Business analytics certifications become more and more valuable to hold, as technology continues to make its way into businesses. These certifications demonstrate an individual’s ability to effectively collect, analyze, and report on an organization’s data, identifying errors, and determining shortcomings and trends in order to make the most out of the information.
Business analysts report and present these findings to important managers, leaders, and executives within the business and help propel the enterprise successfully into the increasingly digital future. As such, this IT position offers comfortable salaries and job security.
As a way to build skills and demonstrate credibility, many analysts attain industry-recognized certifications, an investment which distinguishes them from application pools and can earn them higher wages.
Top Business Analytics Certifications
The most recognized and credible certifications which will be covered in this article include:
- Certified Analytics Professional (CAP)
- IIBA Business Analysis Certificate (ABAC)
- IIBA Entry Certificate in Business Analysis (ECBA)
- IIBA Certification of Competency in Business Analysis (CCBA)
- IIBA Certified Business Analysis Professional (CBAP)
- IIBA Agile Analysis Certification (AAC)
- IIBA Certification in Business Data Analytics (CBDA)
- IQBBA Certified Foundation Level Business Analyst (CFLBA)
- IQBBA Certified Advanced Level Business Analyst (CALBA)
- PMI Professional in Business Analysis (PBA)
So, you must have noticed that most of these certification have the initials IIBA, IQBBA or PMI, which respectively stand for International Institute of Business Analytics, International Qualification Board for Business Analysts, and Project Management Institute. Let’s see what role do they play in this field:
International Institute of Business Analysis (IIBA) Certifications
This institute is a widely known and accredited agile non-profit organization which follows the Business Analysis Body of Knowledge standard, defining the key areas that analysts should focus on and study.
As such, they provide a number of different certifications for current or aspiring business analysts to pursue. Their annual BA salary surveys found that those with at least one of their certifications earned 11% more than non-certified individuals.
Their top five participating countries are Canada, the United States, the United Kingdom, India, and Australia. Among those, the average salary for certified individuals globally is about US$73,000. To find out more about this institute, please visit their official website.
International Qualification Board for Business Analysts (IQBBA)
This international and independent body for business analysis also offers a few credible and valuable certifications for business analysts. To learn more about their certifications and to get started, visit their official website.
Project Management Institute (PMI)
This institute’s focus is to teach and maintain the highest standards of project management practices, and currently offers one business analysis credential.
So, without further ado, here’s everything you need to know about the top 10 business analytics certifications mentioned above:
Certified Analytics Professional (CAP)
Those who meet this credential’s high standards are able to prove themselves as valuable assets to businesses, with the ability to transform their data into useful insights, charts, and advice.
This certification is one of the world’s most sought-after IT credentials for business analysts (as well as data analysts) and is highly renowned, so obtaining this certification certainly sets individuals apart from pools of applicants during the hiring process, enables employed analysts to receive salary increases, and overall improves one’s knowledge within to field to produce higher results.
Those who wish to invest in this certification are typically in their mid-career, either with a bachelor’s degree and five years of analytic experience or a master’s degree and three years of analytic experience.
For members, the base price for this certification is US$495 and non-members pay US$695. The certification needs to be re-certified every three years in order to prove your up-to-date knowledge. To learn more about this credential, please visit Certified Analytics Professional.
IIBA Academic Business Analysis Certificate (ABAC)
This is a basic, entry-level certification that is available at accredited colleges and universities. Individuals are taught analysis fundamentals and techniques through typical classroom teaching styles in a hands-on and instructor-led curriculum.
Mainly, this certification is useful to prepare for more advanced IIBA certifications.
IIBA Entry Certificate in Business Analysis (ECBA)
Another foundational business analysis certification is the more popular ECBA. This credential covers all the core knowledge and competencies for an analysis position. In order to pass, individuals must have at least twenty-one hours of professional development within the last four years, which are logged and tracked through an IIBA account.
The exam lasts one hour and consists entirely of fifty multiple choice questions. This credential has an application fee of $60, with the exam costing $235 but only $110 for members.
Those who wish to retake the exam will be charged $89 and $195 respectively. This certification is not up for renewal, but it is expected that candidates will advance their knowledge by completing the higher credentials.
To get started or to learn more about this certification please read the ECBA page on the official website.
IIBA Certification of Competency in Business Analysis (CCBA)
This credential certifies that candidates can effectively apply business analysis techniques to real-life scenarios. Business analysis practitioners with two to three years of experience typically earn this certification to prove their ability to take on larger and more complex projects within their corporations.
To be eligible for this credential, candidates must complete a minimum of 3,750 hours of work experience within Business Analysis in the last seven years. Within those hours, at least 900 must be completed in each of two of the six BABOK Guide Knowledge Areas or complete at least 500 hours in each of four of the six BABOK Guide Knowledge Areas.
Candidates must also complete at least twenty-one hours of Professional Development within the time-span of four years and provide two professional references.
To apply, applicants must pay a fee of $125, and complete 130 multiple choice questions within three hours in the exam. The exam fee is $325 for members and $450 for non-members.
To retake a failed exam, the cost decreases to $250 for members and $375 for non-members. This certification must be re-certified after three years. The renewal fees are $85 for members and $120 for non-members. To get started or learn more, visit the CCBA page on the IIBA website.
