As some of you know, I previously discussed my experience with the CompTIA Security+ exam. That particular endeavor was challenging enough, but the material flowed rather easily, so it ended up being quite agreeable. Being the bright young thing I am, the next step was to pursue the ITIL Foundation test, which resulted in a peculiar saga.
What Is ITIL?
To put things simply, a framework for IT management developed by the UK government for use in various different industries. While it does have business applications, the models and principles end up feeling extremely bureaucratic, even more so than those covered by Security+.
How I Studied
My initial move was to grab the iCertify study guide on Amazon, which cost about $35.00. It had countless positive reviews and seemed to be a flagship offering, so I went ahead. Bad decision. One of the reviewers noted that the book seemed to have been written by a robot or algorithm, and I would have to concur. The pages were replete with spelling errors, grammatical nightmares, and incorrect spacing of words. Even the practice tests had inaccurate answer keys, and were almost unusable. As a result, I sent back for a refund. If I am correct, iCertify has since removed the book from Amazon, at least temporarily.
The next chapter involved using the study app off of Google Play made by PaulWen. This proved more useful, with over 600 practice questions and answers. I also took advantage of a special on Udemy to purchase six practice tests offered by Jason Dion for around $14.00. These were valuable for studying, but I found the real exam to be markedly different, so their utility is somewhat limited.
To take the exam itself, I bought a package from iCertify which allows two resits for $350.00. This was more than I wanted to pay, especially after the study guide dilemma, but it ended up being a wise choice. The full price voucher is $300.00, and a second one runs you fifty dollars anyway, so it’s not a terrible deal. As it turned out, the pocket guide and practice tests included in iCertify’s package were right on the mark, making my second run at the exam a lot easier.
Is The Test Hard?
This will depend on how readily the material comes to you. The first time I took it, the results shocked me: 24/40, all while I needed 26 to pass. I attribute this to confusion over differences between the Service Value System model and Service Value Chain. Further complicating the matter is how vague and overlapping ITIL tends to be. It is thus easy to get confused and answer for the wrong option, which means delivering more money to PeopleCert, the exam provider.
After reviewing my weaknesses, I sat again and crushed the test. If you are looking to do the same, make sure to hone in on the following:
- Difference between Service Value System and Service Value Chain.
- Have a firm understanding of the SVC practices.
- Understand the difference between processes for a Change Schedule, Continual Improvement, and Change Control.
- Be clear about the various management types: Deployment vs. Release, Incident vs. Problem, etc.
- Do not neglect how various management models interact with SVC practices, such as Service Request Management together with Deliver and Support.
What’s The Cert Worth?
ITIL is less common in the United States outside of contracting, but it is growing due to the standardizing nature of the principles. Your job may not forcibly require it, but having the cert looks good, especially in an IT project management environment.