The New IIBA Certification System
The main difference between the new system and the previous one is a larger number of levels. In the past analysts could choose between CBAP® (Certified Business Analysis Professional) and CCBA® (Certification of Competency in Business Analysis), today they have a choice of 4 levels.
|L1 – ECBA (Entry Certificate in Business Analysis)||
Individuals entering the BA profession
Professionals transitioning careers
Functional managers who are not BAs but manage them
|L2 – CCBA (Certification of Capability in Business Analysis)||Practicing business analysts Professionals combining several roles: BA+PM/QA/Lead Experience in business analysis: 2–3 years|
|L3 – CBAP (Certified Business Analysis Professional)||Professional business analysts with experience over 5 years|
|L4 – CBATL (Certified Business Analysis Thought Leader)||Recognized thought leaders, experts with work experience over 10 years|
The certificate names speak for themselves and do not require deciphering.
A discriminating reader may have noted that in the introduction I mentioned 3 levels, and then in the paragraph immediately after — 4 levels. This is because the CBATL requirements have not been published yet (they are expected to be announced at the end of 2017). Therefore, I will focus on the ECBA, CCBA, and CBAP levels, for which all information is available.
I should mention that IIBA has not changed its policy: you can take exams for any level, that is, to be certified in CBAP, you do not need to pass ECBA and CCBA exams first. So the first step is to determine the level that suits you.
The first criterion is work experience.
|Experience requirements||Not required||3,750 hours in the last 7 years; 900 hours of work experience in 2 knowledge areas of 6 (according to BABOK) OR 500 hours of work experience in 4 knowledge areas of 6 (according to BABOK)||7,500 hours in the last 10 years; 900 hours of work experience in 4 knowledge areas of 6 (according to BABOK)|
7,500 hours is about 4.5 years; 3,750 hours is 2.5 years, respectively. But only if you have exclusively worked as a business analyst and all your activities satisfy IIBA requirements. Note that you could be engaged in business analysis while having positions such as a project manager, a QA or a developer, but probably not 100% of time. To understand what IIBA defines as the right experience, you should, at least briefly, go through BABOK® and CBAP®/CCBA® Certification Level Handbooks.
A few quotes.
“Legible activities include: direct BA activities (requirements gathering, writing requirements documents, etc.); business analysts coaching or mentoring with regard to BA activities (for example, planning the process of requirements gathering, reviewing requirements documents, etc.).
Activities that are not legible include:
- resource management
- teaching courses for business analysts
- selling requirements management tools
- project management
- testing (for example, creating and executing test scripts, creating test plans/strategies)
For each project you will need to specify:
- the project name
- the date you joined the project
- the date you finished your project work
- brief description of the project
- the project contact details (name, email, phone, your relation to that contact)
- information about the organization you worked for (name, industry, location)
- for each of the 6 BABOK® Knowledge Areas, indicate for how much time you performed these activities
Some more recommendations on filling in project information:
- reverse chronological sequence
- similar projects within the same year can be united in a single entry
- if you simultaneously worked in several projects, indicate only one
The second criterion is the number of professional development hours.
|Professional development||21 hours||21 hours||35 hours|
And there is a subtle aspect too. “Real” hours of Professional Development (PD) can be earned by:
- passing BA trainings organized by Endorsed Education Provider (EEP™)
- attending educational events conducted by local chapters of IIBA
- participating in conferences organized under the authority of IIBA. In that case, the organizers obviously speak about accounted PD hours.
PD hours can also be accounted for attending trainings/courses that meet the following requirements:
- they must be a session or course with a trainer/moderator/ instructor
- they directly relate to business analysis areas of knowledge/skills, including underlying competencies, as defined in the BABOK® Guide
- they include opportunities for students to ask questions
- they include opportunities to practice the tasks
- they include an assessment of achievements
For each event in which you earned PD hours, you must specify the following:
- course name
- type (Business/Domain Knowledge; Business Analysis/Requirements, etc.)
- brief description
- number of hours
- start and end dates of training
- information about the organization that organized the event (name, phone, web site)
- contact person who can confirm your participation (name, position, contacts)
And the last point of requirements – references.
|References||2 reference endorsements from either a career manager, client, or CBAP® recipient||2 reference endorsements from either a career manager, client, or CBAP® recipient|
Additional professional reference requirements of IIBA:
- one of the references must be a current contact
- references must have known you for at least 6 months
Now a few words about exams. They are quite different for each of the three levels.
|Number of questions||50||130||120|
|Types of questions||Comprehension questions||Scenario- based questions||
Scenario- based questions
|Time||60 min||180 min||210 min|
|Where you can take exams||At home||Prometric test centers||Prometric test centers|
Comprehension questions are used to check your knowledge of definitions, concepts, and other information from the BABOK® Guide. Scenario-based questions require that you select the most suitable option in the suggested situation. Case study describes some situation in 1–1.5 pages, to which several questions are given.
Examples of questions for each level you can find at IIBA web site.
Below you can find themes of questions for each exam.
|Themes||ECBA, %||CCBA, %||CBAP, %|
|Business Analysis Planning and Monitoring||5||12||14|
|Elicitation and Collaboration||20||20||12|
|Requirements Life Cycle Management||20||18||15|
|Requirements Analysis and Design Definition||24||32||30|
|Business Analysis Key Concepts||5|
|Business Analysis & the BA Professional||2.5|
The pricing policy remains unchanged too.
|Certification||ECBA, $||CCBA, $||CBAP, $|
|Price of processing the application form||60||125||125|
|Exam (with a discount for IIBA members)||110||325||325|
And the last thing: ECBA Certificate does not require renewal; CCBA and CBAP Certificates must be reconfirmed every 3 years.
Interested in pursuing a career in Business Analysis or getting certified? Check out our Business Analysis trainings below:
- Introduction to Business Analysis
- Business Analysis. Planning and Monitoring
- Elicitation and Collaboration
- Requirements Life Cycle Management
- Requirements Analysis and Design Definition
- Solution Evaluation
Business and System Analysis Consultant