster processes/functions together from different phases of the Lifecycle if they are closely related. The difference shows both in value (3 vs 4 credits) and in time in the classroom (at most ATO's 3 days vs 5 days). If you are one of those holding a v2 Practitioner certification (cluster or single) you are able to count some credits for that achievement.

Because of the overlapping of courses (Capability and Lifecycle) in v3 and also of the v2 Practitioner exams you will not be able to count every credit earned in the scheme. An exact view of how many credits you need to reach the ITIL Expert title can be checked with the Credit Profiler which is an interactive web page where you can click the exams you have passed and get a view of what those are worth on your way towards an ITIL Expert diploma. The truth is that I already have earned more credits than the needed (22) to achieve the ITIL Expert diploma already but I can not account for more than 20.
This is a thing to observe for all you people aspiring to become ITIL Experts. You must earn (as it says in the scheme) "a balanced set" of certifications on the Intermediate level. If your goal is only to achieve the ITIL Expert title you should absolutely use the Credit Profiler to avoid any redundancy in your certifications. I personally think that a lot of people will not focus on the ITIL Expert title but on covering both the Lifecycle perspective and the Capability perspective of some processes/functions. Thus attending both courses (e.g. RCV and ST) and taking both exams. A mandatory course and exam that stands between each candidate and the title is "Managing Across the LifeCycle" (MALC). This exam is (if comparing the Blooms taxonomy rating) a more difficult one than the other Intermediate level exams. Courses will (when publicly available in the beginning of 2009) probably be 5 days long and include a lot of excersices that are to prove comprehensive knowledge in the ITIL/ITSM domain. Having the advantage of working for an ATO and therefore having possibility to take the exam earlier I'm up for this exam in a couple of weeks... :-)

After sharing a bit of my own experience (so far) I'm very interested in hearing comments, suggestions and not the least experiences from you guys and girls out there. What do you think of the new ITIL certifications?

Best regards,

David :-)

P.S. If you don't want to post a comment maybe you can fill in your current level of certification in the form on the top to the right. This is just a little poll of my own... D.S.

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