Certifications – To Have or Not to Have – That is the Question

The IIBA sponsors the Certified Business Analysis Professional Certification.  They say “CBAP® recipients are experts in identifying the business needs of an organization in order to determine the best solutions.”

In 2012, we published an article for the Rothman Consulting Group titled, The Road to the CBAP is Not Paved by Applied Knowledge.  The article highlights The Handy BA’s personal experience with attempts to obtain the certification.  In the article, we talked about what I did to prep and the associated costs.

Below is a list of the things I engaged in to best prepare and the costs associated with each:

  • Joined the IIBA – $125 for 2011
  • Applied to the CBAP $125 October 2011 with application approval within 2 weeks
  • Joined the Greater Boston IIBA – early bird special $28
  • Renewed IIBA membership $110
  • Purchased Watermarks online test simulator $200+ for 90 days
  • Used test simulator, mapped out BABOK 2.0, flash cards, etc.
  • Volunteered to be a contributing author for BABOK 3.0
  • Paid for exam $325

Total study time = over 200 hours

Total spent = $913

So, I sat for the exam in October of 2012. Did I pass? No. Am I disappointed? Oh, yes.

Where is the silver lining?  Is this money down the drain?

Not necessarily.  Being engaged in the above did open many professional doors.  Many companies have recruited based on the above engagements.  I have met some pretty amazing people in this industry that I would not have met otherwise.

The silver lining:  I know what an amazing Business Analyst I am and what I can contribute to our field.

Next steps:  Joining my company’s internal CBAP Study Group starting tomorrow!

In conclusion, I did join the IIBA GBC‘s CBAP study group once I figured out the CBAP was not a test on how to apply BA knowledge but a test on the BABOK itself.  As aside note, since BABOK v.2 was so confusing, The Handy BA did contribute to BABOK v.3 in efforts to better influence this reference book.

Does this mean that a CBAP  holder that obtained it in 2006 has less weight than a CBAP  holder today?


BABOK v.1.6 (2006)[148 pages]

BABOK v.2.0 (2009)[271 pages]

BABOK v.3.0 (2015) [514 pages]

November 2006 first CBAP began.  Q4’08 there were a total of 154 CBAP holders.  Q4’11 there were a total of an additional 824 CBAP holders.  In Q4’15, there were 5627 CBAP holders.

This once sought after certification to set BAs apart seems to be one of the norms now.


Let’s take a look at the PMI’s PBA next…….