I receive several emails a week from BAs asking about the differences between B2T Training’s certification and the IIBA or which one to get. The short answer, like most in the business analysis world, is “It depends.” Here are my thoughts to help you  make that decision.

Many training companies and universities offer certificate or certification programs for business analysis. They are primarily a way for the organization to recognize that an individual has completed a course of study. Similar to obtaining a degree in computer science and then completing a certification program in a particular programming language, these are both important, but they offer different levels of recognition. The degree proves that you satisfactorily completed a proven curriculum and demonstrated your knowledge through exams, case studies, and possibly a work-study program. A certification is an independent expert verification of your knowledge and possibly skills related to a narrower subject.

There are currently three types of certification programs in the market place for business analysts: certificate programs, certification programs, and the IIBA certification program. Let’s start with the IIBA certification program. The IIBA is the industry organization that has defined the body of knowledge for the business analysis profession, BABOK. The IIBA’s certification is an exam that measures your knowledge of the BABOK and would be extremely difficult to pass without business analysis experience. In order to sit for the exam, you must have a minimum of 5 years experience.

The other certificate and certification programs are administered by training companies and universities. Most of them are certificate programs that recognize you attended training and may have a small amount of testing related to the topics covered in class. B2T Training’s certification program requires testing of business analysis topics and completion of portions of a requirements package. It is more of a performance-based certification, rather than a certificate of completion.

So which one do you need or which one is going to benefit you the most? It depends on why you want the certification and what you are going to do with it. Proof that you have attended business analysis training and/or have knowledge of the BABOK shows that you are aware of industry terminology and techniques. It will always be considered positively by employers and will make your transition into new environments easier. From an employer’s perspective, evidence that a BA possess not only business analysis knowledge, but the ability to apply that knowledge in a day-to-day, real-world business analysis environment is invaluable. Consider your current situation and where you want to be in three or five years when making this decision. BAs may choose to earn multiple levels of recognition based on their personal needs.

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