Which BA Certification Is Right For You?

One popular question professionals looking to get certified in business analysis often ask is, Which BA certification is right for me? IIBA's Certified Business Analysis Professional (CBAP), Certification of Competency in Business Analysis (CCBA) or PMI Professional in Business Analysis (PBA)?

This post presents a high-level comparison of the three certifications to provide a starting point for deciding which path is best for you. Here's a snapshot of the application requirements for each certification developed based on the information contained in their respective handbooks:

Assuming you met the requirements for both certifications, the next important considerations would be, “What kind of BA are you rooting to be?” “What kind of environment do you work in or want to work in?”

Are you looking to work as a “pure BA” and want to gain a solid foundation across all aspects of business analysis? If yes, then IIBA’s CBAP/CCBA offers a more practical route. 

If you however find yourself working mostly on projects (could be as a project manager or associate) or are looking to work on projects that require you to have BA knowledge, then PMI - PBA provides a natural extension of your existing project management knowledge. 

IIBA's CCBA/CBAP provides BA knowledge that transcends beyond project management though you’ll often find a lot of BAs working mostly within the context of projects. 

That being said, some organizations are not yet “mature” enough to separate business analysis from project management (These 2 professions are distinctly different). In such environments, PMI-PBA would be the more practical route to follow.  

In conclusion, the question of which certification to go for is not an either/or question. There's benefits to be gained from both certifications if you decide to get the best of both worlds.

Laura Brandenburg and Vicki James have also shared some useful insights on this, should you want to read more about this.

Picture Attribution: “Choices Dilemma” by jscreationzs/Freedigitalphotos.net