It is well known in the 21st century that data is everywhere. From basic numbers to complex formulas, data offers companies of all sizes the information they need to track performance and sales, introduce new products and allow for business decisions based upon data. Professionals in business analysis have many exciting career options to choose from in this environment, and the options increase exponentially if you earn a business analyst certification.
Business analyst certifications are still evolving, but currently there are several organizations that offer examinations to certify business analytics skills. Getting a business analyst certification can be a solid career move; business analysts are in demand because they can assist companies to make as much as possible from data that they collect.
Business analysts find trends, errors and patterns that could otherwise be unnoticed. The best business analysts have advanced skills to work with business data, the ability to understand the business aspects of the company, and the skills to communicate essential business analysis information to those who are not in the IT department.
Another good reason to get a business analyst certification is that this is a lucrative IT role. The typical entry level salary is $67,000 per year. According to Payscale.com, business analysts have salaries that range from $48,000 to $100,000 per year.
If you want to advance your career in business analysis or switch your career path, below are several business analyst certifications that are recognized around the world:
IIBA Entry Certificate in Business Analysis (ECBA)
The Entry Certificate in Business Analysis is the entry level certification that you can earn with the International Institute of Business Analysis (IIBA). This business analyst certification is intended for the less experienced business analyst. To earn this certification, you must complete a minimum of 21 hours of professional training courses in the previous four years. Only then are you eligible for the examination. It is not necessary to renew this certification; most who earn it eventually move on to higher levels of certification later.
- Application fee: $60
- Examination fee: $110 for IIBA members, $235 for non-members
- Retake fee: $89 for IIBA members, $195 for non-members
IIBA Certification of Competency in Business Analysis (CCBA)
This is the second level of IIBA certification. This certificate requires you to have at least 3750 of business analytics job experience that is related to the Business Analysis Book of Knowledge (BABOK) with the IIBA in the past seven years. You should have 900 hours in two of the six major BABOK knowledge areas, or 500 hours in four of the six major BABOK knowledge areas. This certification also mandates at least 21 hours of professional work development classes in the past four years, and two references from professional sources.
The BABOK guide has chapters that include:
- Business analysis key concepts: Defines the critical terms that are the basis of practicing business analysis
- Knowledge areas: Contains information on major business analysis tasks that you will commonly perform
- Underlying competencies: Includes behaviors, knowledge, characteristics and personal qualities that assist business analysts to be good in their jobs
- Techniques: Includes 50 common techniques that are used by business analysts
- Perspectives: Features five major views of business analysis: business intelligence, agile, information technology, business architecture, and business process management
The BABOK guide contains six major knowledge areas that you must know to earn this business analyst certification. Each of the tasks describes knowledge, skills, techniques and deliverables that you must be able to perform in a competent manner. The major knowledge areas in this guide are:
- Business analysis planning and monitoring: The tasks that are necessary to organize and coordinate business analysis efforts
- Elicitation and collaboration: The tasks that you need to prepare for and conduct elicitation activities as well as confirm results
- Requirements for life cycle management: The tasks that the business analyst uses to manage and maintain requirements and design information – from inception to retirement
- Strategy analysis: Tasks that the business analyst uses to identify business needs, address the needs, align the change strategy in the enterprise
- Requirements analysis and design definition: Tasks that you will use to organize requirements, specify and model designs and requirements, validate and verify information, identify solution options and estimate possible value
- Solution evaluation: Tasks that you use to assess performance of and value that is delivered by a business analysis solution; recommend improvements on how to increase values
It should be noted that BABOK is not a methodology for how to perform business analysis. Rather, it is an encyclopedia of various possibilities for various ways and techniques you can use. There is an examination of almost every accepted component of modern business analysis. ;
The examination for the CCBA has 130 multiple choice questions that are based upon common business scenarios, and require you to complete business analysis. The examination covers business analyst fundamentals, business analyst competencies, key concepts, business analysis techniques and all of the major knowledge areas in BABOK.
