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Business Analysis Certifications

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The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics indicates that Business Analysis is one of the fastest-growing occupations, with 14% growth projected between 2016-2026. Multiple other industry reports also indicate that business analysis is among the fastest-growing occupations and is among the top desired skills.

The scope for the business analyst profile is ever-expanding and is quickly becoming one of the sought-after jobs. A good business analyst is one of the best assets that an organization can have. Having a good and competent BA in the organization is like finding a pot of gold at the end of a rainbow.

According to IIBA, “Business Analysis is the practice of enabling change in an organizational context, by defining needs and recommending solutions that deliver value to stakeholders. The set of tasks and techniques that are used to perform business analysis are defined in A Guide to the Business Analysis Body of Knowledge® (BABOK® Guide).”

Business Analysis is a set of tasks, knowledge, and techniques required to identify business needs and determine solutions. Although the general definition is similar, the practices and procedures may vary in various industries.

Business analysis is a fabulous career choice. As more companies realize the need to fix outdated processes and adopt new technology to stay competitive, business analysts are in high demand. Business Analyst is a role where one can contribute to the organization’s strategy, its offerings, its revenue, and its margin. A ‘Business Analyst’ helps the business to grow and become more efficient, organized and more successful. Business Analysts are change enablers in an organization.

A ‘Business Analyst’ helps the business to grow and become more efficient, organized and more successful. In short, being a successful business analyst means that you will need to wear different hats. Although the role of a Business Analyst varies dramatically from industry to industry and from company to company, most of the key roles a business analyst performs remain the same.

Some of the key tasks business analysts perform are-

  • Understand the problems and goals of the enterprise
  • Analyze needs and solution
  • Devise change strategies
  • Drive change
  • Facilitate stakeholder collaboration
  • Document project needs
  • Organize meetings
  • Communicate and present the solutions to the client

Responsibilities of a Business Analyst

An advantage that a BA can give to their career is to get certified. Certification can help business analysts stand out in the field and provide proof of competence. 

Market research has shown that certified business analysts earn much higher salaries than those who are not certified. Besides salary, the other benefits of doing a business analysis certification are-

  • Certification help improve overall performance
  • They remove uncertainty and widen market opportunities
  • A certified business analyst has a broader perspective of the BA techniques and approaches and demonstrates better capabilities in principle and practice.
  • Employers show increased confidence when hiring a certified business analyst as it also shows commitment, as preparing for these certifications and clearing the exam is not an easy task.

There are multiple BA certifications. There acceptability, qualification criteria and fees vary widely. Some of the points which you need to consider before choosing which BA certification is correct for you are-

  • How much experience do you have as a business analyst?
  • What is your employment status?
  • The popularity and recognition of a certification location wise
  • What are your future goals?

What are the Best Business Analysis Certifications available in the market?

The following business analysis certifications provided by three institutions, namely, IIBA, PMI, IREB, and BCS are the best certifications available to professionals-

IIBA (International Institute of Business Analysis)

  • ECBA™
  • CBAP®
  • CCBA®
  • IIBA AAC
  • CBDA

PMI (Project Management Institute)

  • PMI-PBA®

IREB (International Requirements Engineering Board)

  • CPRE-FL
  • CPRE-AL
  • CPRE-EL

BCS

  • BCS

This blog will give you the details of the above certifications based on their eligibility criteria, the focus area of the certification, and the cost of the certifications.

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Business analysis certifications for Beginners

While entering the field of business analysis, a broad understanding of business analysis tasks and techniques is the pre-requisite. Undergoing a training program and attempting the certifications listed below would not only give you a solid foundation to establish your BA career but also prove to your prospective employers that you have taken a step ahead to show your commitment to the BA profession, in terms of acquiring BA skills and getting certified.

