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    CBAP vs. AAC: Which One to Pursue?

    Written by:             Published on: May 5, 2020 12:00:00 AM

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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 completed in 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
    Exam Fees

    Membership Fee: $55 - $139 depending on the region

    Membership Fee: $55 - $139 depending on the region
    Application Fees Application Fee – $145 Application Fee – $0
    Certification Fees Certification Fee – $350 (for members) Certification Fee – $250 (For members)
    Exam Duration 3.5 hours 2 hours
    Type of Questions

    120 multiple-choice questions.

    Questions are longer cases (1 to 1.5 pages of information).

    85 multiple-choice questions.

    Short sentence questions

    Case Questions Multiple questions about the case.

    No case questions. 

    Questions are scenario-based.

    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 are 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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