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10 business analyst certifications to advance your analytics career

Business analysts blend data skills and business acumen to the benefit of analytics-driven organizations. Here are 10 noteworthy certs to help you get ahead as a business analyst.

7 business analyst certifications to advance your analytics career
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Certifications for business analysts are still emerging, but there’s already a number of organizations offering exams to certify business analytics skills. Business analysts help organizations make the most of the data they collect by finding trends, patterns, and errors that might otherwise go unnoticed. Successful business analysts have the skills to work with data, the acumen to understand the business side of the organization, and the ability to communicate that information to people outside of IT.

Business analytics is a lucrative role in IT, with an average entry-level salary of $68,000 per year. Throughout their careers, business analysts report average salaries ranging from $40,000 to $100,000 per year, according to PayScale. If you want to advance your business analyst career, or change career paths, here are 10 certifications that will help prove your mettle.

Top 10 business analyst certifications

  • Certified Analytics Professional (CAP)
  • 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)
  • IREB Certified Professional for Requirements Engineering (CPRE)
  • PMI Professional in Business Analysis (PBA)
  • SimpliLearn Business Analyst Masters Program

Certified Analytics Professional (CAP)

The Certified Analytics Professional (CAP) is a vendor-neutral certification that certifies your skills and ability to draw valuable insights from complex data sets to help guide strategic businesses decisions. To qualify for this certification, you will need a master’s degree in a related field and at least five years of relevant experience, or a bachelor’s degree in a related field along with seven years of experience in data or analytics. You can also qualify for the associate level aCAP exam if you have a master’s degree with just three years of related experience in data or analytics.

  • Exam fee: $495 for INFORMS members, $695 for non-members; aCAP exam: $200 for INFORMS members, $300 for non-members

IIBA Entry Certificate in Business Analysis (ECBA)

The Entry Certificate in Business Analysis (ECBA) is the first level of certification with the International Institute of Business Analysis (IIBA), it’s designed for less experienced and entry-level business analysts. You will need to complete at least 21 hours of professional training credits, within the past four years, before you will be eligible for the exam. You don’t have to renew your ECBA certification, but it’s assumed you’ll move on to the second or third levels of certification.

  • Application fee: $60
  • Exam fee: $110 for members, $235 for non-members
  • Retake fee: $89 for members, $195 for non-members
  • Renewal fee: Not applicable

IIBA Certification of Competency in Business Analysis (CCBA)

Level 2 of the IIBA certification, the Certification of Competency in Business Analysis (CCBA) requires a minimum 3,750 hours of business analytics work aligned with the IIBA’s Business Analysis Book of Knowledge (BABOK) guide in the past 7 years, 900 hours in two of six BABOK knowledge areas, or 500 hours in four of six BABOK knowledge areas. The certification also requires a minimum of 21 hours professional development training in the past four years and two professional references. The CCBA exam consists of 130 multiple-choice questions that are scenario-based and require some analysis. It covers fundamentals, underlying competencies, key concepts, techniques and all six knowledge areas covered in the BABOK.

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  • Application fee: $125
  • Exam fee: $325 for members, $450 for non-members
  • Retake fee: $250 for members, $375 for non-members
  • Renewal fee: $85 for members, $120 for non-members

IIBA Certified Business Analysis Professional (CBAP)

The Certified Business Analysis Professional CBAP certification is the third level of certification with IIBA and it’s designed for “individuals with extensive business analysis experience.” To qualify for this certification, you’ll need a minimum of 7,500 hours of business analyst work experience in the past 10 years, 900 hours of work experience hours within four of the six BABOK knowledge areas, at least 35 hours of professional development in the past four years and professional references. The exam is 3.5 hours long and includes 120 multiple-choice questions that are based on case studies. After you pass, you’ll need to report at least 60 hours of continuing development units every three years.

  • Application fee: $125
  • Exam fee: $325 for members, $450 for non-members
  • Retake fee: $250 for members, $375 for non-members
  • Renewal fee: $85 for members, $120 for non-members

IIBA Agile Analysis Certification (AAC)

As a methodology, agile has been rising in importance for business analysts over the past several years, according to the IIBA. The association’s competency-based Agile Analysis Certification (AAC) exam was designed to address this skillset and to certify business analyst professionals working in agile environments, which require fast adaption and rapid change. The exam was developed using the Agile Extension to the BABOK guide and was released in May 2018. It is a standalone certification and is separate from the other IIBA business analyst certifications, which stack on top of one another.

The exam is offered through remote online proctoring and consists of 85 multiple-choice, scenario-based questions to be completed in 2 hours. The exam’s four main topics include agile mindset (30%), strategy horizon (10%), initiative horizon (25%) and delivery horizon (35%). Your certification will last for three years, at which point you’ll need to renew the certification. There aren’t any eligibility requirements to take the exam, but the IIBA recommends at least two to five years of agile-related experience.