IIBA Certified Business Analysis Professional (CBAP)
This certification demonstrates an experienced individual’s business analysis skills and capabilities. It is ideal for those who have significant experience, hold the CCBA designation, are managers within their business, and train staff.
It is the highest competency-based certification that analysts can earn from IIBA, and as such, those who hold this credential are the leading members of the BA community.
In order to be eligible, candidates must have at least 7,500 hours of experience with business analysis within the last ten years, 900 of which must be completed in four of the six BABOK Guide Knowledge Areas.
Applicants are also required to complete at least thirty-five hours of Professional Development in a four-year time-span and provide two professional references.
The exam is held for a time period of three and a half hours, in which candidates must answer 120 multiple-choice question. The cost to apply, take the exam, retake the exam, and renew certifications are the same as the CCBA. To learn more, visit the CBAP page.
IIBA Agile Analysis Certification (AAC)
The Agile project framework has been rising in importance over the last few years, becoming widely adopted by many businesses. Further, the AAC certification proves an analyst’s ability and knowledge in Agile methods and skills, which is highly sought after due to its rapidly changing and adapting nature.
This is a standalone certification which was recently made available by IIBA, and their Salary Survey reports that almost ¾ of business analysts use and practice agile approaches regularly but those who are certified earn up to 16% more than those who aren’t.
Although there are no specific eligibility requirements to take the AAC certification exam, it is recommended that applicants have at least two to five years of professional agile experience.
This exam is delivered through an online, live proctored method. It consists of 85 multiple-choice questions to be completed in the span of two hours and covers topics such as agile mindset, strategy horizon, initiative horizon, and delivery horizon.
To initially take or retake a failed exam, members pay $250 and $200 respectively, while non-members pay $375 and $325. Unlike other IIBA certification, this credential expires after one year, after which it will need to be renewed at the fee of $30 for members and $50 for non-members.
Visit the AAC page to learn more or get started.
IIBA Certification in Business Data Analytics (CBDA)
This new certification was created in order to qualify a professional’s ability to execute analysis related work to support business initiatives effectively. Organizations seek out those with these skills as they are in high demand and offer great benefits to the future success of the business.
Currently, there are no specific eligibility requirements, but IIBA outlines the different categories of questions that are covered on the exam. In order to successfully pass, candidates should feel comfortable with:
- Identifying research questions
- Sourcing data
- Analyzing data
- Interpreting and reporting results
- Using these results to impact decision making
- Creating organizational strategies for BA.
The exam costs $450 for members and $575 for non-members and retaking a failed exam costs $400 and $525 respectively. This certification is valid for one year, after which members pay $30 for re-certification and non-members pay $50.
To get the resources to study for this exam, visit IIBA’s official CBDA page.
IQBBA Certified Foundation Level Business Analyst (CFLBA)
This entry-level certification qualifies candidates for the higher-level credentials. With training centers across the world, this certification is recognized globally and is created for individuals who are involved in the analysis of business process within their organization to model and plan improvements.
Attaining this credential verifies an individual’s ability and skills in enterprise analysis, business analysis process planning, requirements elicitation, as well as solution validation, and innovation.
The exam fee is $250 and does not require re-certification.
IQBBA Certified Advanced Level Business Analyst (CALBA)
This advanced certification was created to further develop and improve on the foundational skills of the lower-level certification. The exam for this credential covers domains such as business analysis process management, requirements management, and strategic analysis and optimization.
So as a certification requirement, candidates should feel comfortable in these areas prior to the exam.
The exam fee is also $250 and does not require re-certification.
PMI Professional in Business Analysis (PBA)
This certification is designed for those who work with project teams to manage business requirements or product development, as well as those who manage these teams.
Prerequisites include a secondary school or equivalent degree, sixty months of experience in business analysis and thirty-five contact hours of education in business analysis.
Alternatively, applicants may also hold a bachelor’s or equivalent degree, and only 36 months of experience in business analysis and thirty-five contact hours of education in business analysis.
The certification exam is comprised of 200 multiple choice questions that are to be completed within the span of four hours. For members, the exam fee is $405, and for non-members it is $555.
Maintaining this credential requires that individuals earn sixty professional development units in business analysis topics every three years.
To study, sign up, or learn more about this credential, please visit PMI’s website.
Business Analysis Certifications in Universities
Many universities across the world offer specific business analysis certifications to legitimize an individual’s skills and knowledge.
Although these options are generally costlier as it requires paying for scholarly courses, as well as more time consuming, some people may find it to be a worthwhile investment as these credentials appear particularly impressive on an application.
If you’re interested, it is quick and easy to look for universities or colleges near you that may offer these programs.
Benefits of Business Analysis Certifications
Credible certifications hold a great amount of value in the eyes of employers and businesses. By building up a resume and skills portfolio with relevant education, experience, and certifications, candidates are bound to land an extremely high paying position at basically any enterprise.
Those who are currently employed also reap many benefits, including improved professional competence, confidence, and more likely than not, pay raises.
Furthermore, attaining a certification that requires renewal keeps skills and knowledge new, fresh, and updated, ensuring that professionals have all the latest information to be able to do their job to the highest potential.
I hope this article did answer everything you needed to know about business analyst certifications. For related topics, please check my other articles about a Data Analyst’s Job (skills, salary & career paths), as well as the top 7 Data Analyst Certifications.
Or you can navigate the careers in Tech section of my blog for other tech jobs & their related certifications & training. Enjoy 🙂