The Business Analyst Blueprint® training program – Frequently Asked Questions

What is The Business Analyst Blueprint® training program and when is the next session scheduled?

The Business Analyst Blueprint® training program is our most comprehensive program which runs for 4 months and includes the following modules: Business Process Analysis, Use Cases and Wireframes, and Data Modeling for Business Analysts.

The content of each module is identical to the on-demand versions of the courses. Since The Business Analyst Blueprint® training program is an interactive session, it also includes additional live webinar sessions and Instructor Hours calls to help with project selection and to get your questions answered in real-time. It also represents significant savings over investing in each of the 3 modules separately.

We are currently pre-registering for the Fall 2020 session starting on August 20, 2020, and running through December 2020.

What does the course cost?

This is ALWAYS the first question people ask. We’re not going to answer it here because it will be covered over on the course pre-registration page.

And, quite honestly, I want you to appreciate the full value of what’s included in the program, and what that investment can help you achieve, and not make a decision just based on cost alone.

It’s also important to consider this as an investment. What will the investment you make now in up-leveling your skills and capabilities mean to your life-long career and salary potential?

  • For me, getting into a BA career created a 40% salary jump.
  • For Amelia McHenry, it meant an additional $20K/year.

When you multiple increases like these over the next several years of your work life, what feels like a big cost can be re-framed as a super-smart investment, even before you start considering less tangible benefits like experiencing more fulfillment and confidence in your work, which often has a spillover effect on your health and relationships.

Can I see what this looks like?

Sure! In this FAQ webinar, I demoed our online training program and provided an in-depth overview of the entire program. The demo starts about 26 minutes into the session.

 

Why did you create this program?

Here’s a bit of my backstory – When I founded Bridging the Gap back in 2008, I didn’t set out to create a training company. I was actually starting a consulting practice and so I started blogging about what I did as a business analyst.

I kept receiving questions from well-educated, talented professionals on how to get started in business analysis – professionals with MBAs, certifications, and even business analysis training from other providers. I realized that because of the importance of on-the-job, real-world experience in success as a business analyst, the traditional way of training in a classroom setting wasn’t working.

So I set out to bridge the gap – and create a program that would help professionals build real-world experience, gain career momentum, and step into more true confidence. I launched my first skill-based training course back in 2011 by teaching a short Business Process Analysis course.

Since that time we’ve continued to evolve our offerings and programs to serve mid-career professionals looking to start and succeed in business analysis careers at the best and highest level. We launched the first session of The Business Analyst Blueprint® training program in 2017, and the results were so fantastic that we’ve continued to offer this unique program twice each year ever since.

How much time should I expect to invest in the program?

The Business Analyst Blueprint® training program is worth 36 professional credits, and that is about the amount of time you should expect to invest. Since the course is spaced out over 4 months, a time commitment of 2-3 hours/week will ensure you stay on track and complete the program.

What’s more, as some of this time is creating various business analysis deliverables, the time you invest in the course may be part of the work you are doing anyway.

We do have extra buffer time during the holidays, to allow for our participants, instructors, and support team to enjoy that time fully.

What is the timing of the live webinars?

Typically, they are Tuesday afternoons at 3 PM Eastern (New York) Time, and our program kick-off webinar is on Thursday, August 20 at 3 PM Eastern. Replays are available if you can’t attend live. And you can submit questions ahead of time to be answered on the live webinars, or you can submit them for a direct email response from one of our instructors, so there are many flexible ways to receive instructor support during this program.

What’s more, multiple Instructor Hours calls for small group coaching will be scheduled during this live session, and those vary as to days and times. Many are in the evening Eastern Time, which provides an opportunity for our Australia and New Zealand participants to participate at a more convenient time.

What if I have an upcoming vacation or extended leave?

There is a lot of flexibility built into the program – you can go through the online course materials at any time and replays are available for all of the live sessions – and this makes it possible to complete the course when and how it works for you.

However, there are also specific deadlines for completing your work for each module, and meeting these deadlines is an important part of successfully completing the course, staying on track, and getting the most value out of the program.

A program schedule of important dates can be viewed here.

If you have any concerns, please contact us directly with your specific time away, and we’ll help you determine if there is a workaround plan for this particular session.

