Exploring the CBAP (Certified Business Analyst Professional)

Linda Erzah, CBAP

Linda Erzah, CBAP

I’ve had the great pleasure of speaking with Linda Erzah, CBAP and Executive Director of BAMentor, who is extremely passionate about the BABOK as a tool for business analysts and helping individuals become Certified Business Analyst Professionals (CBAPs). With the BABOK 2.0 recently released and the availability of new, cost effective training options, this could be a great time to explore becoming a CBAP.

Linda was kind enough to allow me to summarize her answers to my CBAP questions for you.

1) Who is applying for the CBAP?

Applying for the CBAP requires a minimum of 5 documented years of business analyst experience. Linda is working mostly with senior business analyst professionals who have been in business analysis for more than 7 years. She also receives questions about a junior CBAP or other entry-level certifications. While there are companies offering entry-level certifications, the International Institute of Business Analysis (IIBA) does not yet sponsor a junior version of the CBAP.

2) Can an experienced business analyst pass the CBAP without studying?

No. People have different experiences and even amongst senior business analysts, much experience is gained through trial and error. The IIBA has defined a standard for business analyst practices by collating experiences across all kinds of BAs. It’s highly unlikely that you’ll have the required proficiency across all knowledge areas.

Studying for the CBAP involves aligning your experience as a business analyst with the IIBA’s common understanding of the role.

3) Outside of passing the certification test, what benefits do you gain by studying?

No single business analyst knows everything there is to know about the possibilities of the role. By studying for the CBAP you gain a broader perspective of the profession. Developing a firm foundation behind your BA knowledge gives you the power to take control of business analysis and puts you in a position to structure your BA work in a more productive way.

4) What are the benefits of being a CBAP?

Having a CBAP can get your foot in the door with certain employers for a business analyst job. This tendency is expected to increase over time, especially if the IIBA continues to grow. Having a CBAP will create more interest in you as a professional and is an indicator that you are passionate enough about your profession to dedicate the time and energy toward achieving certification.

Becoming a CBAP can help you gain respect within your current work situation. Linda became known within her company as “Dr. BOK” after passing the CBAP exam and her manager frequently sent people to her to ask their questions about the business analyst fundamentals. She also found that people tended to listen more closely to what she had to say.

5) What steps should a business analyst take to learn more about the CBAP?

  1. Read the Business Analysis Body of Knowledge in a structured way with the objective of learning and assimilating the information about standard BA practices.
  2. Talk to people who are CBAPs. The IIBA has a list of CBAP recipients. Contact a few of them and ask them about how it has benefited them personally and professionally. Everyone has a different experience to share.
  3. Consider taking a few courses to explore the BABOK in more detail or joining a study guide group. Study groups will help you learn from other BA professionals and provide a forum for you to share your experiences.

6) How much does it cost to become a CBAP?

To become a CBAP you need to acquire 21 PDUs (professional development units) and complete a certification test offered by the IIBA. The test costs $525. PDUs can range anywhere from free (with a lot of effort expended to find appropriate training courses) to low-cost (such as Linda’s facilitated eLearning certification prep course for $300-600) to expensive (between $2000-5000 for an in-person course, including travel expenses). Bridging the Gap’s professional development courses are also endorsed for PDs.

>>Learn More About Becoming a CBAP or CCBA

Interested in becoming a CBAP or CCBA? We cover 8 steps to the CBAP certification, that will take you to just learning about the certification to successfully sitting for the exam.

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Comments

  1. Hi Kika,

    I believe your experience would qualify you for the CBAP, as long as you were doing mostly BA activities while you were a business analyst. I don’t believe there are any prerequisites for Linda’s course.

    Laura

  2. I have overall 8 yrs of work experience out of which 6 yrs have been in Business Analysis.

    Am I eligible for this course with 8yrs of total work experience?

  3. Hi Renee,

    Yes, Linda’s course does cover the BABOK. I am not at all an expert on the CBAP, but you should check out Linda’s site and contact her. She would be able to help. http://www.cbapmentor.com

    Laura

  4. Renee Sanford says

    Hi Laura,

    In your article above you mention in your steps to become a CBAP that a person should read the BABOK, and consider taking a few courses to explore the BABOK. Is Linda Ezrah’s eLearning course designed to cover the BABOK? I am very interested in receiving my certification and I still seem to be going in circles on how to get started. Do I need to submit my application now or when I am ready to take the test. Where do I find the criteria for apply to take the certification test/
    thanks

  5. Hi Jake,

    Agreed. I believe Linda’s words were “5 years of experience in the BA knowledge areas”….definitely a different concept of 5 years with a business analyst title. I think it’s important to note that a title alone does not qualify you either.

    Laura

  6. One item to clarify:
    It is five years of business analysis experience. A fine line, but there are many people out there with titles that may not be “business analyst” would have spent 15 years doing business analysis work. THEY SHOULD APPLY!

    – Jake

  7. Hi Renee,

    Thanks for your comment and question. I have not looked into the university programs, but with your experience, I believe the CBAP is the designation you would want to have. The difference is in the experience. I believe the universities offer certifications to entry-level candidates with no experience. The CBAP would be a way to differentiate yourself.

    You can find info on Linda’s eLearning at: http://cbapmentor.com/
    If you decide to study for the CBAP, you can obtain discounted access on the 90-day question bank by using the code “BridgeTheGap”.

    Thanks,
    Laura

  8. Renee Sanford says

    I want to become certified as a BA. I have been in this field for 17 years and feel that I have limited myself for opportunities because I am not certified. I have looked into taking classes at Universities to receive a degree/certificate also. What is your feeling on receiving certification from an accredited university versus the CBAP. Also can you send information regarding Linda’s e-Learning classes.
    thanks

  9. Technically speaking, the book published by IIBA is the BABOK Guide. The Business Analysis Body of Knowledge would be everything known about business analysis and obviously would be impossible to contain in a single volume unless it looked like this: http://www.youmightlikethis.com/2009/06/wikipedia-printed/

  10. Thanks Laura ! I think the characters “BOK” made me thing of a book, leading me to believe there would be 2 books 🙂

  11. I don’t believe so. I checked the IIBA site and they refer to it both ways.

    http://www.theiiba.org/AM/Template.cfm?Section=Body_of_Knowledge&Template=/CM/HTMLDisplay.cfm&ContentID=5293

  12. Laura

    Is there any difference between the actual BABOK and the guide to the BABOK, as the one you mentioned in this post?

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