Chicken or Egg: Certification or Experience, the never ending dilemma

May 20, 2018
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"I want to pursue a career in the Business Analysis field. I am very excited about it, and keen to pursue further. But, I am in a different role and I don’t have prior experience in BA field. How do I switch over to BA role? All the BA jobs require prior experience. How do I make the transition? Will any certification help me for the transition? How do I solve this? All the certifications have prior experience eligibility criteria. I am in a fix–what should I do to make my dream true? Can anyone help?”

Does this sound like you?



Being in the industry for so many years, I come across this issue very often.

Business Analysis has been an upcoming promising field and has gained high popularity owing to its techno functional nature, where functional/domain knowledge plays a large amount of role and a high level knowledge of technology is a great booster to the skills.

But lot of times people come across this problem stated above in order to get into the BA field even though they may have good amount of industry experience and knowledge.

They do not have the relevant experience in the BA Domain to take up CCBA/CBAP Certification by IIBA while they want to move to a BA career and get certified in BA domain.

A couple of suggestions/points to follow if you are also in this situation:

 

1. IIBA has now come up with ECBA, a beautiful certification scheme spotting the need of the hour and catering to the aspirations for many.

  • ECBA as some of you may know stands for Entry Certificate in Business Analysis , and as the name suggests caters to those professionals who would be making an entry or begin their career in BA domain.
  • It could also mean changing domain from a different field to the BA field. The good part is it doesn’t require any experience in BA domain to take this certification, and focuses on those knowledge areas of Business Analysis domain which are going to be of use for the beginners like Requirements Analysis, Requirements Life Cycle Management, Elicitation and Collaboration.
  • ECBA certification from IIBA is recommended for aspiring and new Business analysts. This not only gives you a rock solid foundation for getting into the BA profession also helps you with a global certification. ECBA has the backing of market recognition of IIBA hence the job opportunities it would bring in due to acceptance in the corporate segment. ECBA is framed rightly to suit the needs of an entry level Business analyst focusing on requirements analysis, modeling and requirements life cycle management with good amount of emphasis on modeling concepts and tools. 
  • We have helped 100+ professionals in getting ECBA certified and giving better prospects to their career. 

 

2. Take up CPRE FL certification from IREB. 

Foundation level comprises basic knowledge of eliciting, analyzing, specifying, documenting, validating and managing requirements.
A person with a CPRE FL certificate:

  • Is familiar with the terminology of requirements engineering/business analysis and requirements management.
  • Understands the basic techniques and methods of requirements engineering and their application.
  • Is familiar with the most established notations for requirements.
  • Icing on the cake is CPRE-FL certification does not have any eligibility criteria in terms of experience hence you can go for the certification in the beginning of your career as well.
  • IREB is gaining popularity in a very fast pace globally among the BA community. As of beginning 2018 , there are 37,000+ IREB certified professionals globally.

 

3. If you are keen on getting certified from IIBA then consider taking a BA training session and acquiring the IIBA prescribed BA skills.

Post training you can go in for a full-fledged BA career using your background, domain and experience. Once you acquire the required 2.5 Years of relevant BA experience you can comfortably go for CCBA certification. Please weigh these options looking at all pros and cons and then take an appropriate decision on the same.

Another frequent question that I come across:

“I am a testing/QA professional and doing some part of BA work, I would like to move into a full-fledged Business analysis career, can you help me with this?”

“I am a software developer but not keen on continuing further. I don’t like coding going further, doesn’t seem exciting to me I am inclined to a Business Analysis career. I am very excited about it, and keen to pursue further. Can you help me on how to make a transition to BA career, how can I get into a BA role."

Some amount of career development planning makes the transition smooth from QA or developer or any other domain to a Business Analyst role:

  1. Get involved in the requirements gathering process proactively
  2. Take proactive measures to talk to stakeholders/users
  3. Show interest, gather knowledge and be proactive to be part of the requirements gathering and documentation process
  4. Learn the modeling tools (diagramming tools) and Requirement management tools
  5. Try to learn the business terms, business process, look for any business (domain) terms repository available in your project or with client/on the web
  6. Try to understand the existing system and the new proposed system, overall objective of the project and the big picture
  7. Learn industry or domain process framework/best practices using APQC Framework
  8. Take lead in any defect resolution/analysis with users during the deployment process.
  9. Get involved in the user /implementation training 
  10. Most important start thinking more like a business user (business mode of thinking) and stop thinking like a developer or a tester(solution mode of thinking)
  11. Take lead/active part in any process/requirement changes in the project/account. 
  12. Follow some great leaders in the industry that you are in.
  13. Join Professional groups on Business Analysis and try to follow the discussions, Participate in forums and conferences which can help you enhance your career in the new field
  14. Keep pursuing your goal and be focused on your goal/objective
  15. Be open to learning and make learning your objective for everyday

With all these steps I definitely can assure you that you will see yourself in a promising and bright career.