Do I receive a certificate of completion?

Yes, a certificate will be issued for the successful completion of the course, and it is valid for 36 PDs – what you need to apply for the CBAP® or other IIBA® certifications.

What are the professional credits?

PDs/CDUs are professional credits needed toward certification or re-certification requirements for IIBA® designations such as the CBAP®, CCBA®, or ECBA™.

Check out this article for more information: https://www.bridging-the-gap.com/pds-cdus-and-pdus-difference/

I have a certification from PMI. Can I use this course credits towards PDUs for PMI-PMP or PMI-PBA?

The Project Management Institute (PMI) is in the process of retiring its Registered Education Provider (REP) program, of which Bridging the Gap has been a participant since 2015, allowing us to guarantee PDUs and Contact Hours towards the PMP and PMI-PBA certification and re-certification.

At this time, we are not planning to apply for their new program and our Registered Education Provider status expires at the close of 2020.

However, as someone who already has their certification from PMI, you can still elect to submit your participation in The Business Analyst Blueprint® training program as part of your re-certification requirements, you may just need to provide additional documentation to support your claim. Be sure to check your re-certification guidelines for these details.

What type of business analysis does this program address?

There are many variations of the business analyst role and many uses (and misuses) of the job title “Business Analyst.”

The Business Analyst Blueprint® training program trains business analysts to be effective on business change projects that have a significant software component. You’ll learn how to analyze and improve a business process, support the improvement of that process through software enhancements, and model the data that needs to be managed in that software or through the business process or transferred/migrated between software systems.

Does the course provide technical training?

This course is not a course in “how to code.” We will not teach you how to write SQL, how to configure business applications, or program software applications. Nor do you need to have these skills to be successful in the program. (Although it’s fine if you do.)

We teach you the analytical thinking skills that help you be extremely specific about what the software needs to do (i.e., the requirements) to ask powerful, detailed questions that clarify what your business stakeholders want and enable technical professionals to build the solutions that serve those needs.

To a professional with a business background, this training might actually feel quite technical, because it’s likely you’ve never truly considered software requirements to the level of detail you need to clearly describe those requirements to those who build the software. And learning to communicate clearly in this way, even when you don’t know how to code, will give you the conversation constructs to have productive conversations with technical professionals as well.

To a professional with a technical background, this training will help you better communicate with business stakeholders and leverage your technical expertise to solve real business problems. It will give you language and constructs to help them get specific about what they want, without you frustrating them with “technical jargon.”

Will this course prepare me for certification?

Bridging the Gap is an Endorsed Education Provider™ with the International Institute of Business Analysis™ (IIBA®) and all of our training courses qualify for professional credits (PDs/CDUs) needed for certification requirements. However, we do not offer any specific exam preparation or simulators.

Our training programs are consistent with the content covered in the Business Analysis Body of Knowledge (BABOK® Guide), but not a comprehensive overview of everything included in the exam.

However, many participants choose a skill-focused, practical learning program like The Business Analyst Blueprint® training program to earn the credits they need to apply for certification because they find this learning is more beneficial in cultivating their business analysis capabilities than a pure exam preparation course. Also, by learning and applying the industry-standard business analysis techniques as you do in The Blueprint, your exam preparation tends to be easier, as you can draw from your experience as you absorb the information in the Business Analysis Body of Knowledge (BABOK® Guide) and prepare for your certification exam.

For more information on pursuing BA certifications, check out our resource page: 5 Steps to Becoming a CBAP.

When is the next session?

If the timing doesn’t work for the Fall 2020 session because, say, you’ve got a big window of vacation coming up and you won’t have access for a few weeks or more, be thinking about planning for the following session which will start in either January or February 2021.

Do you provide a case study for me to use?

We do provide samples of each technique we teach so you can see what the end product should look like, but we do not provide a case study sample for you to work through. When you join The Business Analyst Blueprint® training program, you create your own case study and apply the course materials in your real-world work, even if you aren’t formally in a business analyst position.

We do this because this is how we see participants achieve significant career transformations, often while they are in the course or soon after, and take their careers to the next level. This also means that you get to leverage our instructor support on your real-world project work for the full 4 months of the program.

