As part of our Built on ITIL® blog post series, one of our most prolific guest bloggers, Adam McCullough, shares his ITIL journey: was it coincidental for someone who was working at NASA to find ITIL helped his career “sky rocket”?
Working in ITSM supporting NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in 2009, I was among a group of people who became ITIL Foundation-certified.
I knew nothing about ITIL at that time and certification was a requirement for my organization to tender for a new contract. Being both junior and naïve about my career development, I thought that helping put a man into space was enough of a job!
But actually, taking ITIL was the start of a professional and personal growth journey and a peek behind the curtain at the of world managing IT as a service.
Skills, tools and expertise
The Foundation course put in perspective what we were trying to do holistically – managing IT and making improvements to services provided to customers – and my role in a massive, $1.2bn programme.
It also helped me start thinking about what comes next. Before ITIL I wasn’t sure where I wanted to go in my career; but it introduced me to other programmes and other companies doing this type of work.
And what came next really sky-rocketed my career: in 2011-12 I became connected to a capability organization and did the ITIL Continual Service Improvement certification. My mentors emphasized how important it was for someone to have the certification to help the organization win new business. This led to writing proposals based on ITIL to win multi-million-dollar contracts.
By the end of 2012 I was the youngest and most junior among eight colleagues to become an ITIL Expert. Then, it really clicked that this was something to build a career on.
Opening doors with ITIL
The past six years have been life changing in terms of professional and personal growth. From being a systems administrator in 2011 I’ve become a thought leader in ITIL and am helping companies manage their IT services significantly better. I’ve achieved other certifications – other tools in the tool belt – and opened other doors. I’ve gone from growing up in a small town in Florida to travelling around the world for my work.
And then, becoming certified to teach ITIL to others has been a great way to really think about how to contribute to an organization; teaching reaffirms what you do and how to help others grow their career.
So, the question I ask every student is: “What do you hope to get out of this course?” While the most common answer is “to pass the test” I always suggest they don’t stop there but apply what they’ve learned because of the growth potential they’ll get.
Future-proofing your career with ITIL
I’ve had such a good experience with ITIL and the tangible results I’ve seen; but I’m not done yet – I want to be an ITIL Master one day.
And for highly-functioning organizations around the world the demand for ITIL, in fact, is increasing as technology moves towards digital transformation, modernization and AI.
There will always be the cycle of continual improvement in IT – and the need for ITIL – until the day that every organization on the planet is perfect, runs how it should, with no problems and without human intervention.
When managing IT as a service, you have to think of it like Batman and his utility belt: you might add other tools but ITIL will be one of the tools you’ll always need to return to as technology evolves.
I come from a humble background where I never imagined I’d be working for Fortune 100 companies. ITIL has helped me get there and opened my eyes to the career possibilities – and that’s much more than just a paper certification. So, I can definitely say that my career has been ‘Built on ITIL’.
For more information, see our Built on ITIL pages.
Read more Blog Posts in the Built on ITIL series
Built on ITIL: quality and consistency in service delivery
Built on ITIL: a service management foundation for the future
Built on ITIL: ITIL – the tool that just keeps giving
Built on ITIL: digital transformation is an organizational challenge
Built on ITIL: taking ITSM to the next level