Certification can be a great way of crystallising knowledge whilst building and demonstrating the competency of a BA team. This article explains the four level certification scheme released by the International Institute of Business Analysis (IIBA®). For further information on how we can help you and your team achieve certification, please don’t hesitate to contact us and be sure to check out our training courses.
In 2016, IIBA announced an updated multi-level, competency based certification programme. Based on the Business Analysis Body of Knowledge (BABOK®) Guide version 3, this multi-level framework provides a useful certification pathway for practicing BAs. There are four levels which are outlined below:
- ECBA™: Entry Certificate in Business Analysis: The ECBA™ is aimed at people new to the BA profession, and does not require any specific previous experience.
- CCBA®: Certification of Capability in Business Analysis: The CCBA® is aimed at experienced BAs looking to formalise their experience. Practitioners require 3,750 hours of BA experience to be eligible for the exam.
- CBAP®: Certified Business Analysis Professional: Aimed at practitioners with significant BA experience, practitioners require 7,500 hours of BA experience to be eligible for the exam.
- CBATL™: Certified Business Analysis Thought Leader: Aimed at the top few percent of the BA community who are considered ‘thought leaders’, this certificate will be awarded to those who give back to and shape the BA community. At the time of writing this certificate has not yet been launched.
As outlined in the descriptions above, the certificate that you are eligible for will depend on your BA experience. There are also additional criteria, which are summarised in the table below:
|BA Work Experience||None required||3,750 hours in last 7 years||7,500 hours in last 10 years||10 years (TBC)|
|Knowledge Area Coverage||None required||Minimum of 900 hours in each of 2 knowledge areas or 500 hours in each of 4 knowledge areas||Minimum of 900 hours in each of 4 of the knowledge areas||To Be Confirmed by IIBA (CBATL™ not yet launched)
|Professional Development||21 hours in the last 4 years||21 hours in the last 4 years||35 hours in the last 4 years|
|References||None||2 references. Each from a career manager, client, or CBAP® recipient.||2 references. Each from a career manager, client, or CBAP® recipient.|
|Signed Code of Conduct Required||Yes||Yes||Yes|
The different levels of IIBA® certification are examined differently, with the higher levels of certification requiring a candidate to demonstrate a greater depth of understanding and application of the subject matter. In particular, it should be noted that CBAP® and CCBA® candidates will need to demonstrate practical application of their BA competencies. The approach to examination is summarised below:
- 1 hour, 50 question multiple-choice exam
- Knowledge, recall & understanding based
- Exam conducted online, arranged via IIBA
- 3 hours, 130 question multiple-choice exam
- Scenario based
- Exam taken in approved exam centre, arranged via IIBA
- 3.5 hours, 120 question multiple-choice exam
- Case study based (1-1.5 pages)
- Exam taken in approved exam centre, arranged via IIBA
Which Level Should I Apply For?
The level that you apply and study for will depend on your individual experience and career aspirations. It can be useful to step back and reflect on your existing experience, and assess which is best for you. The table above will prove useful in assessing which might be applicable for you.
How do I Prepare?
Preparation includes both an application phase as well as study/exam preparation.
Application involves logging your professional development activity, and (in the case of CCBA®/CBAP®) logging your work experience. It also involves reading and agreeing to a code of conduct. It is worth starting the application early. Candidates often find that it takes a while to remember and compile the relevant work experience, and you would not want this to become a barrier to sitting the exam
Once your application has been approved, you have a one year period in which to sit the exam.
The exams are based around the IIBA®‘s Business Analysis Body of Knowledge (BABOK®) Guide, and so you should become comfortable with its scope and contents. If you are a practicing BA, it is likely you will find this reinforces and enhances your existing knowledge and practices. For the higher levels of certification, you will be required not only to know the contents, but also to demonstrate the application (and potentially synthesis) of the theory in a given scenario or context.
It is well worth forming a study group, and working with others to get ready for the exam. You may also wish to consider a training course to accelerate your learning. This will help cut down the time it takes to study, by providing you with a firm foundation on which to accelerate your self-study.
We are able to offer a range of training courses that can help you prepare. Our courses are highly flexible and can be tailored to meet the needs of you and your team–please don’t hesitate to contact us for an initial informal discussion.
We hope you’ve found this summary useful. The most up-to-date information about the certification scheme can always be found on IIBA’s website. Alternatively, for information about training or exam preparation, feel free to give us a call and we’ll be delighted to talk you through the options for you and your team.
Interested in finding out more?
For an informal conversation and to find out more about our IIBA® BABOK aligned training courses, please call us.
Tel: (023) 9298 4546