Does the course incorporate other real-life examples?

The course materials include examples from two basic case studies – an online job board and an online banking system.

You’ll also have the opportunity to learn from the other participants in the course and their examples (sharing your examples is optional and not required for participation). Throughout the live webinar sessions and instructor hours, we encourage participants to share their project selections, sample work, and real-life examples for instructor feedback and critique. This enhances everyone’s learning as you get exposed to a variety of different industries and domains throughout the program.

I’m a contractor or have confidentiality concerns, so I cannot use my active project work. How can I complete the course?

While we do provide guidance inside the programs on choosing a fictitious project to complete the course, you’ll receive the most benefit from the program when you use your active project work. What’s more, this means the work you do to complete the course is part of the work you are doing anyway. Many participants experience immediate wins when they use their active project work, as their current project work improves and gets noticed by managers, stakeholders, and clients.

Rest assured that all work submitted for individual instructor review is kept confidential between you and your instructor. And if you still have concerns, you can edit aspects of your documents to blur out any private information.

Is the training program intended for business analysts who are just starting or also for more experienced business analysts?

We have had professionals without much exposure to business analysis benefit from The Business Analyst Blueprint®, as well as more experienced business analyst professionals who are looking for practical training that helps them improve their skills. Often more senior professionals join The Business Analyst Blueprint® as part of preparing for their certification goals, such as the CBAP®.

Here are some examples for more experienced professionals, and how they benefited from the program:

Here are some examples of less experienced professionals, and how they benefited from the program:

I’m unemployed, how can I complete the training program?

You have two options:

  • Volunteer at a local non-profit or charity to help them improve their organization. (This is what Perry McGuire did, and he delayed completing his BCS certification to gain this practical, on-the-job experience that helped him land 2 job offers.)
  • Reach out to a past employer or other business and offer your services. (This is what Todd Fleming did, which led to paying contract work with a recent employer, and an opportunity to demonstrate his expanded skill set and capabilities.)
What’s more, with either option, you are building real-world work experience that you can add to your resume and speak to confidently in job interviews. This can make a tremendous difference in the opportunities that open up for you.

When these scenarios do not work out, we do have alternate suggestions to apply the techniques in your personal life or using publicly available systems, so there is still a way to successfully complete the program.

In this session of The Business Analyst Blueprint® training program, we will also be hosting kick-off webinars for each module with the exclusive focus of helping all participants choose the best project to help them move their career forward.

Can I choose just one module? Or pick and choose modules?

Yes, it is possible to register for the modules individually. Click here for our full menu of training options.

The Business Analyst Blueprint® includes the following modules:

  • Business Process Analysis,
  • Use Cases and Wireframes, and
  • Data Modeling for Business Analysts.

However, The Business Analyst Blueprint® training program is a package deal, offering a significant discount over investing in each module individually. Because The Business Analyst Blueprint® training program is an interactive session, it also includes live webinar sessions to get your questions answered, additional Instructor Hours calls for small group coaching, and the accountability of a live program.

Is The Business Analyst Blueprint® training program the same as investing in each of the modules individually?

Whether you invest in The Business Analyst Blueprint® or the 3 individual modules, you do receive the same core training material, but there are some differences in the delivery.

  • In addition, The Business Analyst Blueprint® includes additional live webinars and instructor hours.
  • Unlike one of the individual modules, which you can start at any time, the course materials for The Business Analyst Blueprint® are delivered on a preset schedule.

What is the difference between The Business Analyst Blueprint® training program and the BA Essentials Master Class?

In the BA Essentials Master Class, you learn how to apply the BA framework and the 8-step process, to approach any software or business process change project.

In The Business Analyst Blueprint® training program, you’ll learn the complete set of business analysis techniques, covered in each of the following 3 modules:

  • Business Process Analysis
  • Use Cases and Wireframes
  • Data Modeling for Business Analysts

These are the specific techniques you use to discover, analyze, and validate the requirements.

I’ve already joined the BA Essentials Master Class, should I also join The Business Analyst Blueprint® training program?

We’ve had many, many participants go through both programs with us.

