Thursday, 26 April 2018 07:27

Breaking the Barriers to Certification

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Have you debated getting a certification but run into obstacles? Did you find that you didn’t have enough work experience or the money to pay for the education hours and suddenly lost your motivation?

Perhaps you didn’t even understand the options available. We’ve all faced barriers reaching our goals. Now is the time to take a second look at your options.

I don’t want to discuss which certification(s) are best for you personally. That is a decision you should make for your yourself. Do some research. Try to answer the following questions:

  • What is your long-term career goal? Search for current job postings that reflect that role.
  • What certifications are required or suggested for the role?
  • What certifications are required for other roles in your current organization? Which do they value?
  • What certifications do your co-workers or professional colleagues have?
  • What is the market for a specific certification or skill? Search for that word in your favorite job board and note the count of postings that come up.

Work Experience

Lack of work experience may be the most difficult barrier to overcome. If you are new to the role, you won’t have the five years needed for some certifications. Don’t get discouraged. Add it to your professional bucket list and find one that you can you can achieve in the next twelve to eighteen months. Keep a running spreadsheet of your project descriptions, start and end dates and what activities you performed. It will expedite the application process in the future.

Cost

Cost is often a barrier. Typically, the fee for the exam is less than the cost of the education hours or boot camp for the exam. Read the application instructions carefully. Does it require specific in person training? Is there an online or weekend class available so you don’t have to miss work? Does the professional organization have a local chapter training available at a discounted rate to members? Can you utilize free or low-cost webinars from the professional organization or other vendors to fulfill the requirements? Have you had recent training that will meet the qualifications? Do you need a boot camp, or will a study guide and an exam simulator suffice? Reach out to colleagues who possess the certification. Ask them what resources worked best for them.

Determine all the costs: application fees, membership, exam fees, and education hours. Also consider the cost of renewal and continuing education hours that are required. Consider the cost of maintaining multiple certifications.

Check with your current employer to see if tuition assistance is available. They may pay for all, part or none. If you are unemployed, check with the professional organizations to see if discounted rates may be available.

If are self-employed or your employer can not reimburse you does not mean it is not worth pursuing. Review your other payment options or ways to save for the required amount. Remember, this is an investment in your education and career.

What are the options?

The following list is not all inclusive but may provide some new options you haven’t considered. Those with the least amount of work experience are listed first. Requirements are summarized, so read the current eligibility requirements on the organization website for specific details. Additional work experience may be required if you don’t have a bachelor’s degree. Work Experience and Education hours may need to be within recent years, so take note of those dates. Please confirm current costs with the organization as there may be regional differences.

PSM Professional Scrum Master

  • Organization: Scrum.org
  • Work Experience: None Required
  • Education hours: None Required
  • Renewal: No renewal required
  • Note: Training is available but not required. If you have a good understanding of the Scrum Guide and an elevated level of knowledge gained from direct experience or other training, you may feel comfortable taking the assessment. Open Assessments are available to help you gage your readiness.

PSPO Professional Scrum Product Owner

  • Organization: Scrum.org
  • Work Experience: None Required
  • Education hours: None Required
  • Renewal: No renewal required
  • Note: Training is available but not required. If you have an elevated level of knowledge of the Product Owner Role gained from direct experience or other training, you may feel comfortable taking the assessment. Open Assessments are available to help you gage your readiness.

ECBA Entry Certificate in Business Analysis (IIBA Level 1)

  • Organization: International Institute of Business Analysis (IIBA)
  • Work Experience: None required
  • Education hours: 21 hours, IIBA webinars eligible
  • Renewal: No renewal required

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CSM Certified ScrumMaster

  • Organization: Scrum Alliance
  • Work Experience: None Required
  • Education hours: 16 hours, specific in person training
  • Renewal: Fee

CSPO Certified Scrum Product Owner

  • Organization: Scrum Alliance
  • Work Experience: None Required
  • Education hours: 16 hours, specific in person training
  • Renewal: Fee

PMI-ACP PMI Agile Certified Practitioner

  • Organization: Project Management Institute (PMI)
  • Work Experience:2000 general project experience working on teams plus 1500 hours working on Agile project teams or with Agile methodologies
  • Education hours: 21 contact hours of training in Agile practices
  • Renewal: Fee plus 30 hours (PDUs) every 3-year cycle

CCBA Certification of Competency in Business Analysis (IIBA Level 2)

  • Organization: International Institute of Business Analysis (IIBA)
  • Work Experience: 3750 hours of Business Analysis
  • Education hours: 21 hours of education in Business Analysis
  • Renewal: Fee plus 60 hours (CDUs) every 3-year cycle

CBAP Certified Business Analysis Professional (IIBA Level 3)

  • Organization: International Institute of Business Analysis (IIBA)
  • Work Experience: 7500 hours of Business Analysis
  • Education hours: 35 hours of education in Business Analysis
  • Renewal: Fee plus 60 hours (CDUs) every 3-year cycle

PMI-PBA PMI Professional in Business Analysis

  • Organization: Organization: Project Management Institute (PMI)
  • Work Experience: 4500 hours of Business Analysis experience, including 2000 hours working on project teams
  • Education hours: 35 hours of education in Business Analysis
  • Renewal: Fee plus 60 hours (PDUs) every 3-year cycle

PMP Project Management Professional

  • Organization: Organization: Project Management Institute (PMI)
  • Work Experience: 4500 hours Leading and Directing Projects
  • Education hours: 35 hours of Project Management education
  • Renewal: Fee plus 60 hours (PDUs) every 3-year cycle

These are just a few of the options available for your consideration. Take a closer look and you may find that a certification is in your future!

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Deborah McLaughlin

Debby McLaughlin, MBA, PMP, PMI-ACP, PSM-1 has extensive experience working in the software industry.  She has served in various roles including Business Analyst, Product Owner, Project Manager, Release Manager, Technical Product Manager and substitute Scrum Master. Her profile is available on LinkedIn at https://www.linkedin.com/in/demclaughlin/

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