On Wednesday, the blog “Joe the IT Guy” published an article purporting to offer five tips to help people get started with ITIL. On our reading of the post, it seems that the tips themselves would be more helpful to organizations than to individuals, and could best be implemented by professionals who have already acquired ITIL training and some experience with its usage. Nevertheless, the article – particularly its introductory remarks – does serve to reiterate an important point about the value of ITIL training and online information technology training in general.

On the other hand, we recognize the potential for “Joe the IT Guy” to raise doubts in the minds of some readers who are just beginning to consider enrolling in an ITIL training program or formally pursuing the topic online. That is to say, the article begins by emphasizing the fact ITIL training introduces a person to at least 26 separate processes, only some of which any given company is likely to implement. Additionally, it point out that ITIL reaches well beyond these processes to further create a situation in which ITIL training is “not something that you can be compliant with, as it’s not a standard.”

This description gives the impression that ITIL training has limited direct application to your potential future employment, in the sense that you’ll still have to learn a series of company-specific processes and practices. But this by no means leads to the conclusion that ITIL training is not acutely useful in starting an information technology career. At worst, it calls for some learners to shift their expectations. But it also encourages a broader set of expectations, because it shows that ITIL training gives you the tools to more quickly learn the best practices that are utilized by any number of institutions.

As well as teaching you a series of best practices from which to choose, ITIL training teaches you how to shift between them and make the best use of a number of processes, as the situation demands. Sometimes those demands will be foisted upon you by a company that has already adapted ITIL training into its own institutional culture. In those cases, having the same groundwork will certainly help you to understand your position in the company’s structure, even if you had different initial impressions about how ITIL training would be utilized.

But in other cases, your ITIL training will give you the tools necessary to dictate a company or department’s best practices where none have yet been established. This speaks to the importance of the blog post’s focus on the institutional uses of ITIL. It goes to show that when a highly placed employee has expertise derived from ITIL training, not only are employees capable of adapting to the institution, but the institution is capable of adapting to its employees, clients, and newfound needs.

Obviously, every type of online information technology training program functions to show how you are an asset to the company. But ITIL training is a particularly important starting point specifically because it provides you with a wide range of tools with which to shape your own work and the practices employed by your entire department.