Now ITIL® V3 is here, what does this mean for our qualifications?

So you have invested time and money in becoming a qualified ITIL® professional. With the changes in V3, are these qualifications still valid and meaningful?

This is probably one of the biggest debates in the IT Service Management community currently.

What I can tell you about the current state of play regarding qualifications is that there are bridging courses now available at Foundation level so that you can upgrade existing V2 qualifications to the V3 framework. The Bridging exam and syllabus for the Manager’s certificate is still under review and last I heard it will not be available until the first quarter of next year.

The V3 Foundation training is being reviewed in the light of concerns raised regarding the emphasis on Continual Service Improvement and Service Strategy; changes are likely to the syllabus as a result of this.

There has been some interesting discussion on the topic of exams and training for V3 on the IT Skeptic blog.

The new Manager’s qualification (the ITIL Diploma – although the name is still up for debate) will be made up of credits – you will be able to pick and choose the areas which apply best to the area you are working in to gain sufficient credits for the qualification.

There is a planned level above the ITIL Diploma qualification (Advanced Service Management Professional qualification), but details on this still seem to be a bit sketchy – there is not expected to be much more available on this until next year.

My own personal opinion is that the tried and tested V2 syllabus and exams are still valuable and valid qualifications. These qualifications are likely to remain available past the end of 2008 following feedback from the ITSM community. If I was looking at starting out now I would be trying to get my V2 qualifications and then bridge these to V3 once the syllabus and exams have had all the kinks ironed out of them.

From what I have seen of the proposed structure for the ITIL Diploma qualification, this will be a FAR more economical way to get this prized qualification under your belt. The number of training days required to get enough modules for the Diploma qualification if you start from scratch with V3 is going to make this qualification financially out of reach for many in the industry, it is hard enough to build a business case to do the V2 Manager’s certificate – the training days required for the V3 Diploma appear to be 2-3 times as many.

To get the new diploma you need to get 22 credits by taking the foundation course and various practitioner courses. From what I have been able to find so far it would appear that each course, worth 3-4 credits will take you around 30 hours of training - so you are looking at around 180 hours of training time to get the diploma. The V2 Manager's certificate was around 80 hours including the Foundation. It appears that the V3 Bridging course will also be around 30 hours. So doing the math, it is pretty obvious that getting the V2 qualifications and bridging is going to save a lot of time and money!

One thing to remember though, the pass rate for the Manager's bridging exam has been set at 80%, so you are really going to have to know your stuff to pass.

Some of the information on the qualifications is still a bit hazy, and it is a bit hard to get the full picture until the new courses start and people begin to get these qualifications, but I know what I would be recommending right now.

While the return to training organisations for each person who qualifies for the Diploma will be far greater than for the V2 Manager’s certificate, I think it will be a hard sell to get people to make the financial commitment needed to get there. So while I have heard a number of comments about what a windfall this is to trainers, I have a feeling that the opposite may be true…I guess time will tell.