Business analysts need to look beyond books and certifications

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Business Analyst is our new corporate colleague who is helping organizations in three unique ways that no one else is capable of doing. She is
(1) helping organizations to visualize a to-be-solution without actually building the solution
(2) achieving that objective at a minimal cost and
(3) providing a road-map to the project manager.

Information technology is the first industry that introduced business analysis position at a large scale to bridge the gap between the business owners and the developers in multi-million dollar projects. But subsequently, after witnessing the contribution of business analysts, other industries followed suit. Today business analysts are very common in industries such as Banking, Finance, Insurance, Healthcare, Hospitality, Automotive, Aviation, Supply Chain, Retail etc.

Till today, there are no graduate or post-graduate business analysis programs offered in universities (except a few in North-America). On the other hand, companies in various industries have a huge demand for trained business analysts. In the absence of trained manpower, the best bet for these companies is to go for candidates who have decent business knowledge with analytical and communication skills.

Though the academic system is not very responsive to this industry need, few not-for-profit associations came up to provide a structure to this emerging profession. The pioneer among them is International Institute of Business Analysis (IIBA), Canada established in the year 2003. IIBA through its Business Analysis Body of Knowledge (BABOK) first gave a framework to this profession. It conducts examinations such as CCBA and CBAP to certify professionals in business analysis.

Business Analysis Body of Knowledge Version 2.0 consists of nine chapters. I would group them into two categories. One is foundation chapters and the other is knowledge areas. The foundation chapters are Introduction, Underlying Competencies and Techniques. The knowledge areas are Business Analysis Planning & Monitoring, Elicitation, Enterprise Analysis, Requirements Analysis, Requirements Management & Communication and Solution Assessment & Validation. By mastering these nine chapters one can claim that he or she has a thorough understanding of business analysis framework and can effectively perform the business analysis role to a perfection.

Till 2009, academic credential or certification was not a necessary one to become a successful business analyst. But subsequently with the popularity of CCBA and CBAP certifications, the depth of knowledge and value exhibited by those certified, companies started looking for candidates with these certifications. This trend is increasing year-after-year as we started seeing more and more companies are asking for CBAP certifications in their job descriptions.

Why to go for Certification?
1. Certification gives a framework of knowledge to the business analyst and adds an academic credential that provides immense confidence while performing business analysis.
2. Certification demonstrates that the individual has undergone a rigorous assessment and acts as a benchmark in recruitment and client relationship.
3. It connects the certified to a worldwide community to keep abreast with the latest trends in the profession.