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Business analyst certification

By Simon Buehring on 03 Jul 2020

 

Business analysis qualifications.

Business analyst certification in the UK

To become a business analyst, you must study for a professional business analyst qualification. Business analyst job descriptions in many companies require you to have a qualification in business analysis.

You can study business analysis and gain a professional qualification with one of these accreditation bodies:

  • BCS (The Charted Institute of IT).
  • APMG International.
  • IIBA® (The International Institute of Business Analysis).
  • Project Management Institute (PMI®).

BCS (The Chartered Institute of IT)

BCS business analysis qualifications

BCS offers business analyst qualifications from Foundation to Expert level. Each level is mapped according to the SFIA industry-standard framework.

Foundation level

The BCS Foundation Certificate in Business Analysis is a beginners course. It is a knowledge-based qualification for delegates who want to understand the basics of business analysis. Hence, there are no entry pre-requisites for this certification.

The exam is 40 multiple choice questions for one hour and the pass mark is 26/40 (65%).

Practitioner level

Practitioner-level qualifications are more specialised and detailed in nature than the Foundation certificate. There are 7 Practitioner-level certificates in total, including 2 core modules.

The 2 cores modules are:

  1. Business Analysis Practice.
  2. Requirements Engineering.

Other modules include:

  1. Benefits Management and Business Acceptance.
  2. Systems Development Essential.
  3. Systems Modelling Techniques.
  4. Data Management Essentials.
  5. Modelling Business Processes.

International Diploma in Business Analysis

This is for business analysts who want to demonstrate they have a detailed understanding of business analysis.

To earn this qualification, you must sit an oral examination and pass 4 modules:

  • A knowledge-based module - Business Analysis Foundation.
  • Two core modules (Business Analysis Practice and Requirements Engineering).
  • Any 1 of the 5 practitioner selective modules.

Professional level

After gaining an International Diploma, you can progress to the professional level where you must demonstrate that you have analytical, business and people skills.

Consultant level

This level is for senior business analysts and it recognises business analysis experience and expertise. To gain this qualification you must:

  • Have a minimum of five years’ experience in business analysis.
  • Contribute to the BA community.
  • Pass an oral exam.
  • Complete four professional level modules.

Expert level

This is award is the highest level in the BCS business analysis certification scheme. It recognises both your higher skills and expertise. It validates a business analyst’s ability to:

  • Conduct complex business analysis activities.
  • Engage with senior stakeholders.
  • Improve the organisation at a strategic level. [1]

To gain the Expert BA Award, you must go through an interview, a formal assessment and a project assignment.

APMG International

Business analysis certifications

Since agile methods are becoming popular in executing projects nowadays, APMG International has developed a qualification that blends agile practices with business analysis.

AgileBA® aims to develop a candidate’s skills to become an agile business analyst. The right candidate for this certification is someone currently working as a:

  • Business analyst.
  • Change analyst.
  • Project manager.
  • Agile developer.

This qualification will certify your ability to manage your role in an agile project delivery. AgileBA has two levels:

Foundation level

You will learn in this course:

  • Agile processes, principles and practices.
  • Roles and responsibilities within an agile project.

The exam is 50 multiple choice questions for 40 minutes. The pass mark is 25/50 (50%).

After you pass the foundation course, you will be eligible to sit the practitioner exam. This is recommended if you really want to boost your CV as an agile business analyst.

You will study the DSDM Agile Project Framework. You’ll learn how to put agile methods into practice, such as MoSCoW Prioritisation.

The exam is 4 complex multiple-choice questions worth 20 marks each for 2.5 hours. The pass mark is 40/80 (50%).

IIBA® (The International Institute of Business Analysis)

Business analysis certifications

Based in Canada, IIBA® has become one of the world leading associations for the business analysis profession. [2]

Like BCS, IIBA® has qualification levels from an entry level up to an advanced degree. They use the BABOK® Guide as their manual. It ensures business analysts achieve the necessary competencies for each level.

There are 4 levels in total:

Level 1: ECBA™ (Entry Certificate in Business Analysis™)

This qualification is for individuals who are entering business analysis for the first time. You will need 21 hours of studying to have general awareness and practical knowledge of the six knowledge areas. Those areas are:

  • Business analysis planning and monitoring.
  • Elicitation and collaboration.
  • Requirements life cycle management.
  • Strategy analysis.
  • Requirements analysis and design definition.
  • Solution evaluation.

The exam is 50 multiple choice questions for one hour.

Level 2: CCBA® (Certification of Capability in Business Analysis™)

To earn this qualification, you will need:

  • Two to three years of practical business analysis work experience.
  • 21 study hours of the requirements for this qualification.

This level requires from you to be skilled in:

  • Recommending action.
  • Applying the knowledge.
  • Modifying the rules of the six knowledge areas by using key behaviours such as:
    1. Creative thinking.
    2. Decision making.
    3. Verbal & von-verbal communication.

The exam is 130 scenario-based multiple-choice questions for three hours.

Level 3: CBAP® (Certified Business Analysis Professional™)

To earn this qualification, you will need:

  • Two to three years of practical business analysis work experience.
  • 35 hours of study.

In this level, you will be able to:

  • Create the rules.
  • Guide the practice.
  • Excel in skills such as:
    1. Written communication.
    2. Problem solving.
    3. Conceptual & system thinking.

The exam is 120 case study-based multiple-choice questions for 3.5 hours.

Level 4: CBATL™ (Certified Business Analysis Thought Leader™)

This is a new accreditation from IIBA® and is similar to the BCS Expert level. It recognises Business Analyst professionals with advanced skills who have over 10 years of experience.

PMI Professional in Business Analysis (PMI-PBA)®

The PMI (Project Management Institute) is known for its project management certification. However, its Professional in Business Analysis (PMI-PBA)® certificate is one which has become popular in the USA.

Although this is an entry-level Business Analysis qualification, prerequisites include:

  • Secondary degree (high school diploma, associate’s degree.
  • 7,500 hours of business analysis experience.
  • 35 contact hours of education in business analysis.

  • or
  • Bachelor’s degree or the global equivalent.
  • 4,500 hours of business analysis experience.
  • 35 contact hours of education in business analysis.

The (PMI-PBA)® exam is 4 hours and contains 200 multiple-choice questions. To maintain PMI-PBA® certification, a student must earn 60 professional development units (PDUs) in business analysis topics every three years.

Conclusion

There are many options to choose from. What you need to do is map exactly where your business analysis knowledge and skills are. If you are a total beginner, you should look for a business analyst course for beginners. Then you can study your way up from there.

Accreditation bodies may help you with the advanced levels of certification if:

  • You have more working experience.
  • You want to be recognised as a professional business analyst.

In general, business analysts will benefit from studying these qualifications. As they will:

  • Enhance the success of your career path.
  • Make your resume stand out in the crowd.
  • Let you perform your BA duties in confidence.
  • Make a difference in the business analysis community.
  • Recognise your education level in business analysis.
  • Boost your confidence in front of employers.

References

[1] Unknown. (Unknown). Expert BA Award. Available: https://certifications.bcs.org/category/17851. Last accessed 20/08/2018.

[2] Unknown. (2014). History of IIBA. Available: https://www.iiba.org/About-IIBA/History-of-IIBA.aspx. Last accessed 22/08/2018.

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