ECBA from IIBA

The Entry certificate in Business Analysis, ECBA, is the first level of certification by IIBA. ECBA certification is ideal for individuals entering the field of business analysis. ECBA recognizes individuals ready to develop their business analysis skills, knowledge, and behaviors, to join the business analysis profession.

ECBA certification is framed rightly to suit the needs of an entry-level Business analyst focusing on requirements analysis, modeling, requirements life cycle management with a good amount of emphasis on modeling concepts and tools. The questions in this certification exam are based on the business analysis body of knowledge BABoK version 3.0 by the International Institute of Business Analysis, IIBA.

The eligibility criteria for the ECBA Certification examination are as follows:

  • 21 hours of verifiable professional development in the last 4 years. Adaptive US is an authorized EEP of IIBA®, its training will provide you with the desired professional development (PD) hours for ECBA certification examination.
  • Agreement with the ECBA Code of Conduct.
ECBA exam focuses on-

The exam blueprint of ECBA is aligned with v3.0 of the BABOK® Guide.

Business Analysis Knowledge Areas and Questions Distribution

Business Analysis Knowledge
Domain % Distribution
Business analysis & the BA Professional 2.5%
Underlying Competencies 5%
Business Analysis Key Concepts 5%
Techniques 12.5%
BABOK® Guide Knowledge Areas
Domain % Distribution
Business Analysis Planning and Monitoring 5%
Elicitation and Collaboration 20%
Requirements Life Cycle Management 20%
Strategy analysis 5%
Requirements Analysis and Design Definition 24%
Solution Evaluation 1%

ECBA certification cost has the below components:

  1. ECBA Application Fee – $60
  2. ECBA Exam Fee – $110 for IIBA members and $235 for non-IIBA members

IIBA membership fee varies based on the country of residence

  Member Non-Member
Membership fee As per the country of residence

(Between $55 to $125)

Application Fee $60 USD $60 USD
Exam Fee $110 USD $235 USD

($125 more than members)

Retake Fee $85 USD $195 USD

($110 more than members)

CPRE-FL Certification from IREB

The CPRE-FL certification is designed for those working in requirements engineering (RE), Business Analysis and Testing. The IREB Certification Model consists of three subsequent levels. The CPRE Foundation Level covers the fundamentals of the Requirements Engineering domain, methodology, and available techniques.

This certification has lifetime validity. The IREB states that the CPRE is “based on the fundamental methods and approaches of Requirements Engineering, and these alter only slowly,” so, at this time, they don’t see a need for renewal. The prices for the certification are fixed by the Certification Bodies and vary depending on the country.

The CPRE-FL certification gives the maximum flexibility regarding preparation. Though a classroom training course is recommended, you can prepare via online training or self-study. The exam is usually taken subsequent to a classroom training course. It can also be taken in a test center - at a later time and independently of your choice of preparation.

BCS

BCS Foundation Certificate in Business Analysis covers a range of fundamental knowledge needed for a business analysis role. This includes the roles and competencies required as well as strategic analysis, business system, process modeling, and business case development.

The content of this course includes information on how to analyze and model business activities, identify potential solutions, and analyze stakeholder perspectives.

Business analysis certifications for Mid-level Professionals

For professionals who have a few years of BA experience, a good understanding of technology and business will enable them to be successful in their careers.  Certifications like CCBA, AAC, and CBDA will help you with this.

CCBA from IIBA

The Certification of Capability in Business Analysis (CCBA) is the 2nd level of professional certifications by IIBA for business analysis practitioners. It is highly valued in the BA industry as it emphasizes your work experience, personal development, competencies, and up-to-date knowledge of the latest industry trends and developments.

CCBA certification is appropriate for business analysts with 2-3 years of experience, who are keen to expand their skillsets and climb the BA career ladder. It adds a lot of value to a BA’s profile as it is a recognition and acknowledgment of the expertise that a BA practitioner has in the business analysis domain.

