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What Should I Pursue - CBAP or AAC?

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Business analysis professional qualifications help business analysts in many ways. It proves their competence on the subject. It helps organizations to ensure their business analysts are rightly skilled in the business analysis process. However, there is some confusion in the business analyst’s minds as to which business analysis certification they should pursue.

IIBA certifications have been the most popular and sought-after certification among business analysts globally. Both CBAP Certification and AAC certification come from the International Institute of Business Analysis™ (IIBA). IIBA® has been doing amazing work on making the business analysis profession more recognized among the professional field and in the corporate segment.

CBAP – Certified Business Analysis Professional – is primarily targeted towards senior-level business analysis professionals who have served at least 7500 hours (roughly about 5 years) as business analysts in the industry performing BA approved tasks as per IIBA®.

AAC – Agile Analysis Certified - is primarily targeted towards mid-level business analysis professionals who have 2+ years’ experience in an agile environment

Here is a short comparison of both the certification:

High-Level Overview of Comparison

Standard CBAP AAC
Brand value Very High Low
# of certified professionals ~10,000 ~1000
Targeted at Senior Business analysis professionals Mid-level Business analysis professionals
Curriculum BABoK 3.0 – 500+ Pages Agile Extension Guide – 200 Pages
Eligibility criteria – Work Experience Minimum 7500 hours of BA work experience aligned with the BABOK Guide in the last 10 years No such requirement, although 2 years of agile experience expected
Eligibility criteria –Knowledge Area expertise Minimum 900 hours in each of four of the six knowledge areas No
Eligibility criteria – Training/PD Hours Minimum of 35 hours of Professional Development Training in the past four years Not required
Eligibility criteria – Reference Requirement Two references from a career manager, client or CBAP® recipient Not required
Exam mode and pattern Online exam with PSI Online Online exam with PSI Online
  Multiple-choice questions Multiple-choice questions
Exam Fees Membership Fee – $125 Membership Fee – $125
  Application Fee – $125 Application Fee – $0
  Certification Fee – $325 (for members) Certification Fee – $250 (For members)
Exam/Question Pattern 3.5 hours long 1 Hour-long
  120 multiple-choice questions. 50 multiple-choice questions.
  Questions are longer cases (1 to 1.5 pages of information). Short sentence questions
  Multiple questions about the case. No case questions
Study aids availability High Low
Training availability High Low
Difficulty Level High Medium

If you are a senior BA professional, CBAP is much more recommended as it carries significant brand recall. BABoK is far more exhaustive than Agile Extension. If you are not eligible for CBAP, AAC is a good option. If you an existing CBAP, AAC proves your credentials for agile-based projects.

Suggested Reading-

How to prepare for CBAP certification - A step by step approach

CBAP Career Transformation Stories

IIBA Agile Analysis Certification


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