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Steps to Take to Become a Certified Business Analysis Professional (CBAP)

Certified Business Analysis Professional is a certification awarded by the International Institute of Business Analysis (IIBA); it is the level 3 certification. Statistically, it has been seen that professionals who have been awarded this certification from one of the leading institutes of business analysis- IIBA, have a higher chance of being accepted in top companies for higher positions. But how one becomes CBAP is completely dependent on the individual and the time he/she has to qualify for it.

There are multiple ways one can become a CBAP. Some take a week-long boot camp, while others invest over a year or two to prepare for CBAP preparation while practicing to become better business analysts. Following are the general steps one can take to become a CBAP:

Be sure of your business analysis experience: To apply for a CBAP certification, one needs to show at least 5 years (7,500 hours) of business analysis experience. At the same time, you also need to show 900 hours of experience in at least the four out of 6 knowledge areas. These prerequisites are mentioned in the BABOK Guide.

Documenting these required qualifications helps build confidence in an individual. A lot of times, professionals have applied for the CBAP only to realize that they do not meet the criteria due to lack of experience. At the same time, if one does not wish to apply for the level 3 certification, they can apply for the IIBA’s Certification of Competency in Business Analysis, which is level 2 certification or the Entry Level Certificate of Business Analysis, which is the level 1 certification. One can even opt for a Professional in Business Analysis certification awarded by the Project Management Institute (PMI).

Professional Development Hours (PD) are required: A professional needs to have in his or her credit 35 hours of documented professional development hours. There are some conferences that are accepted as PD credits. There are also various online courses that provide professional development credits that can be earned according to the comfort of the individual.

Submit your CBAP application: One needs to submit the CBAP application to the IIBA’s official website. They have a full web page on the complete CBAP certification process. Apart from the above-mentioned requirements of business analysis experience and professional development hours, one also needs to qualify the minimum educational qualification to apply for the certification, along with two references.

Get well accustomed to the BABOK Guide: To successfully obtain CBAP certification means that an individual will be considered to be a senior business analyst professional. This position is defined by IIBA through A Guide to the Business Analysis Body of Knowledge (BABOK Guide). So, to qualify for the CBAP certification, one needs to demonstrate expertise on the contents of the BABOK Guide through an examination where one implements the knowledge they earned from the BABOK material.

BABOK, as is expected, is a dense book that needs to be read at least twice or thrice to properly grasp the contents of the book. People can join various informal study groups, where the contents of the guides are discussed. People can also opt for more formal tuition courses or exam simulators that can be of great help to judge one’s level of expertise of the book and identify the portions that they need to further work on.

One can even take courses on core business analysis skills: While one is preparing for the IIBA’s certification, one can even take additional training in core business analysis skills. They are;

How to create precise documents: Having a clear and precise documentation skill can go a long way in making anyone confident in expressing themselves. This is important because as a business analyst, one needs to keep records of wireframes, business cases, and more. Honing proper writing skills is just the beginning.

Effecting analysis skills: To become a business analyst, one needs to be good at analyzing problems and figuring out solutions. Having the skills to properly interpret software, business and workflow will help in cracking the certification course.

Have knowledge of how to use business analysis tools: The modern world has some really useful tools that make business analysis easier. Knowledge of basic Microsoft Office programs like Excel, PowerPoint, or visualizing tools like Microsoft Visio will go a long way in making things easier for an individual to handle important business decisions.

Know visual modelling methods: Tools like flowcharts or BPMN (Business Process Model and Notation) are expected of professionals to be well versed in to analyze, record, improve, and automate business processes.

Have excellent verbal skills: High intellect alone is not enough to succeed as a business analyst. One needs to have good elicitation skills to explain the various business requirements and steps to stakeholders and employees. Having the ability to clearly and precisely explain and write the business requirements and conduct meetings effectively are marks of an accomplished business analyst.

Take your CBAP Exam: You can schedule the CBAP exam according to your convenience. This gives you time to mentally prepare yourself to take the exam once your application is approved. It is advised for one to schedule the exam 2-3 months after his/her application is approved. That way, one has the time to revise and prepare for the exam, while maintaining the momentum of study and practice. One can always reschedule their exam if required and if they did take the exam and did not qualify, they can always reschedule the exam within a year of their application getting approved. One must not lose heart if they do not qualify the first time. Just go ahead and schedule the retest and stay motivated and try again.

Be sure to prepare!