The eligibility criteria of the CCBA certification exam are:

  • Minimum 3750 hours of BA work experience aligned with the BABOK Guide in the last 7 years
  • Minimum 900 hours in each of two of the six knowledge areas or minimum 500 hours in each of four of the six knowledge areas
  • Minimum 21 hours of Professional Development Training in the past four years
  • Two references from a career manager, client or CBAP recipient
  • Signed Code of Conduct
CCBA exam focuses on-

The exam blueprint aligned with v3.0 of the BABOK Guide is as follows:

Knowledge Area % of Questions
Business Analysis Planning and Monitoring 12%
Elicitation and Collaboration 20%
Requirements Life Cycle Management 18%
Strategy Analysis 12%
Requirements Analysis and Design Definition 32%
Solution Evaluation 6%

CCBA certification cost has the below components:

Application Fee 125 USD
Certification Exam Fee 325 USD for Members

450 USD for Non-Members

Membership Fees $55 to $125 depending on the country of residence

CPRE-AL Certification from IREB

The prerequisite for the CPRE-Advanced Level certification is having obtained the certificate of the previous level, i.e., CPRE-FL.

The CPRE Advanced Level stands for mastering and using methods and techniques. There are four choices for achieving an Advanced Level certificate:

  • Requirements Elicitation
  • Requirements Modeling
  • Requirements Management
  • RE@Agile

As with the Foundation Level certificate, the Advance Level certification has lifetime validity. The prices for the certification are fixed by the Certification Bodies and vary depending on the country.

AAC from IIBA

IIBA Agile Analysis Certification (AAC) is the first agile certification provided by IIBA. IIBA Agile Analysis Certification examination is ideal for Agile Business analysts, BA Consultants, Trainers, Project Managers, Testers, etc.

There are no eligibility experience requirements or any other pre-requisites for this exam. However, IIBA recommends it for BA professionals with 2-3 years of Agile-related experience.

IIBA-AAC recognizes one’s ability to effectively execute analysis related work in an agile context. Earning this certification provides potential employers, a clearer indication of the competencies that one has developed.

The IIBA-AAC exam is closely aligned to the Agile Extension to the BABOK® Guide, version 2 and tests one’s ability to answer questions focused on real-world scenarios. The Agile Extension developed in collaboration with the Agile Alliance, describes good practices, techniques, guidelines, and other key information that drives better business outcomes and adds customer value when work is executed using various agile approaches.

IIBA AAC exam focuses on-

The IIBA-AAC exam is weighed across four domains and consists of 85 multiple-choice, scenario-based questions to be completed within 2 hours:

  • Agile Mindset – 30% (25 questions)
  • Strategy Horizon – 10% (9 questions)
  • Initiative Horizon – 25% (21 questions)
  • Delivery Horizon – 35% (30 questions)

IIBA AAC Certification Cost has the below components and breakups:

  IIBA Member Non-Member
Membership fee As per country of residence
Exam Fee $250USD $375 USD
Retake Fee $200USD $325 USD
Recertification fee

(to be done every 3 years_

$85 USD $120 USD

CBDA from IIBA

IIBA recently launched a Certification in Business Data Analytics.  This is a level 2 certification intended for those with 2-3 years of experience and those are experienced with core BA skills.

Earning this certification informs employers of your passion for and competencies performing business analysis on analytics initiatives. The certification helps identify skilled business data analytics professionals to organizations seeking these in-demand skills.

The certification exam is comprised of 75 scenario-based questions.  As an experienced-based exam, you’ll apply your work experience to answer scenarios common to analytics initiatives.

The IIBA®- CBDA exam includes questions pertaining to the six Blueprint Domains, five practitioner-based domains as discussed in IIBA's Introduction to Business Data Analytics: A Practitioners View, and one organizational-based domain from IIBA's Introduction to Business Data Analytics: An Organizational View:

  • Identify Research Questions – 20% (Domain 1)
  • Source Data – 15% (Domain 2)
  • Analyze Data – 16% (Domain 3)
  • Interpret and Report Results – 20% (Domain 4)
  • Use Results to Influence Business Decision Making – 20% (Domain 5)
  • Guide Company-level Strategy for Business Analytics - 9% (Domain 6)

This mid-level certificate/certification is priced at USD $450 for IIBA members and USD $575 for non-members.

