CBAP Certification13 Jun
On June 9, I passed the Certified Business Analysis Professional (CBAP) exam. The certification is established and managed by the International Institute of Business Analysis (IIBA) and is designed to recognize “senior business analysts who have the skill and expertise to perform BA work on projects of various sizes and complexities.” If you’re unfamiliar with business analysis it is basically the practice of soliciting, defining and managing requirements for business solutions. Of course, you can always refer to Wikipedia for a more detailed description.
Since I also achieved the PMP certification several years ago, the CBAP process was quite enlightening. IIBA seems to be where PMI was 20 years ago. They’re just getting their methodology fully defined, just getting the kinks worked out of the exam and application process, and just breaking through as a “required” certification for professionals in the field.
To me, the certifications are not terribly valuable by themselves. Sure, they get added to the resume, the website, LinkedIn, etc., and they might one day help get my name through the initial HR screeners for some positions. But I’ve been doing BA and PM work for long enough to know that the real world does not generally operate as the academic structures of the two methodologies suggest.
So why did I bother subjecting myself to the ridiculous application and testing process required to get the CBAP certification?
When people want to know what I do, I most often tell them I’m a project manager / business analyst with some technical skills in database development and business intelligence. Simply put, when you are an IT practitioner working for small to mid-size businesses in Montana, project management and business analysis are very complementary skills. In this market, companies don’t usually hire distinct project managers or business analysts. In my experience, if a company is big enough to start hiring an IT staff, they go first for networking and desktop support and then they hire will programming skills. They’ll usually hire several people with technical skills well before they ever hire someone who thinks about the business side of IT. By then, they’ve had a number of problematic experiences where their IT staff (however talented they may be) has failed to deliver in a number of key areas.
I work with these companies. They need people who can understand their business, translate their business requirements into technical terminology, and then procure (if necessary) and manage the technical resources to get the job done.
That’s my niche.
The PMP and CBAP certifications designate me as someone who designs, builds and delivers high quality IT solutions. They don’t prove I can do it, but the successes I’ve had with my clients and employers over the years do.