Business Analysis Certification and What It Can Mean for You

business_analysisThis is Part 3 of a 3 part series exploring business analysis. See Part 1 and Part 2.

Part 3 looks at why, as a project manager, you might want to consider business analysis certification.  This builds on Part 1, which explores business analysis knowledge and credentials in a larger context, and Part 2, which explores the business analysis Knowledge Areas and commonalities with project management Knowledge Areas.

There are two certifications offered by the International Institute of Business Analysis, (IIBA), the largest and best known certifying organization in the area of business analysis skills.  The certifications are Certification of Competency in Business Analysis (CCBA ®) and the Certified Business Analysis Professional (CBAP®).

Why would you consider going for the CCBA ® or CBAP®?  Realistically and honestly, these certifications can be considered as “non-mandated necessities.” They are not compulsory! However, as with other certifications such as the PMP, in time they could become mandatory for some jobs, and a major differentiator for others.

Personal benefits to earning a business analysis certification

  1. There is statistically an earnings differential in favor of professionals that are certified.  However, is this because the better analysts get certified?  No matter what the answer, this would point to a benefit for getting certified!
  2. The influence and business value of business analysts is considered important to influencing more sound and informed business decisions.  That means it can have a big impact – as in “dollar impact.”  High financial impact means high value for you to the organization and good opportunities for advancement in responsibility and compensation.
  3. The personal recognition of certification validates that you’re good at what you’re doing and being respected for it.  In addition, having other options can help get you out of the bed in the morning and endure or even embrace another day at work with confidence in your future.
  4. Being a certified in business analysis and member of the IIBA provides networking opportunities for you.  That opportunity grows much more if you are also certified in something else, like the Project Management Professional (PMP).

Organizational benefits to earning a business analysis certification

  1. The organization is able to more effectively and efficiently implement of business analysis best practices across the organization.
  2. A well-trained business analyst, grounded in standard best practices, can reduce project risks, increasing ROI.
  3. If you are in consulting and sell services related to business analysis to your clients, business analysis certification gives your organization increased credibility with clients and other stakeholders.
  4. Businesses consider the practice of hiring certified professionals to be a risk reduction strategy.

Earning business analysis certification does come with some hurdles.

CBAP® certification, in a nutshell, requires a high school diploma or global equivalent; at least 7500 hours of business analysis work experience aligned with the BABOK® Guide in the last 10 years with at least 900 hours in four out of the six knowledge areas; at least 21 hours of professional development related to business analysis in the past four years; and two references from a career manager, CBAP® recipient, or client.

CCBA® certification, in a nutshell, requires a high school diploma or global equivalent; at least 3750 hours of business analysis work experience aligned with the BABOK® Guide in the last 7 years with at least 900 hours in two out of the six knowledge areas; at least 21 hours of professional development related to business analysis in the past four years; and two references from a career manager, CBAP® recipient, or client.

Conclusion

The bottom line is that it is challenging to earn business analysis certification, but it can be rewarding.  However, considering the benefits of developing business analysis skills for the short and long term of your career, it may very well be worth the effort for you if you qualify.  It can also be a great complement to the PMP or other certifications.  It can open the door to a new professional, or it can simply provide an additional skill set that is valued up and down the organization and can help you move up the organizational ladder or impress clients..

John Reiling

John Reiling

John Reiling, PMP, MBA is a practicing Project/Program Manager with a wide range of industry and functional experience over more than 25 years. John provides business analysis training through his site PMTrainingOnline.com. John's blog is PMcrunch.com.

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