  • Exam fee: $250 for members, $375 for non-members
  • Retake fee: $200 for members, $325 for non-members
  • Renewal fee: $30 for members, $50 for non-members

IIBA Certification in Business Data Analytics (CBDA)

The Certification n Business Data Analytics (IIBA-CBDA) from the IIBA is a new certification that “recognizes your ability to effectively execute analysis-related work in support of business analytics initiatives.” To pass the exam, you will need to examine a real-world business problem, identify the data sources and how to obtain data, analyze the data, interpret and report results from the data. You’ll then need demonstrate how those results can influence business decision-making and guide company-level strategies for business analytics.

  • Exam fee: $450 for members. $575 for non-members
  • Retake fee: $400 for members, $525 for non-members
  • Renewal fee: $30 for members, $50 for non-members

IQBBA Certified Foundation Level Business Analyst (CFLBA)

The International Qualifications Board for Business Analysts (IQBBA) offers the Certified Foundation Level Business Analysis (CFLBA) as an entry-level certification, which will qualify you to earn higher levels of certification. It’s a globally recognized certification with accredited exam and training centers all across the world. It’s designed for “people involved in analyzing business processes within an organization, modeling businesses and process improvement.” The foundation level covers enterprise analysis, business analysis process planning, requirements elicitation, requirements analysis, solution validation, tools and techniques, innovation and design.

Once you complete the entry-level exam, you can continue on to the Certified Advanced Level Business Analyst (CALBA) and Certified Expert Level Business Analyst (CELBA) certifications. Accredited training and exam centers in the United States are currently limited, with centers in Chicago, Maryland, Oklahoma, Florida and Texas. However, there are options to take training courses and exams online.

  • Exam fee: $250

IREB Certified Professional for Requirements Engineering (CPRE)

The International Requirements Engineering Board (IREB) offers the Certified Professional for Requirements Engineering (CPRE) certification is designed for those working in requirements engineering (RE), and it’s offered at three levels. The Foundation Level is first, where you’ll be certified in the basics of RE. The Advanced Level is next, where you can choose between three paths, including Requirements Elicitation and Consolidation, Requirements Modeling and Requirements Management — but you’ll need to wait 12 months after completing the first exam to take the advanced level exam. The Expert Level certifies you at the “highest level of expert knowledge,” which includes both your hands-on experience as well as your knowledge and skills gained through previous certifications.

Your certification will not expire, and you will not need to renew it. The IREB states that the CPRE is “based on the fundamental methods and approaches of Requirements Engineering, and these alter only slowly,” so at this time, they don’t see a need for renewal.

  • Exam fee: Varies by testing center
  • Renewal fee: Not applicable

PMI Professional in Business Analysis (PBA) Certification

The PMI Professional in Business Analysis (PBA) certification is designed for business analysts who work with projects or programs, or project and program managers who work with analytics. It’s offered through the Project Management Institute, which specializes in widely recognized project management certifications, such as the PMP. The certification focuses on business analysis training through hands-on projects and testing on business analysis principles, tools and fundamentals.

If you’ve already earned a bachelor’s degree, you’ll need at least three years’ experience, or 4,500 hours, in business analysis consecutively within the past eight years to earn this certification. Without a bachelor’s degree, you’ll need five years or 7,500 hours experience.

You’ll be required to earn 60 professional development units within three years after completing the certification to maintain your renewal status. If you let your renewal lapse, your credentials will be suspended for one year until you fulfill the requirements — after that, it will be terminated and you’ll need to reapply.

  • Application fee: $405 for PMI members, $555 for non-members
  • Exam fee: None
  • Retake fee: $275 for PMI members, $375 for non-members
  • Renewal fee: $60 for PMI members, $150 for non-members

SimpliLearn Business Analyst Masters Program

If you’re new to the industry or want to change careers and start on the path of a business analyst, SimpliLearn offers a Business Analyst Masters Program that is accredited by the IIBA. Through the program, you can opt to earn your CCBA certification as well as certifications in Agile Scrum Foundation, Digital Transformation for Leaders, Python for Data Science and R Programming for Data Science. Completion of the program will also earn you 35 IIBA and 25 PMI professional development units.

The course promises to make you an expert in Excel, CBAP, Tableau, Agile ScrumMaster, SQL, CCBA and Agile Scrum Foundation. You’ll also learn how to build interactive dashboards, apply statistical tools and concepts, master the agile scrum methodology, plan and track Scrum projects, understand business analysis key concepts, analyze data using Tableau and much more.

  • Course fee: $1,299

Copyright © 2020 IDG Communications, Inc.

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