Top 10 CBAP Certification Myths

Top 10 CBAP Certification Myths

CBAP certification is undoubtedly the most coveted designation globally among Business analysts.

Even though work experience is a prerequisite while applying for CBAP®, the examination requires an excellent practical knowledge of BA concepts and the ability to relate BABOK® knowledge to practical scenarios.

During interactions with CBAP® aspirants, many myths and misconceptions have been encountered. The top 10 CBAP certification myths and misconceptions are –

  1. ‘I can’t appear for CBAP® as I had a career break’

This is far from the truth. For CBAP® examination, career breaks do not matter. The requirement is to have 7500 hours of BA experience in the last 10 years. As long as the IIBA® eligibility criteria are met, a career break is not an hinderance to appear for the exam.

  1. ‘I need my official designation as business analyst to prepare for CBAP®

One of the most common CBAP Certification myths – “My designation is not that of a BA, can I still pursue CBAP?”

According to IIBA® requirements, it is essential to have requisite BA experience, designation is not as important. As long as the work experience deals with tasks mentioned in BABoK® (primarily related to requirements engineering, requirements management, requirements analysis and strategy analysis), the eligibility criteria for CBAP® exam is met.

  1. ‘I need to by-heart BABoK®

This is an interesting myth. Unfortunately, some training organizations promote this kind of mindset. There is NO need to by heart BABoK®. It is important to understand the concepts in BABoK®, a general flow for business analysis work, techniques and how the techniques relate to work, and application of BABoK® concepts to a business analysis situation.

So, cheer up – no more frightening thoughts of by hearting BABoK®.

  1. I will lose money if my application is not approved’

The application will not be processed until it is completely acceptable to IIBA®. Unless all the required details are provided, the application will not go through to the fees payment stage. So, there is no way that one would lose money while applying for the exam.

  1. ‘I can’t appear for CBAP as currently I am unemployed’

Another common CBAP® certification myth is that one should be employed to apply for CBAP® exam. There is no such requirement from IIBA®. In fact, getting certified, when unemployed or on a break, can actually help in getting a job with a BA role.

  1. ‘I need my employer’s experience letter to take up CBAP®

IIBA® has no such requirement that one has to produce an experience letter from their employer. What is needed is that past project managers/clients should calibrate and serve as a reference for one’s BA experience.

  1. ‘I need to complete lower level certifications to go for CBAP®

Becoming ECBATM and CCBA® certified is not mandatory for CBAP®. One can directly take the CBAP® certification exam, as long as they meet the requirement criteria of IIBA®.

  1. ‘CBAP is a cakewalk examination as I have 15+ years’ experience as BA’

This is quite a contrary situation, where the candidates have 15+ years of BA experience. They feel they can pass CBAP® easily, owing to their vast experience. A good knowledge of BABoK® and the exam pattern is highly essential for CBAP®, and not the level of experience.

  1. ‘Technical software knowledge is a pre-requisite to go through CBAP®

The only area where one would encounter software knowledge in BABoK® is in RAD KA. Software modeling concepts can be learnt easily if one spends about 20 hours of effort.

  1. ‘Finally, the greatest CBAP certification myth- CBAP is useless and only real BA knowledge counts’

This is indeed true for people who have no further career ambitions, are happy with their current employer and do not value personal branding. For such people, there is no need to spend time and effort in pursuing CBAP®.

CBAP® certification adds significant value to BA knowledge and career prospects.

Some of the common questions that I have encountered and my take on them are:

  • As a business analyst, what do you think about the CBAP certificate? Is it a waste of time?’

Being a CBAP myself and having been a BA trainer for over a decade now, I believe I can share my 2 cents about the importance of CBAP certification.

There has been a gradual change in the trends of recruiting business analysts globally. Honestly, getting certified wasn’t a big deal 4–5 years ago, but today, it carries good weightage, especially for experienced working professionals, looking to switch to BA. For someone who was previously working in IT, the technical software knowledge would definitely come in handy. The average salary of CBAP’s is in the range of $90–92 thousand and IIBA asserts that certified CBAP’s earn around 10% more than non-certified Business Analysts.

  • How do I prepare and enroll for CBAP certification?

With the decision to pursue CBAP certification taken, the first step is to check the eligibility criteria required by IIBA. Next step, before registering for the exam, is to undergo training from an established BA trainer.

Without training, clearing the exam in the first attempt would be a horrendous task. Its proven that, 30 hours of BA coaching is equivalent to150 hours of self-learning, when it comes to decoding BABoK, the prescribed book for BA certification exams.

Moreover, BA coaching under an EEP (Endorsed Education Provider) gives the required PDU’s needed to meet the criteria of various certifications.

  • Which is the best business analyst certification, PMI-PBA or CBAP?

In terms of popularity and acceptance, certainly CBAP.

CBAP certification from IIBA is hugely popular among corporates and individuals across the globe, whereas, PMI-PBA has following in USA owing to the fact that it comes from PMI.

PMI has the largest no. of certification holders for its most popular certification PMP. PMI gives lot of credit and benefits to PMP holders.

Still, CBAP is a better choice while considering both as alternatives.

For a detailed comparison between PMI PBA and CBAP click here.

This article compares both the certifications and give a beautiful perspective.

  • How many hours of study is required for clearing CBAP?

About 100/120 hours of BABoK V3 study is good enough for preparation.

  • Is it worth taking an IIBA membership?

For someone serious about BA as a career, definitely yes.

It has lot of articles, white papers, materials, webinars for members only.

For someone looking at the position of Product Head, Business Unit Head or a Domain Expert, 10 years down the line, the learning from these resources is invaluable.

  • How will IIBA verify if I really worked for 7500 hours for taking the CBAP certification?

It is through the project details provided and references provided.

IIBA reserves the right to audit applications.

Any discrepancies found can result in getting barred from appearing for the exam or even revocation of the certificate later.

  • Which course is more suitable for a person with 8 years of sales and business development experience – CBAP or PMP?

For a person with 8 years sales & development experience, it’s surely CBAP over PMP.

PMP is a project management certification offered by the very popular PMI, whereas CBAP, offered by IIBA, is for professionals having years of BA experience, and who are experts in identifying the business needs of an organization.

Coming back to the question, it’s very difficult to make a distinction between CBAP & PMP when it boils down to professional merits. Wouldn’t it be a plus point if a Project Manager could help in gathering system requirements or other way round if a business analyst could chip in man-managing the members of the project team?

On the whole, the CBAP certification is more holistic in approach compared to PMP which arguably is restricted to project management.

And having spent many years in business development, the CBAP certification would be a better bet than PMP, where there is a high chance of becoming a Business Consultant in future.

  • Is the CBAP certification useful for business analysts working in Agile methodology?

The new curriculum of BABoK V3 includes a major component of agile methodology.

BABoK is a good framework for all types of Business Analysts, as it covers all aspects of Business analysis, from Planning to solution evaluation and strategy analysis.

Hence, it’s always worth taking up certifications like CBAP for professional growth and compensation improvement.

  • What is the complexity of CBAP certification?

It is reasonably complex.

Mostly the answers are close, confusing and completely aligned to BABoK.

For the benefits of BA certification, please visit FAQ’s about CBAP certification.

See the salary benefits of having CBAP here.

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