Business Analysis Certifications are truly useless | Adaptive US

4 min read
8/29/17 12:00 AM


This is a very interesting discussion topic among professionals.

What's the usefulness of certifications?

Many professionals support and many professionals oppose as well.

Before I go ahead with the topic, I would like to narrate a very interesting real-life story that happened to me and my classmates when we were doing a post-graduation in management.

One of our professors asked us to be formally dressed for a session. One of our classmates had a very interesting question for our professor.

“Sir, when Mr. Russy Mody (who was the chairman of Tata Steel) can wear very colorful clothes, what was the need for junior professionals like us to wear formal clothes?” For those who may not know, Tata Steel is one of the world’s largest steel manufacturer who purchased Corus Steel of UK sometime back. Tata group is the largest and most respected industrial conglomerate in India.

Our learned professor paused for a minute and then he replied, “You can also wear colorful clothes but first be like Russy Mody".

This explains that the same rules don't apply to all. If you are established in the corporate world and you have a past which is used to be proud of then you don't need anything more to prove. However how many offers have reached the stature of Russy Mody?

Back to my topic, I see five types of professionals.

  1. Those who love certifications (Disclaimer - I belong to this category),
  2. Young professionals who are looking for jobs without any work experience,
  3. Those who hate certifications,
  4. Those who criticize certifications publicly but pursue it privately,
  5. And the last types who think about certifications after they are laid off.

The majority of professionals do not care about certifications. Possible reasons could be

  • It takes a significant effort (much more than the cost of training and certification) to complete most certifications. There are some certifications that are awarded by just attending a training (the most popular one being Scrum Master some time back). Most certifications require a rigorous test for qualifying professionals such as CBAP / CCBA / ECBA.
  • Many professionals are simply afraid of giving any exam as they have not taken an exam for a long time. To some extent, certification bodies are also to be blamed where they ask very bookish and memorization based questions to senior professionals. Any senior professional juggles with many variables, such as manage clients, manage projects, manage organizational overheads and also manage a family. Such an examination pattern demotivates many professionals to go for the certifications.
  • Many professionals also believe that there is no additional value added by going in for certification. It is their belief that the practices followed in their organization is much better than what the body of knowledge prescribed by the certification body.

In my humble opinion, the following types of professionals truly do not need any certification.

Those who:

  1. Always buy the unbranded products as they do not see any additional value in buying branded products. Branded products are expensive and it is not worth buying a branded product as it costs more.
  2. Professionals who are truly happy with their organization and vice-versa. The only problem here is that the love your organization has for you can drastically change in just a couple of bad quarterly performances.
  3. Your organization is doing extremely well and has an assured contract with you for paying you 2 years’ salary as the severance package.
  4. There is nothing more for you to learn by studying an exhaustive body of knowledge as you have already experienced all varieties of experiences possible.

I have been working in a particular field for more than 24 years. I spend every month close to 200 hours working, studying, and researching business analysis. I still find I probably haven't understood even 50% of what I ought to be knowing.

When I took my CBAP® examination, I studied business analysis body of knowledge more than 10 times, I have learnt a lot of new things which I would have never learnt by just working. No one will get the opportunity to explore aspects that are beyond our current roles and responsibilities.

The true value that I received by going in for certifications are

  1. Maintain a culture of continual learning for me.
  2. Have the courage to judge my knowledge an independent standard
  3. Give confidence to my partners that when they speak to me, they are talking to a professional who has understood the subject reasonably well.

When I see professionals who haven't done a single professional certification in a decade, I would sincerely doubt their commitment to their own self-development and commitment to their profession.

Let me close my topic with another story another real-life true story. We were asked by my organization to go through six sigma training and project. One of my colleagues asked the director as to why we are going through this additional program when our salaries are going to remain the same after the training. My CEO had a very apt reply saying you are inside the discussion room with the CEO and others are not.

My sincere request to all my professional friends would be not to sacrifice your self-development with the comfort of your job and organization.

Given the turbulent times, organizations will stop loving many of the employees whom they pampered for years. If you have invested in yourself, your organization will see better value with you and possibly keep you on board. In a worse situation, you have a better chance to compete in the cut-throat marketplace.

Now the choice is of course yours.

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Adaptive US provides CBAP, CCBA, ECBA, and other business analysis certification training online and consulting needs for Individual or Corporate either online or offline. Adaptive US is an endorsed education provider of IIBA®

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