  • With the BA Essentials Master Class, you learned best practices for structuring your business analysis process, and how to navigate real-world project challenges.
  • With The Business Analyst Blueprint®, you’ll learn how to use industry-standard techniques to discover, analyze, and validate the requirements, all throughout the process.

What’s more, in The Business Analyst Blueprint® training program, you are part of a live program, with several other active participants, and get the benefits of live webinar sessions and additional instructor hours for small group coaching.

Should I join the BA Essentials Master Class first?

Our online training programs are designed to be completed in any order, and there are no pre-requisites for any of our programs. Since a live session of The Business Analyst Blueprint® training program is coming up, and we only run these sessions twice each year, it probably makes sense to jump into the live session and plan to circle back to the BA Essentials Master Class afterward.

Many participants, especially those not in formal business analyst roles, find it much easier to start applying the individual business analysis techniques that we cover in The Business Analyst Blueprint® training program first. This work often creates more significant opportunities to apply the full end-to-end business analysis process.

Does this training include writing test cases or the BA role in the testing phase of the SDLC?

The training content in The Business Analyst Blueprint® training program does not cover test cases specifically, as testing isn’t an aspect of an “official” business analyst role. (However, many BAs also participate in or lead the testing process on a software project.)

In terms of skills, many BAs who also do testing find that use cases and use case thinking (which we do cover in The Blueprint) help them create test cases, particularly business-focused test cases and test plans.

We do cover the BA role in the testing phase, in terms of guiding User Acceptance Testing and supporting the Quality Assurance Team in our BA Essentials Master Class.

Do you guarantee that I’ll receive a BA job when I complete your program?

Success in obtaining a business analyst position is dependent on many factors – your career experience, your transferable skills, your local job market, how you craft your resume, and how confidently you show up in the interview. For these reasons, and out of integrity, we do not guarantee job placement.

We can tell you that we see many participants go on from our programs to secure business analyst positions. The most successful participants are able to apply the course materials on-the-job or through volunteering, even if they are not in a business analyst role, and so they build up transferable work experience they can put on their resume and speak to in job interviews while in our training programs.

Specifically, check out the following success stories as examples:

How does your program compare to another program?

I think it’s great that you are evaluating several programs before making a decision. This is what a great business analyst does!

No training provider is exactly alike, and there is not an apples-to-apples comparison to be made between programs.

I stand in the value of The Business Analyst Blueprint® training program, the level of support we offer from expert instructors, the results of our participants, and the investment level for the program. Out of integrity, I cannot compare our program to another program from another provider, because there’s no way I can have the same level of detailed knowledge of their program as I do our own.

I can tell you what sets our program apart is the practical approach to real-world training, the application, the expert instructor support.

I invite you to consider our participant’s success stories and determine if you see in their experience something you want for you and your career. I invite you to get clear on what type of learning model experience will best serve you and where you want to go. I invite you to review all the details on this page, on the course registration page, and email me any other specific questions you have about our program as you make your decision, so you can make the best possible apples-to-oranges comparison before you make your investment.

English is my second language. Will I be able to participate?

Yes, we do have many non-native English speakers participate. One thing that is beneficial with the online courses is that you have access to the training materials (video, audio, plus full-text transcripts) to go through again and again, and the multiple learning modalities can help with absorbing the content.

Instructor support is provided through email and our live sessions – you are welcome to engage in both mediums or just leverage email and chat if that is more comfortable. The live webinars are scheduled for 3 PM Eastern – which I believe is evening time in Europe. And then we schedule Instructor Hours for smaller group coaching at various days and times throughout the program to accommodate multiple schedules and time zones.

If you are still thinking that you’d rather go at your own pace rather than join the full Blueprint session, we do offer our individual courses on-demand. These still come with instructor support via email and instructor hours.

Can I get a discount (or an additional discount or scholarship)?

We appreciate your feeling. The Business Analyst Blueprint® represents our best deal as it is a package offering of 3 of our programs offered at significant savings over investing in our individual programs. We are not offering any additional discounts or scholarships at this time.

We’re all looking for the best value for our money. We have found that the financial investment for our courses represents an equitable number for participants and for us. What’s more, we’ve seen a link between making the full financial investment and successful completion of the course and realization of all the benefits of having done so.