Exam Fee Member: $450
Exam Fee Non-Member: $575
Exam Rewrite Fee Member: $400
Exam Rewrite Fee Non-Member: $525

Business analysis certifications for Senior Professionals

As business analysts mature in their careers, the expectations attached to their role expands and it is essential that the BA too, expand their knowledge base through training and certifications related to business analysis.

BA Certification for senior professionals

PMI-PBA Certification

The PMI-PBA certification is best suited for business analysts who work with projects or programs, or project and program managers who work with analytics. It’s offered through the Project Management Institute. The certification focuses on business analysis training through hands-on projects and testing on business analysis principles, tools, and fundamentals.

To maintain the PMI-PBA certification, you must earn 60 professional development units (PDUs) in business analysis topics every three years.

The prerequisites of the PMI-PBA certification exam are-

  • Secondary degree (high school diploma, associate’s degree 
  • 7,500 hours of business analysis experience
  • 35 contact hours of education in business analysis

OR

  • Bachelor’s degree or the global equivalent
  • 4,500 hours of business analysis experience
  • 35 contact hours of education in business analysis

PMI-PBA Exam Outline

Domain Percentages of Items on Test
Domain 1. Needs Assessment 18%
Domain 2. Planning 22%
Domain 3. Analysis 35%
Domain 4. Traceability and Monitoring 15%
Domain 5. Evaluation 10%

Cost of the certification-

Member: USD 405
Non-member: USD 555

CBAP from IIBA

Certified Business Analysis Professional (CBAP) is the 3rd level of professional certification by IIBA for business analysis practitioners and is the most sought-after certification for senior business analysts to excel in the corporate world. CBAP certification has proven results in terms of salary benefits, career growth and opening up new opportunities in the global markets. The CBAP certification examination needs one to understand BABoK in-depth and applying BABoK concepts to various business analysis scenarios.

Following are the eligibility criteria of CBAP certification:

  1. 7500 hours in the last 10 years, 900 hours of which should be in 4 out of the 6 BABOK Guide Version 3 Knowledge areas
  2. 35 hours of Professional Development in the past 4 years
  3. Two references from a career manager, client or Certified Business Analysis Professional – CBAP
  4. A Signed Code of Conduct with IIBA

Given below is the exam blueprint with the weightage given to different knowledge areas.

CBAP Certification Exam Blueprint
Knowledge Area % of Questions
Requirement Analysis and Design Definition 30%
Requirement Life-cycle Management 15%
Strategy Analysis 15%
Business Analysis Planning and Monitoring 14%
Solution Evaluation 14%
Elicitation and Collaboration 12%

CBAP certification cost has the below components:

  • IIBA membership Fee - $55 to $125 depending on the country of residence
  • CBAP Application Fee –$125
  • CBAP Exam Fee – $325 for IIBA members and $450 for non-IIBA members

CPRE-EL Certification from IREB

The Expert Level of the CPRE certification stands for the highest level of expert knowledge, which comprises practical experience as well as outstanding knowledge and skills in Requirements Engineering.

The prerequisite for the CPRE-EL certification is having obtained the certificate of the previous level, i.e., CPRE-AL.

As with the previous levels, the Advance Level certification has lifetime validity. The prices for the certification are fixed by the Certification Bodies and vary depending on the country.

If you want to advance your business analyst career, or change career paths, these globally-recognized certifications will help prove your mettle. Business analysis certification is a specialized education that works as a credential for a business analyst professional. Formal recognition from a reputed and authorized body differentiates an individual in the market in terms of both skills and salary. 

 


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