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CBAP stands for Certified Business Analysis Professional. This is a Level 3 certification by the International Institute of Business Analysis or IIBA. The main goal of this certification is to recognize seasoned business analysis professionals who have at least five years of experience in the industry.

Are you interested in getting certified, but not sure where to begin? This article will give you an idea of where to go in terms of CBAP.

Professionals with the CBAP Certification Do Well in the Job Market

Professionals with a CBAP certification often find they are higher in demand in the job market. Moreover, they are more respected and they have a bigger voice in the industry. Obtaining this certification brings more value to your position, as well as to the industry you’re in.

For many business analysts, or BAs, earning a CBAP means that some can move on to better-paying jobs. Others become mentors, and some open their own consultancies. Whatever your goal may be, getting the right credentials from the world’s leading institute, the IIBA, is essential.

There Is No One True Way

There’s no hard and fast rule to follow when it comes to getting certified. The path you ultimately take depends on the amount you have to invest in learning and developing your skills. Plus you need to take into account your own career timeline, your budget, and the various phases of preparation that you’ll need to go through to pass the certification.

Not only that, the requirements and credentials you have at the moment will also be a big deciding factor to see if you’re eligible in sitting for the CBAP certification. Going through a boot camp type of class that some analysts take on means that this can happen within a week or two. However, for some, the process is spread out over their years of working, as individuals use their CBAP preparation time to become better business analysts.

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If you’re interested in getting certified, here’s a general guideline of the path you need to take:

Step 1: Validate Your Business Analysis Experience

To apply for a CBAP, you must meet the requirements of a minimum of five years of work experience as a business analyst, or 7,500 hours. You also need to demonstrate at least 900 hours of experience in four to six 6 assessment areas.

If you’re entering the field of business analysis and your aim is to get certified, then you need to ensure that your current and future roles include the responsibilities related to the assessment. Some BA professionals work for a few years, aiming to take the exam.

Then they find out their experiences include a mix of non-BA-related responsibilities. In other words, some have held the role of BA for plenty of years, but they learn they haven’t accumulated the right experience.

Therefore, to kick start the process of earning your CBAP, comb through your experiences. Identify these elements with the professional body of knowledge. Recount all your projects and document your work history. You’ll also become more self-aware as a BA professional.

Plus, documenting these experiences is a journey in itself. You might find that you do have a strong need and desire to get certified. However, for some, it could be a realization that they should venture into a new field of business.

Consider Other Certifications

If you find you lack the requirements, you may want to consider other certifications from the IIBA. These are:

  • IIBA® Certification of Competency in Business Analysis
  • (CCBA®) (Level 2 certification)
  • Entry Level Certificate in Business Analysis
  • (ECBA™) (Level 1 Certificate).
  • Professional in Business Analysis (PMI-PBA) certification offered by the Project Management Institute (PMI)

Step 2: Achieve the Right Number of Professional Development Hours (PDs).

You must obtain at least 35 documented professional development hours to submit your CBAP application. Plenty of CBAP certification training courses, conferences, and workshops qualify as credits in professional development. You can take these either as online or offline courses, workshops, sessions, and such. Just make sure they qualify for CDUs or PDs.

Step 3:  Prepare and Submit Your CBAP Application

Once you have the minimum requirements, the hours, the years of experience, and all of those essentials, it’s time to submit your application to the IIBA. You will find an entire page dedicated to the CBAP® certification process on the IIBA site.

You’ll need to submit your application to the IIBA online. Then it will immediately be assessed. Once your online application shows that you’ve met all the requirements, you can then submit your application.

After that, you’ll receive an email stating whether your application has been approved or if it’s pending an audit. The email you receive will also contain information regarding exam fees.

Apart from professional development hours, as well as the required work experience, a potential candidate must also meet the minimum required education levels.

To this end, the IIBA has outlined precise rules to ensure the quality of the exams and certification meet the industry’s needs and demands. For the CBAP certification, you’d need to have a high school diploma or its equivalent.

Step 4:  Familiarize Yourself with the BABOK Guide

The BABOK guide is like the Bible for business analysts. When you’re a CBAP-certified analyst, this means you’re considered a senior professional. This term is defined in the IIBA’s outline in A Guide to the Business Analysis Body of Knowledge® (BABOK® Guide).

Part of your CBAP preparation involves understanding the contents of the BABOK Guide. Additionally, passing the exam includes demonstrating your understanding and knowledge of these guidelines, as well as the professional application of the materials in real-world scenarios.

What Is the BABOK Guide?

The BABOK Guide is a dense text that outlines a business analyst’s knowledge area, techniques, and framework, as well as the commonly used terminology. Some of these knowledge areas are:

  • Business Analysis Planning and Monitoring
  • Elicitation and Collaboration
  • Requirements Life Cycle Management
  • Strategy Analysis
  • Requirements Analysis and Design Definition
  • Solution Evaluation

You’d likely need to go through several readings to fully comprehend the information contained within the guide. However, another good way to master the information is to take part in study groups.

Therefore, find a study group that focuses on the reading and discussion of the BABOK Guide contents. You can also join groups that focus solely on exam preparation. These study groups are often hosted by BAs on their way to get certified. Other groups might be hosted by already-certified BAs wishing to share their knowledge and expertise, an employer, and even an IIBA chapter.

Exam simulations, mock tests, and practice sessions are also ideal ways to test your knowledge and know where your strengths and weaknesses are. The CBAP exam simulators are, to many CBAP candidates, a critical element in their preparations.

Step 5: Familiarize Yourself with the FAQ Section

Go through the FAQ section of the IIBA website to find out all you can about the CBAP certification. For example, you can learn about testing centers, fees, how to register, and so on.

This is a valuable resource for you. Here, you can learn about all the necessary preparation and understand your role in the exam. You can also find out what to do and who to contact in the event there are some issues concerning your application. Also, you can learn if your exam is online or at a physical space, and even find your testing center.

Step 6: Schedule and Pass Your CBAP Exam

Once your application has been assessed and approved, it’s time to schedule your exam.

Depending on your timeline, your availability, and convenience, you might want to schedule an exam at least two to three months out. You can always reschedule the exam. If you don’t pass on your first attempt, you can schedule to take it again, as long as it’s within one year of your application approval validity.

Keep in mind that scheduling an exam at your earliest convenience helps to keep you motivated.

Prepare for your exam, sit for it, and give it your best. You’ll get to know your exam results immediately the moment you submit your exam. Within two business days, you’ll also receive an email confirmation with your exam results from IIBA.

Final Thoughts

For fresh graduates entering the field of business analysis, or even mid-level professionals, knowing the kind of job scope you are responsible for and the experiences you’ve obtained is essential in taking your career to the next level through CBAP certification.

The first requirement is relevant work experience. If you haven’t met this milestone, then you can’t take the CBAP. However, there are other certifications you can take first before the CBAP.

But if certification is your goal, make sure that whatever job you take on, as well as the projects you do, all meet the criteria for the application process.