Probably, every systems or business analyst at some stage of his career thinks that it would be nice to get a professional certificate. There is a number of books dedicated to this topic – CBAP book and study materials are probably the best – but in this article I will try to answer the question – is it necessary and why?
There are several organizations in the world that allow business analysts to obtain certification and thereby confirm their professional level. I have looked at the most common organizations and certificates, namely:
International Institute of Business Analysis (IIBA). Offers certifications for analysts of all levels, from beginner ECBA to seasoned CBAP professionals.
Certified Analytics Professional (CAP) also offers two levels of certification.
The Project Management Institute (PMI) is best known for its Project Manager certifications. But they also offer PMI-PBA certification for business analysts.
The International Requirements Engineering Board (IREB) offers multiple levels of CPRE certification for requirements analysts, which is more suitable for IT analysts.
The International Qualification Board for Business Analysis (IQBBA) offers two levels of certification: entry-level analyst and advanced analyst.
Basically, these certificates are positioned for specialists in business analysis, but in our country they are also considered as confirmation of the level for system analysts, requirements analysts, software analyst, etc. There is a huge field for discussion, but I’m not talking about that.
I think that every analyst, having delved into the subject, will be able to find an answer to this question. I have considered three, the most frequently cited reasons, in principle, for any certification:
certified professionals earn more;
preparation for certification helps to organize your knowledge and allows you to identify gaps / gaps in the profession;
certification is such a way to prove to yourself that you are cool)
Let’s take a closer look. I launched a survey in communities and analyst chats and collected about four dozen responses about what analysts themselves think about this.
I recommend getting certified. But before that, the specialist should evaluate his capabilities and the very need to pass the exam for the standard in the current period of his career. Because it is important to clearly understand your expectations from certification: is this particular certificate suitable, what benefits it will bring in the work both to the specialist himself and to the employer. In addition, it is worth checking if there is an easier and faster way to get the expected benefits, and assess whether it will be possible to allocate time to prepare for certification, if it is still needed.
Certification is useful for consolidating knowledge and improving the quality of your artifacts in real work. In addition, reliance on theory helps to steer the discussion in a constructive direction, be it a speech at a conference or a meeting within the team. Another not obvious advantage of certification is the allocation of dark and light areas in their own competencies. That is, the standard helps to understand what the specialist has already succeeded in, and what needs to be improved, which topics are completely new. He can draw up an individual development plan in accordance with the standard, demonstrate his strengths to the manager and understand what new skills need to be mastered in order to request the corresponding tasks.
But you shouldn’t consider certification as a tool to raise wages in your current job. However, the specialist can agree with the manager about the payment or the allocation of working hours to prepare for the exam. From the point of view of the manager, the presence of a certificate will not be decisive, but it will definitely distinguish the employee among hundreds of others.
Any theory will vanish if it is not worked out in practice. There is no need to memorize anything – it will be useless both for passing the exam and for your development. To prepare, a specialist should consistently study the standard and immediately look for tasks for applying the knowledge gained. And in case of any doubt, whether he is doing the right thing or how best to act in a situation, refer to the standard as a reference, find the necessary information and apply it.
A community of like-minded people also helps with the preparation, who also began to prepare for the certificate you have chosen. If no one is around, then create this movement yourself within the company or region. Lively discussion and outside opinions will have a beneficial effect on both motivation and the end result.