Thoughts on the IIBA new ECBA certificate

I’m often asked about my opinion on the new Entry Certificate in Business Analysis (ECBA) from the International Institute of Business Analysis (IIBA®), and whether it’s a good investment of time and energy.

At Bridging the Gap, we serve mid-career professionals, and most of the individuals who ask me about the ECBA have at least a few years of professional experience. Some have decades.

The ECBA is an Entry-Level Certificate

From the perspective of a mid-career professional, it’s important to note that the ECBA is an entry-level certificate that does not validate the recipient’s work experience. In contrast, the CCBA® and CBAP® are both certifications that are backed up by documented work experience in business analysis.

While earning the ECBA does allow you to check the box of holding an IIBA certificate, it’s not technically a business analyst certification.

The ECBA Brands You as an Entry-Level Business Analyst

One significant challenge I see with the ECBA is that is brands you as an entry-level business analyst. In the vast majority of cases, seeking an entry-level business analyst role is NOT the best path to success for a mid-career professional.

Entry-level business analyst jobs are reserved for recent college graduates at entry-level salaries. The harsh reality is that whether or not you are willing to accept a lower salary, often employers will pass over more experienced and qualified candidates for recent college graduates.

So by pursuing the ECBA and entry-level roles, you are actually taking the more difficult path to starting your business analyst career.

An Alternative to the ECBA – the ACBA

For over a decade, Bridging the Gap has been providing the following career advice to mid-career professionals starting business analyst careers:

Expanding your business analyst work experience, while building a vetted set of work samples, is the exact process we walk you through as part of earning your Applied Certification in Business Analysis (ACBA), which you can earn by participating in The Business Analyst Blueprint certification program.

With the ACBA, you’ll also have a business analyst certification that showcases your business analyst experience and knowledge.

And because you apply business analyst techniques and processes on-the-job as part of earning your ACBA, the ACBA certifies your actual on-the-job business analyst work experience, giving you a stepping stone to mid-level business analyst roles where you will find the most opportunity as a mid-career professional.

The CCBA and CBAP are Also Alternatives to the ACBA

As they go through our online business analyst training programs, many professionals build up the confidence in their work experience and skill set, and feel more prepared to tackle the CCBA® or CBAP®, both IIBA certifications.

Either certification is a suitable choice for a mid-career professional with transferable business analyst experience.

The ECBA is Appropriate for Entry-Level Candidates

All of this being said, the ECBA is an appropriate choice for entry-level candidates. For example, a recent college graduate who did not take business analyst training as part of their college coursework could benefit from the ECBA to showcase their general business analyst knowledge.

In this scenario it is possible that earning a certificate like the ECBA™ could help you get an interview for a business analyst job. Any extra credential you have can slightly stack the deck in your favor.

How to Earn Your Applied Certification in Business Analysis

If you’d like to earn your ACBA, we’d be honored to help you take your next step and create a purpose-filled career in business analysis.

Click here to learn more about The Business Analyst Blueprint certification program, where you can earn your Applied Certification in Business Analysis (ACBA).

We build our profession one business analyst at a time. Success starts with you.


And yes, The Business Analyst Blueprint certification program does qualify for the professional credits you need to apply for the ECBA™, CCBA®, or CBAP®. But perhaps more importantly, this program helps you build the business analysis work experience you need to actually move into a full-fledged business analyst career. This principle of integrating learning and action is foundational to how we structured our training programs at Bridging the Gap.


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Laura Brandenburg

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as a Business Analyst

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