All the best on your career, don’t forget to share your success story to me and with others in the network. 

Always remember to extend help to someone who is in need of some career guidance and help.


References:


Author: Ananya Pani, Co-Founder, Adapative US 

My mission is to help business analysts to build a successful professional career. I have helped 2000+ BAs in choosing a better career and help them achieve professional success.

I co-founded Adaptive US, #1 IIBA V3 training organization.  I am also a strong supporter of encouraging women workforce in technology and has helped many women to come back to work after long career breaks.

If you like my posts please like/share/comment and spread the word in your network. Would love to connect with fellow professionals. You can also reach me at Ann@AdaptiveUS.com

About my organization, Adaptive US: We provide training, study guides, question banks, necessary PDUs for ECBA, CCBA, CBAP certifications.  For more details, please visit www.AdaptiveUS.com
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May 20, 2018
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COMMENTS

Petera01 posted on Tuesday, May 22, 2018 5:39 AM
Good article, very informative. It surprises me just how much formal training is being made available to train for this profession these days. In a few months time I will have been a BA for 20 years. It was easier back then, as it was a relatively new and unknown role and as a graduate, funnily enough I'd did an hons degree which was largely based around business analysis, blending project management/ business analysis, with BA work experience through the course content and during the long summer breaks. Why you cannot do a degree like this anymore, I do not know. Anyway, from a summer work placement I was offered a job and when I turned up they said which do want to be a BA in this dept or some technical role in another. I just chose the BA role, without knowing what it, I am not technically inclined so the other was a non starter.

Throughout my career what I think is most important for a BA, other than formal training. Is that you must be of the correct personality type and that attributes I would include in this are; quick learner, natural intelligence, curiosity, confidence/ self belief, more extrovert in approach but still having lots of empathy, patience and understanding of people, ability to handle conflict and not let it worry you, having a bit of technical understanding and being logical, oppositely having commercial accumen, doing whats right, quickly and making it work. Being able to remember lots of things and the ability to recall these and communicate them verbally and in written form or pictorially. Understanding scope, audience and project management principles and issues within a project. Being able to build and write meaningful and readable specifications and other reports. You can learn methods, requirements management and process modelling principles from courses, just build on them in work situations where you can. Getting to apply formal techniques can sometimes be difficult; depends alot on the project, pm, organisation, skills in the team, management approach lots of things.

I personally do not find this an easy career and I have at times struggled. I have worked with a handful of exceptional BA's, people born to the role and that has been a joy and a pleasure to experience. But I have also worked on projects where the role struggles to emerge and add value. Since 2011 I have seen the amount of job advertisements explode and I remember being on a course and told once that this would happen following the end of the recession. I think there is a place for good business analysis but its not the holy grail to successful project outcomes. It is a good career choice, but in my view its more important about the type of person you are your qualifications or experience. The latter both help, they have certainly helped me forge a career. But great BA's already exist they are not just made by time at work and a college course.

I appreciate peoples struggles to enter the career and it must be very frustrating to break through. All you can do is try find to an entry point by persistence. If your meant to do this job, you'll get in to it. Good luck
Klwate posted on Tuesday, May 29, 2018 8:36 AM
Hi Ananya,

It is an interesting article. My situation is other way around. I have 2.5 years BA experience and had to get a job in the call centre industry due to restructuring in the previous company.

I find it hard to get back into the BA role even though I am a certified greenbelt in six sigma but no BA Certification.

How do I get back in into the game?
AnnP posted on Tuesday, May 29, 2018 1:45 PM
Hello Klwate
You have been part of the BA job already so try to look for opportunities to apply your BA skills, like internal process improvement opportunities.

If there is any transitioning or improvement project take proactive measures to be a BA/lead of the project.

With your BA and six sigma background, this is not difficult to spot or take up.

This way there is a potential for you to go back to BA job in the current role,

If not that create process documentation for your call center team, try to put the process in visual map format.
Try to see where most agents are failing, how can you improve on that, how does the process get more efficient, try to reduce waste from the process.

All these proactive efforts will definitely open new doors for you.

Thanks
Ananya
GJ71 posted on Friday, July 6, 2018 12:21 PM
I found Petera01 post interesting and also an accurate assessment. I am also a Business Analyst with precisely 20 years in the field. when I was a Jr. Analyst, I was mentored by several Sr. Analysts and a few told me that the best experience is to take on as many contract assignments as possible to obtain experience via a variety of work cultures, projects and business scenarios; which turned out to be very good advice. Interestingly, the IT market shifted around the time I went the route of contracting, contract BA roles became the norm in the industry; still holds true today, 80-90% of BA jobs are contractual. Happy and blessed to still be doing this twenty years after I began this career.
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