Business Analysis Certifications

An overview of the most common industry certifications to boost your qualifications.

Business analysis certifications can help your career a great deal, especially if you are just starting out. They help you broaden your knowledge of business analysis and gain new perspectives. In some cases, candidature may not be considered without a certification. The requirement for a certification does not apply to all scenarios and can depend on how much experience you already have.

This primer gives you an overview of the 4 major certification bodies in the world, and a breakdown of some certifications that you may want to consider as part of your career roadmap which you will develop in the next module.

International Institute of Business Analysis (IIBA) – Canada

  • Website: https://www.iiba.org
  • IIBA is dedicated completely to the business analysis profession.
  • It has good recognition in Canada, USA, Australia, New Zealand, Middle East, India, Africa. The highest number of certifications is in USA, Canada, India and Australia (in that order).
  • The IIBA offers multiple levels of certification.
  • The IIBA provides an extensive knowledge base in the form of a large online library which is a major differentiator of IIBA. Even if you do not go for an IIBA certification it is recommended that you purchase a membership so that you can access the knowledge base.
  • The number of certified professionals is over 10,000.

International Requirements Engineering Board (IREB) – Germany

  • Website: https://www.ireb.org/en
  • The IREB certification is focused on requirements engineering.
  • It has good recognition in Mainland Europe, Malaysia, and South Africa.
  • IREB also offers multiple levels of certification.
  • It has a minimal knowledge base.
  • The number of certified professionals is over 25,000.

British Computer Society (BCS) – UK

  • Website: https://www.bcs.org
  • The BCS has a very broad portfolio of certifications which includes business analysis and Agile.
  • It is prominent in the UK with some presence in Australia.
  • BCS offers multiple levels of business analysis certification (including Agile).
  • It has a minimal knowledge base.
  • There is no public number found on the number of certified professionals.

Project Management Institute (PMI) – USA

  • Website: https://www.pmi.org
  • The PMI also has a broad portfolio including project management, business analysis and risk management.
  • It has good recognition USA, Canada, Middle East, India, Australia, and New Zealand. It has very broad popularity worldwide and is an older and undisputed institute.
  • The project management certification is recognised everywhere.
  • BCS offers multiple levels for business analysis certification. It also offers an Agile PM certification.
  • It has a minimal knowledge base.
  • The number of certified professionals is over 2,000 (PMI-PBA).

Entry level certifications (no prior experience needed)

The Entry Certificate in Business Analysis (ECBA)

  • The ECBA is offered by the IIBA.
  • The application process requires that you have at least 21 professional development hours (PDs).
  • The exam is proctored and can be taken from home. It is available in multiple languages.
  • The key areas covered are elicitation, requirements analysis and requirements lifecycle management.
  • The preparation time for the exam is expected to be approximately 100 hours.
  • The study guide is the Business Analysis Body of Knowledge (BABOK).
  • There is no expiry on the ECBA.

Certified Professional for Requirements Engineering – Foundation Level (CPRE FL)

  • The CPRE FL is offered by the IREB.
  • There are no entry requirements to sit the exam.
  • The exam can be taken online in a Pearson-Vue or Prometric centre. It is available in multiple languages.
  • The key areas covered are elicitation, requirements analysis and modelling.
  • The exam is tough, and it is recommended to have at least 1.5 years of BA experience.
  • The preparation time for the exam is expected to be approximately 100 hours.
  • The study guide is Software Requirements Engineering by Rupp and Kohl.
  • There are no mandatory application requirements (i.e. PD requirements).
  • There is no expiry on the CPRE FL.

Foundation Certificate in Business Analysis

  • Foundation Certificate in Business Analysis is offered by the BCS.
  • There are no entry requirements to sit the exam.
  • The exam can be taken online in a Pearson-Vue centre.
  • The key areas covered are elicitation, requirements analysis and modelling.
  • The preparation time for the exam is expected to be approximately 27 hours, however it is recommended to take longer if needed.
  • The study guide is Business Analysis by Debra Paul et al.
  • There are no mandatory application requirements (i.e. PD requirements).

Mid-level certifications (2 to 4 years of experience)

Certificate of Capability in Business Analysis (CCBA)

  • The minimum business analysis experience required is 3750 hours (approximately 3 years).
  • The application process requires that you have:
    • at least 21 PDs
    • 2 references from a career manager, client or CBAP holder.
  • The exam is 3 hours containing 130 questions.

Agile Analysis Certification (AAC)

  • The minimum experience required is 2 years in an Agile environment – but they don’t really check.
  • This certification is very new and has no mandatory training requirements (PDs).
  • The exam is not very hard at this point in time, so it is the easiest one to go for. There are practice tests available.
  • The exam is 2 hours with 85 multiple choice questions.

Advanced-level certifications (5+ years)

Certified Business Analysis Professional (CBAP)

  • The key areas covered are strategy analysis and requirements analysis.
  • The study guide is the Business Analysis Body of Knowledge (BABOK).
  • The minimum business analysis experience required is 7500 hours (approximately 5 years).
  • The application process requires that you have:
    • at least 35 PDs
    • 2 references from a career manager, client or CBAP holder.
  • The prior IIBA levels are not required.
  • The exam is 3.5 hours containing 120 questions.

PMI Professional in Business Analysis (PMI-PBA)

  • The key area covered is business analysis in the project context.
  • Two main scenarios for the application process.
  • Scenario 1 – high school diploma or equivalent
    • Secondary degree (high school diploma, associate degree or global equivalent).
    • 7500 hours (5 years) working as a practitioner of business analysis.
    • 2000 hours working on project teams. This project experience can be inclusive of the 7500 hours of business analysis experience listed. Any business analysis experience that occurred within the context for a project can be included. This experience must have been earned in the last 8 years. 5500 hours must be business analysis experience. 2000 hours must be project experience.
    • 35 training hours. Hours must have been earned in business analysis practices.
  • Scenario 2 – higher degree
    • Bachelor’s degree of higher degree (or global equivalent)
    • 4500 hours (3 years) as a practitioner of business analysis.
    • 2000 hours working on project teams. This project experience can be inclusive of the 4500 hours of business analysis experience listed. This experience must have been earned in the last 8 years. Any business analysis experience that occurred within the context for a project can be included.
    • 35 training hours. Hours must have been earned in business analysis practices.
  • For those who hold an active PMP and/or PGMP certifications, PMI has already verified you have exceeded the project experience requirements. In other words, active PMP and/or PGMP certification holders will be accepted as fulfilling the general project experience requirements.
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