If now is not the right time for you to make this investment, I completely understand. We run this session twice each year. Come back when it’s the right time. And in the meantime, please benefit from all the free resources we provide on Bridging the Gap.

Can I pay in different installments or get an extended payment plan?

We are not offering a payment plan during the pre-registration period, but there will be a 4-month payment plan option when we open up public registration in August.

How can I get this covered by my employer’s tuition reimbursement program?

Bridging the Gap is an Endorsed Education Provider™ with the International Institute of Business Analysis™ (IIBA®) and you will receive a certificate of completion upon successfully completing the requirements of the program.

While we are not an accredited college or university, we have seen other participants make a case and be granted an exception. Our program is a lot like a college course, which is extremely practical in nature, and employers tend to experience immediate ROI in terms of their employee’s work performance.

Be sure to leverage our manager resources information to help make your case for an exception.

Do you work with any veterans or unemployment funding programs?

As we serve business analysts all over the globe in an online, instructor-supported capacity, we prioritize our relationships with organizations that have a broad geographical reach and also appreciate the learning opportunities afforded by the online environment. We have found that many funding programs have requirements linked to dated learning models and traditional classroom settings, as well as intensive application processes that we are not able to support. We currently do not have any active relationships with veterans, local unemployment, or other funding institutions.

However, we have had participants make private arrangements with local funding institutions and then be reimbursed for their investments with us. We are happy to provide an invoice or quote, provide payment documentation, and provide basic course and company information (such as our course handout and W-9).

If you have a specific institution you think would enable us to benefit you as well as other potential participants, we’d be happy to review the requirements for your specific funding program to see if we can pursue it. And if you are able to connect us directly to someone who can help facilitate the process, that would increase our chances of success.  Just be aware that these relationships often take a significant amount of time to solidify, and so would not likely be completed for the session we are currently enrolling for.

I’m not sure if BA right for me. Do I need experience?

It’s great you are interested in The Business Analyst Blueprint® and taking your career to the next level. People find this article, with 42 reasons to start a business analyst career, really helpful in deciding if this is the career for them or not.

Click here to read the 42 reasons to start a BA career

I’d like to speak to someone before I join one of your programs. How can I do that?

We are a virtual organization with team members in 3 countries and multiple states within the United States, work in multiple time zones, and we offer customer and instructor support via email, online communication tools, and pre-scheduled webinar sessions.

We find the best way to communicate with customers prior to making a purchasing decision is using these same tools. If you have a specific question about our training programs that is not answered on this page, please email us at info [at] bridging-the-gap [dot] com and we’ll reply as soon as we possibly can.

What is your refund policy?

If you start the course and determine The Business Analyst Blueprint® is not a good fit for you, we provide an option to request a refund through 14 days after the program start date. (For individual on-demand courses, you have 7 days to request a refund.)

Can I get an invoice or quote?

Most certainly! Please email us at info [at] bridging-the-gap [dot] com with your organization’s documentation needs, and we’ll do our best to support you.

Bridging the Gap accepts purchase orders and can invoice you for your registrations. Reply to this email with your company’s purchasing requirements. Invoices can be paid by credit card, check, ACH, or wire transfer.

Proof of payment, or soon-to-be-pending payment, is required to start the course. Once payment is received, registration confirmation details will be sent to the course participant(s).

(If you are obtaining approval and need a bit more time, we will do our best to work with your unique situation and allow you to start the program on-time. Please email us with all the detail you can so we can work out a custom plan together.)

This isn’t really the right time for me. When will you be offering this program again?

This session is scheduled to start on August 20, 2020, and run through December 2020. If now truly isn’t the right time because, say, you’ve got a big window of vacation coming up and you won’t have access for a few weeks or more, be thinking about planning for the following session in January or February 2021.

However, I challenge you to consider whether you are using “timing” as a nice way of referring to “procrastination.” When we start thinking about going to the next level in our careers (or any area of our life), our subconscious mind can have a field day coming up with all kinds of reasons why this isn’t right now.

There will always be big projects to focus on at work and family commitments to be present for. Part of the decision you are making when you join a program like this is to make the investment in yourself and your career a priority.

We’re on the other side, ready to help hold you accountable to more success now, and making the most of this investment in yourself.