Does My Job Title Matter When Applying for the CBAP or CCBA?

Reader’s Question:

“I’m wondering about the CBAP® certification. Is the work experience component to be 7500 hours with the title of “Business Analyst”, or do all activities that a business analyst would perform count towards these hours? For example, if you have been a BA for 2 years (4000 hours), and QA for 3 years (6000 hours) where you’re performing many of the same tasks such as requirements elicitation and documentation, test case writing, test script writing, etc., you would have 10,000 hours that should be applicable; they are just not all under a BA title.”

Linda’s answer:

Based on the definition of a business analyst and because most of us wear so many different hats in projects, it is possible that you’ve performed true business analysis tasks regardless of your title.

The BABOK defines a business analyst as:

any person who performs business analysis activities, no matter what their job title or organizational role may be.

You do not need to have the title of business analyst (BA) to count your business analysis experience towards the CBAP certification. IIBA is more concerned about your role in the project as well as the tasks you’ve performed.

Let’s say you hold the title of QA, and on some projects you spent 30% of your time making sure that requirements link back to test cases and that they also fit in the grand picture of the solution (BABOK Task 4.2: Manage Requirements Traceability) and ensuring that requirements are clearly written and are testable (BABOK Task 6.5: Verify Requirements). Because these two activities align with the BABOK, you will be able to use them towards your application.

So whether you are a PM, QA or Developer, if you perform business analysis activities as defined by the BABOK, you can count this experience towards your certification.

That said, activities pertaining to other disciplines such as test case writing, test script writing, etc. will not count towards your CBAP certification. The key is to align your experience with the BABOK.

>>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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  1. Janice,

    That is a great question. When you freelance, do you provide your services to companies? If so, I would use those companies to input into the project information page.
    If you work for yourself and have a company, use your own company name as the company you worked for.
    If you provide services to individuals and do not own a company, ask those individuals if you can enter either their company names or their own names as the company you worked for. Let me know if this helps.

  2. Hi Linda,

    Hope you can help me.
    I’m applying to the CBAP. I’ve done freelance consulting work and I’m wondering if I can put it as a work experience. In the project information page you are asked to enter the company name you worked for, but in my case there is no company as I was freelance. What can I do?


  3. Michelle Swoboda says

    Linda, thank you very much!!

  4. Michelle Swoboda says

    Hi Aaron, thank you for your great ideas.
    I appreciate all of them. I am working 12 hours a day and then go home to my family. I believe I have to recognize my limitations and wait until work slows down a bit or plan it so when I head into the next contract that I start right away with studying.

  5. Michelle, Linda had some great advice for preparing for the CBAP exam for the extremely busy professional. Some things I can add:
    1) you have to make the time commitment, but only for a short term (2 to 3 months) following that things can go back to “normal”;
    2) get help in the home, if necessary, to take care of the home and family in that short-term to give you time for your studies. Ask your significant other to take on some of your responsibilities so you can obtain this certification. You may find it necessary to get additional help (housekeeper, nanny or other family member) in the home to free you up for your studies.
    3) remember to reward those that helped you obtain your certification (once obtained). A nice dinner out for that significant other or family member is a nice reward.

    • Great advice Aaron!!!

      Asking for help is very important. This could also mean delegating your tasks at work to someone else to free up time. By delegating, it is possible to carve out one to two extra hours per day for studying.

  6. Linda, you are absolutely correct, all BA tasks performed count toward the 7,500 hour requirement regardless of your job title. I earned my CBAP in 2008 and still today have never held the title Business Analyst. A great deal of my experience came when my title was Programmer/Analyst, but I was actually performing Team Lead duties, where most of the tasks I performed were business analysis or project management.

    One thing I would like to mention in the reader’s question in where they stated they would have 10,000 hours combining their BA and QA experience. You would actually have less than 10,000 hours, but could quite possibly have more than the 7,500 hour requirement to qualify for the CBAP because as a QA specialist some of the tasks you perform are not in alignment with the BABOK. Even in your BA experience, possibly all of that experience may not qualify, as many BA’s actually perform in a “hybrid” roll. So count your hours of performing BA tasks as defined in the BABOK.

  7. Hey Michelle,

    You are right, any work in alignment with the BABOK would definitely count!
    In terms of studying for busy professionals, the key is commitment. I could tell you to create a schedule or carve time or study on the weekend, but this effort would be in vain if you are not committed.
    How do you stay committed when work, family and everything else seems to take priority in your life?
    First of all, you will need to re-prioritize things in your life a bit. Bump up the priority of your studies and find a strong motive or reason for getting the certification.
    Then you have to be strong and say “NO” to any additional “stuff” that will come your way. If you are like me, it’s inevitable, there is always “something” important that comes up.
    Once you are ready to be committed, then carve sometime; 1 hour everyday for 8 to 10 weeks would allow you to go through the BABOK and prepare for the CBAP

  8. Michelle Swoboda says

    Linda, this is great information. I think any experience in working on a project where you were implementing a process change/staff change would count as experience.
    I have a question for you. For someone who works over 200+ hours each month – how do we study and pass the CBAP exam?

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