ITIL 4 and PMP – Will doing both help me?

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What is PMP®?

The Project Management Professional (PMP) is a certification administered by the Project Management Institute (PMI). It is one of the most important and recognized certification for professionals working on project management in any industry.

(For more information about PMP, please check my other answer at What is a PMP certification?)

What is ITIL?

The Information Technology Infrastructure Library (ITIL®) is a set of practices for IT service management (ITSM) initially developed by United Kingdom’s Cabinet Office. ITIL provides a comprehensive set of best practices for IT service management.

It describes processes, procedures, tasks and checklists that are not specific to any kinds of organization. ITIL can be used by an organization to establish integration with the organization’s strategy, deliver value and maintain compliance.

PMP or ITIL, which one is better?

These two are different certification and can co-exist . PMP is bible of project management which can be applied across industries for any project while ITIL is more oriented to service organization where you need to build process for customer support. ITIL more suited for daily operation work rather than projects.

You cant actually compare the two…both are different approaches and have different working frameworks. While PMP helps you to learn the tactics for driving your projects towards success, ITIL works on your technical fronts. It wont be thus right to compare PMP with ITIL. The fact is that these two credentials actually complement each other and add considerable credibility to your profile.

  • PMP (similar to Prince2) is the basis for any project management career . I have seen administrators get PMP certified and be managing projects a month later. Almost immediate impact on salary as you typically change grade.
  • PMP is valued by US companies, ITIL is valued the world over.
  • Both are useful and will improve your chances of getting a job or going up a grade. ITIL will take longer and considerably more work to get to Manager level (the one that really counts) it is typically twice as expensive.
  • PMP can be gotten more quickly with intensive training session. Both require class room based training to complete
  • I found ITIL invaluable when I worked in a support and operations role. It will also be useful if you are looking for a career in management of IT. It had less of an impact on by salary than pure experience

The answer to this question will be divided into two parts, one will focus on Non-IT professionals whereas other will compare both certifications for I.T professionals.

 For Non-IT professionals

  • PMP is the right choice for Non-IT professionals, because ITIL is only applicable in IT industry.

For IT professionals

  • The question which often confuses many IT professionals is, whether they should go for PMP or ITIL certification to excel their career.

As can be seen with the descriptions above, ITIL Foundation Certificate and PMP credential are not mutually exclusive. It all depends whether you are in the IT service management industry and in which geographical location.

For project manager in the IT service management industry, both credentials are good for your career development.

You should also try to understand the qualification requirements for jobs in your geographical location. If the majority of employers look for professionals with ITIL certificates, ITIL is better for you. If many organizations in your area adopts the PMBOK Guide framework, getting the PMP credential will benefit your career more.

In terms of difficulties, though the PMP is considered tougher than the ITIL® Foundation, ITIL provides an advancement path to ITIL Intermediate or above which are much harder to get. Therefore, both certifications are considered to be of prime values.

In fact, many practitioners in the IT service management industry opt to obtain both the ITIL Foundation Certificate and the PMP Credential. PMP even recognizes the time spent on the training of ITIL Foundation can be used to claim professional development units (PDU) for credential renewal.

But, according to one search. all jobs. the average salary of PMP certified person is higher than ITIL certified.

Looking at the google trends, the demand for PMP certification is higher than the ITIL exam.


Although ITIL certification (Intermediate and above) is more limited and less applicable than the knowledge, skill and experience one gets as a PMP. If you absolutely love IT Operations, and process improvement, and are not much interested in project management then you should go for ITIL.

However, if you are looking for long term career growth inside a company and you want to know more about the business aspect of IT then the PMP is the much better than ITIL. Being a PMP does not exclude you from ITSM efforts (as noted above) and in fact may make you better at pitching, managing, and implementing various ITSM efforts. It will also give you a better foundation to explore other aspects of IT. Average salary of PMP is also more than ITIL.

Finally, for an IT professional the best thing would be to go for both PMP and ITIL.

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1 World Training offers following ITIL and Project Management Trainings





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