I am reading an interesting book on certifications: Performance-Based Cerfication by Judith Hale. The first chapter has a great discussion about Why Organizations Certify and it is one that I think managers of BAs should consider.
Many professions and roles within the IT industry have developed certification programs and getting “certified” has become a hiring criteria for many positions. Business Analysis certification has been needed by many organizations and managers which have not had a method of evaluating BAs and the quality of their knowledge and skills. Now that the industry is developing standards and certification programs are available, should you encourage your BAs to work towards certification? Certification takes time and money. Managers should be sure of their reasons for or against certifcation.
One reason to support and encourage certification is to recruit and retain high quality staff. Professionals want to work for organizations that support professional development. If your BAs are working towards certification, hiring new BAs will be easier because candidates will see your committment to the profession. BAs are more likely to stay with their current employer when they feel their work is being recognized.
Another important value of certification is the establishment of consistent best practices and use of industry standards. Having your BAs all certify means that they have a common understanding of the knowledge and skills of the profession and that they use a common language when planning their work. This consistency of process supports initiatives like CMMI.
A third advantage of certication is to raise the core competencies of individuals in your organization. Even if only a few of your BAs have enough experience to certify today, setting certification as a long term goal for all BAs encourages them to build their skill set and work towards higher performance standards.
We are seeing many BAs work towards certification on an individual basis because they see potential value for their personal career development. BA managers should also consider the value of supporting BA certification.