- Application Fee: $125
- Examination fee: $325 for members, $450 for non-members
- Retake fee: $250 for members, $375 for non-members
- Renewal fee: $85 for members, $120 for non-members
IIBA Certified Business Analysis Professional (CBAP)
This business analyst certification is level three of certification offered by IIBA. It is designed for business professionals with several years of business experience. To qualify for this business analyst certification, you must have a minimum of 7500 hours of business analyst work experience. It must have been in the last 10 years. Also, you should have 900 work experience hours in four of the six BABOK knowledge areas, and 35 hours of professional development in the last 48 months. You also must have three professional references.
The examination for the CBAP is 3.5 hours long and features 120 multiple choice questions that are based upon business case studies. After you have successfully passed the examination, you must report at least 60 hours of continuing education hours every three years.
- Application fee: $125
- Examination fee: $325 for members, $450 for non members
- Retake fee: $250 for members, $375 for non members
- Renewal fee: $85 for members, $120 for non members
IQBBA Certified Foundation Level Business Analyst (CFLBA)
The IQBBA has this certification for entry level business analysts. It will qualify you to earn other, higher certification levels. It is recognized around the world and there are training centers located internationally. This certification is designed for professionals who are experienced in analyzing business processes in a company, modeling businesses and engaging in process improvement. Courses for this business analyst certification cover process planning, elicitation requirements, requirements analysis, solution validation, techniques and tools and design and innovation in business analysis.
After you have completed the examination, you also can earn your Certified Advanced Level Business Analyst (CALBA) as well as Certified Expert Level Business Analyst (CELBA) certifications. Currently, there are only training and examination centers in Maryland, Oklahoma, Florida, Texas and Chicago. But you can take exams and training courses online.
- Exam fee: $250
IREB Certified Professional for Requirements Engineering (CPRE)
This certification is intended for business analyst professionals who work in requirements engineering. It is currently offered at three different levels. The first is the Foundation Level. This is where you are certified in RE basics. Next is the Advanced Level. You can choose between three different paths that include Requirements Modeling, Requirements Management, and Requirements Elicitation and Consolidation. However, you must wait 12 months after you take the first exam to take the next one. Having the Expert Level will certify you at the highest level of knowledge, and includes hands on experience and also skills and knowledge that you gained with earlier certifications.
Note that this certification does not expire and there is no need to renew it.
- Exam fee: Varies
PMI – Professional in Business Analysis (PBA) Certification
The PMI-PBA certification is intended for business analysts who work a great deal with programs and projects, as well as experienced program managers who are experienced with business analytics. It is offered by the Project Management Institute, which is the top provider of project management certifications in the world. This project management certification is specialized in business analysis training with hands on projects as well as testing on business analysis principles, fundamentals and tools.
If you have your bachelor’s degree already, you must have 4500 hours in business analysis experience in the last eight years. Without a bachelor’s degree, you must have 7500 hours of experience.
You also need to earn a minimum of 60 professional development hours in three years after you get the certification. If you allow your renewal to lapse, your certification can be suspended for up to a year.
- Application fee: $405 for members of PMI, $555 for non members
- Exam fee: None
- Retake fee: $275 for members, $375 for non members
- Renewal fee: $60 for members, $150 for non members
If you earn one or more of the above business analyst certifications, you will be well equipped for many lucrative business management positions in the years to come.
- 6 Business Analyst Certifications to Advance Your Analytics Career. (2018). Retrieved from https://www.cio.com/article/3269514/certifications/6-business-analyst-certifications-to-advance-your-analytics-career.html
- An Introduction to the Business Analysis Body of Knowledge. (2009). Retrieved from http://www.modernanalyst.com/Resources/Articles/tabid/115/ID/1187/An-Introduction-to-the-Business-Analysis-Body-of-Knowledge-BABOK-20.aspx