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Which certification is best for business analysis?

28 Jul 2021 By

Business analysis is a rapidly growing profession. More and more organizations are starting to recognize the value this role can bring to their business.

Business analysis as a discipline has evolved from work previous allotted to project managers as businesses have grown more complex, and projects more multi-faceted.

As such, business analysts (BAs) can expect to work closely with project managers, stakeholders and related project support roles. Some have likened the techniques used in business analysis to those of systems analysis.

Business analysis however focuses more on overall business goals than specific technology or systems design. The role of a business analyst is to deliver an understanding of users and the general business environment.

What do business analysts do?

Business analysts are agents of change, they use a disciplined and structured approach to research, plan and implement meaningful change in organizations. Business analysts are charged with identifying and defining solutions that maximize the value an organization can deliver to stakeholders.

As such, the role can potentially operate across multiple levels of any given organization, from defining strategy, assuming a leadership role, defining project requirements, supporting the implementation of new IT systems or designing enterprise architecture.

BA skills

Business analysts must possess specialized knowledge and understanding that enables them to act as mentors, guides and business leaders. The effective use of business analysis methods can ensure that organizations improve their way of doing business.

Doing this requires a business analyst (or teams of Business analysts) able to identify new opportunities, avoid risks, address the human side of change, model business practices and much more.

It is not a role for the faint hearted, but BAs enjoy a level of respect and freedom rarely accorded to middle-management roles.

What qualifications do you need to become a business analyst?

Business analysts need a good mix of ‘soft-skills’ and ‘hard-skills.’ You will need to be good at solving problems and analysing data. You will also need to have excellent communication skills.

The path you might take will depend on your qualifications, education and experience. Many analysts begin in a technical background such as software development. This is helpful, as IT systems and databases can often form a major part of a businesses’ development plans.

If you don’t have any IT experience, don’t fret! Often some basic knowledge of SQL is all you’ll be required to have, as systems analysis is a closely related, but otherwise entirely distinct discipline that you won’t have to worry about as a Business analyst.

‘Soft skills’ vs. ‘hard skills’

Recruiters will generally look for work experience or an education that may have imparted desirable skills. Any experience you may have had as a manager or team-leader will be especially desirable. Soft skills you may want to highlight in your CV include:

  • Attention to detail.
  • Communication.
  • Interpersonal skills.
  • Leadership.
  • Organisation.
  • Problem-solving.
  • Teamwork.
  • Time-management.

Additionally, a post-graduate qualification in any of the following studies will make you more marketable as a BA:

  • Business information systems.
  • Business management.
  • Computing and systems development.
  • Computer science.

Beyond this, many employers view recognized business analyst qualifications as an industry-standard. That’s not to say you can’t find work as a business analyst without one, but they will make you more desirable to potential employers and are a great way to make up for a lack of experience if you’re looking for your first business analyst role.

Business analysis qualifications are offered by several professional bodies, namely the International Institute of Business Analysis UK (IIBA), The Chartered Institute for IT (BCS) and the Project Management Institute (PMI). In the UK, BCS business analysis qualifications are the most popular amongst employers.

What is the best business analyst certification?

We offer 3 internationally recognized business analysis qualification schemes to aid your career progression in the business analysis profession. Each is tailored to suit a different type of candidate and as such, there’s no ‘best’ qualification. For more information on each individual course read on!

BCS Business Analysis

BCS business analysis certifications are unique in that BCS offers a structured training and career progression path.

BCS business analysis qualifications range from entry-level BCS Business Analysis Foundation certification which requires no previous experience in business analysis, to the more advanced BCS Business Analysis Diploma certification.

Owing to the flexibility of their training scheme, and the fact that you never have to venture outside the BCS scheme throughout your entire business analysis career, it’s no wonder BCS remains a firm favourite among business owners and practicing business analysts alike.

We offer a range of online Foundation and Practitioner BCS BA modules including:

Each of these modules helps candidates work towards the highly regarded BCS International Diploma in Business Analysis.

This qualification validates the experience you gain through our individual training modules and is designed for business and IT professionals who want to demonstrate they have a detailed understanding of business analysis tools, techniques, strategies and best-practices.

If you’re looking to begin a career in business analysis and don’t want to work in an agile environment, there’s no better choice than a BCS BA Diploma.

Agile BA

Offered by APMG International, this Business Analysis certification is designed to help BAs work within agile environments.

APMG courses are generally favoured by agile practitioners because, in addition to giving an overall understanding of Agile, they train candidates in the use of practical business analysis tools and techniques that you will go on to use in your career.

We offer this qualification at two levels:

AgileBA Foundation

This entry-level course is best suited for any of the following:

  • Product owners and managers who require an understanding of agile business analysis.
  • Working business analysts who wish to move into an agile environment.
  • Experienced agile team-members who want to work as agile business analysts.

An AgileBA Foundation course provides a general overview of Agile and the roles of an agile business analyst. The course includes the exam which leads to the Foundation certification. Topics include:

  • The philosophy and principles of Agile.
  • The business analysis processes within an Agile project.
  • The practices used in an Agile project.
  • The benefits and limitations of Agile.
  • The roles and responsibilities within an Agile project.

AgileBA Foundation & Practitioner

An AgileBA Foundation and Practitioner course includes 2 exams leading to the AgileBA Practitioner certification. This course is best suited to practicing business analysts and those who wish to begin a career in agile business analysis.

This course teaches candidates how to apply the AgileBA approach to any given context. Topics include:

  • The philosophy and principles of Agile.
  • The business analysis processes within an Agile project.
  • The roles and responsibilities within an Agile project.

PMI Professional in Business Analysis (PMI-PBA)®

PMI qualifications are, by a wide margin, some of the most widely recognized and respected qualifications in the project management world and are highly sought after.

The high opinions many people hold of this certification is due to the demanding and strict entry requirements which candidates must meet to be eligible for the PMI-PBA® exam. Eligibility requirements are as follows:


Education:Required experience:Required training:
High school diploma, associate degree or global equivalent5 years working as a business analyst35 hours in the topic of business analysis practices.
Bachelor’s degree, higher degree or global equivalent.3 years working as a business analyst35 hours in the topic of business analysis practices.
Bachelor’s or postgraduate degree from a GAC accredited program or global equivalent2 years working as a business analyst35 hours in the topic of business analysis practices.


If you meet these requirements, our PMI-PBA omline course helps you prepare for the certification exam.

If you’re lucky enough to hold a PMI qualification, you’ll be a stand-out candidate in your field. There’s no better way to advertise your skills in business analysis, this qualification should be a goal for every dedicated business analyst!

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