Why Should You Get the CBAP Certification?

by Jonathan Nituch35

If you are a practicing business analyst, you will eventually be asking yourself this question.  The truth is, you already know a number of reasons why you should be certified.  There are also some things that you might not know.  We’ll touch on both of these later, but first let’s talk about the about some certification myths.

CBAP® Myths

Guaranteed Superiority

We have all heard this one before.  “I met Frank, who is a CBAP, and I was not impressed.  I already know more about Use Cases that he does, so clearly this certification is meaningless.”  Many people love to use similar experiences as a reason not to pursue the certification.  Unfortunately, they are missing the point.  Certification is NOT a guarantee of superiority.  Get that idea out of your head.  Some non-certified BAs who have stronger talents or work experience will outperform some certified individuals.  That is just a fact and really has no bearing on your decision.

Guaranteed Job

The only purpose of the CBAP is to secure an employment position that requires CBAP.  I don’t see that many job postings requiring  CBAP, so it’s not worth getting.”  In the same family as this statement is “Once I get the CBAP, I am guaranteed a good position.”  These ideas have the wrong focus. With this, I want to give out the core focus of CBAP®:

The CBAP® is not about employment, it is about development:  your personal development and the development of business analysis as a profession.

What You Already Know

Love of Your Work

There is one thing that you know for sure.  You know yourself.  If you are reading this blog, then I know a bit about you too.  You are a very fortunate person.  You have the special blend of talents it takes to be a BA.  You combine communication, analytical thinking, business knowledge, technical knowledge, and interaction skills to produce results that most people simply cannot achieve.  You already know this about yourself.  I will guarantee something: you love what you do!  Who wouldn’t?  Being a BA is one of the most challenging and rewarding careers. If you haven’t found what other passionate BAs are talking about being a BA, you should listen to Yamo interviewing business analysts.

You Will Never Stop

You might as well face it that you are going to be a BA for life.  Whether you move on to management or other career options, you will still be a BA.  You will still use your BA skills wherever you go.  You aren’t going to stop.  This work is simply too rewarding and valuable to ever let it go.

What You Might Not Know

What Is Business Analysis To You?

It’s time for another guarantee: you don’t know what business analysis is, at least not completely.  I remember taking my first BA course with a number of other professional BAs.  As we went through the BABOK®, each week a different person was saying “I’m a BA, but I don’t do this work we are learning about”.   Pursuing the CBAP® forces you into the broader world of BA than what you have been exposed to so far.  That’s true development of your own awareness of your role.  You will learn new things.  How about that, you have this great career that you love, and there is more to it than you have enjoyed so far?  Yes there is, sadly the chances are that your boss doesn’t know this either.

What is Business Analysis To The World?

*shrug*  will be the most common answer.  Those closer to the profession may be able to give a partial answer.  Very few will be able to give a complete and correct answer.  At first, this seems almost comical.  “My friends and family don’t know what I do”.  HA-HA.  If you are saying “No one in the organization understands what I do”,  then it isn’t so funny anymore.  It is difficult for people to value things they cannot identify or understand.  That means you are undervalued.  It means you cannot easily move from one organization to another, because BA means something different everywhere.  It also means that executives cannot easily communicate with one another about BA.  All of this is bad news.  It’s bad news that you should do something about.

What Can We Do?

Every BA is in the same situation.  We are all fortunate and talented and love what we do.  We all know only parts of what this great role actually entails.  We all suffer from the lack of recognition that business analysis has.  From this position, there is only one thing we can do: collaborate:

Collaborate to develop our understanding of our role from each other.  Collaborate to develop our skills, competencies and effectiveness.  Most importantly, we must collaborate to develop our identity.  We need to reduce the *shrugs*, increase the partially corrects answers and ultimately increase the number of completely correct answers.

My business card says CBAP on it.  Every time I explain to someone what that means, I am helping you!  I need your help too.  Get certified.  Identify yourself as a professional in business analysis.  You owe it to yourself, your role, and the rest of us who love that role as much as you do.  We are all in the same boat and it’s time for you to pick up a paddle.

Would love to hear your thoughts and feedback. Please use the space below to leave a comment.



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  • Published: November 21, 2011
  • Filed in: CBAP

Article by

Jonathan is a bilingual Senior IT Manager with 17 years of technical experience and 12 years of management experience. He is the VP of Operations at Fortress Technology Planners, an IT consulting firm in Canada. His career is focused on using strategic planning to align systems with business needs and thereby create structural capital. A Project Management Professional and Certified Business Analysis Professional, he uses several tools and techniques to develop a clear and formal understanding of how businesses work and what they need from technology to be most effective and profitable. Jonathan has managed several large implementation projects of both IT infrastructure and ERP applications. Jonathan also teaches business analysis and project management at Sheridan and Conestoga Colleges. He enjoys travel, international food, and is an avid music fan.

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