I’ve been contemplating obtaining my CBAP (Certified Business Analysis Professional) certification from the International Institute of Business Analysis (IIBA) for a while and finally decided to start my journey a few months ago. I quickly realized that there’s a lot to just getting the application filled out and approved. So, I thought I’d share the top 5 tips I’ve found helpful along the way.
1. Begin With the End in Mind
- Treat it like a project. Create a plan where your first milestone is getting your application approved!
- Download and review the CBAP / CCBA Handbook so you know what to expect of the process to become certified.
- Review section 5.0 CBAP Certification Requirements in the handbook to ensure you meet the minimum requirements before getting started.
- Start your online application.
- Complete the Personal Information and Education sections. These are easy to complete and you’ll quickly have two sections out of the way!
- The 21 hours of Professional Development must be completed prior to submitting the application. If you’ve already obtain your PDUs then complete the Professional Development section. If not, you’ll need to plan on how to obtain the required hours.
- The online application times out after one hour, so save often! I haven’t experienced this, and hope you don’t either.
2. Identify and Contact Your References Early
- You will need two references from a career manager, client or CBAP recipient. The IIBA contacts your references and asks them to complete an online form. Your references must complete the online form in order for you to submit your application. It’s your responsibility to ensure your references complete the form, the IIBA will notify you when they have.
- As with any reference, contact them prior to supplying their information to the IIBA.
3. Skim the BABOK Before Completing the Work Experience Section
- This is essential to understanding the knowledge areas so you place your work experience in the right areas on the application.
- You can obtain a copy of the BABOK on the IIBA website. If you are NOT an IIBA member, a PDF copy costs $29.95.
4. Only Report BA Hours and Select BA Tasks on Your Application (This One is Huge!)
- The application has activities/tasks that do not qualify toward the work experience requirements and if selected, hours will be deducted and you may come up short.
- Carefully review section 5.1 Work Experience Requirement from the CBAP/CCBA Handbook. It lists the acceptable activities that will count toward your BA experience, but more importantly, what actives are NOT acceptable. It also describes the process used to deduct hours from your application.
- I also learned from a CBAP recipient that there are actually more tasks on the application that DO NOT qualify than what is identified in the CBAP/CCBA Handbook. So review the tasks carefully in each work experience section before selecting them.
5. Document Work Experience
- Use a tool to document your work experience prior to filling it out in the online application. I am using Watermark Learning’s CBAP-Project-Hours spreadsheet to document my work experience. An added benefit is that it only includes the activities that qualify towards the work experience.
- It’s ok to combine several small projects from a year into one project. Just indicate this on the application in the Description.
- It’s ok to approximate dates and hours.
- If you don’t have project records with the exact hours, use work hours for the year, less any admin time to approximate your hours.
Now submit your application, pay the fee and wait for your approval!