Do You Really Need A Business Analyst Certification?

Less Demand for Business Analyst Certifications

There seems to be less demand for certifications in the business analyst field. A search on many job sites will show less results for the relevant BA certifications than other fields, such as project management.

Why is this?

I think it’s a combination of a few reasons. The main governing body is the IIBA (International Institute of Business Analysis). I read a great opinion article recently on business analysis which stated that while the IIBA is good but it will take some time to reach what the PMI currently is in terms of maturity.

I also think it’s not a very widely-known career. When I was in university, I majored in software development (Oracle database and Java). Since then I have moved into my current role as a business analyst. It’s not something I even considered in university, and I don’t even remember if I knew what a business analyst role was back then! I think that in the universities it’s not a very highly promoted skill or area of focus. Most IT students during my time wanted to become developers or network administrators or project managers – no real mention of a business analyst.

What Business Analyst Certifications Are There?

There are actually some BA certifications available in the industry. Any Google search or any investigation into the topic will usually lead you to the IIBA website. They offer two main certifications – the CCBA and the CBAP.

The CCBA (Certification of Competency in Business Analysis) is for those who wish to be recognised as a business analyst. It’s the more junior certification of the two. It asks for experience in the BA field – but it’s not just a suggestion. The criteria for this certification needs to be met and it involves a certain number of hours in different knowledge areas, a high school education, and references from career managers.

There is also the CBAP (Certified Business Analyst Professional). This certification is targeted to the more senior members of the BA community. Experience requirements are also needed, which are higher than the CBAP, and involve certain hours of experience in subject areas, high school education and career manager references.

There are some other certifications for BA’s (I’ve noticed some Masters in Business Analysis courses floating around), but essentially the two from IIBA are the most widely recognised. This brings us to the next question…

Should I Get A Business Analyst Certification?

I’ve had a few people ask on my other posts on the BA role if they need a certification to start. Which certification should I get? How can I get started in business analysis? How did you start?

Well, I don’t actually think you need a certification to get a role as a BA. Many of the BA’s I know have started from a technical background (developers, testers, etc) and moved into the business analyst role from their own choice.

Sure, you can get one of these certifications, but I don’t think it is essential. Understanding the business environment and an IT project process is just as important. This information can come from other areas of knowledge (such as degrees) or from experience in technical roles.