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Chicken or Egg: Certification or Experience, the never ending dilemma

I want to pursue a career in the Business Analysis field. I am very excited about it, and keen to pursue further. But, I am in a different role and I don’t have prior experience in BA field.

How do I switch over to BA role? All the BA jobs require prior experience. How do I make the transition? Will any certification help me for the transition? How do I solve this? All the certifications have prior experience eligibility criteria. I am in a fix–what should I do to make my dream true? Can any one help?”

Does this sound like you?

Being in the industry for so many years, I come across this issue very often.

Business Analysis has been an upcoming promising field and has gained high popularity owing to its techno functional nature, where functional/domain knowledge plays a large amount of role and a high level knowledge of technology is a great booster to the skills.

But lot of times people come across this problem stated above in order to get into the BA field even though they may have good amount of industry experience and knowledge.

They do not have the relevant exp in the BA Domain to take up CCBA/CBAP Certification by IIBA while they want to move to a BA career and get certified in BA domain.

Couple of suggestions/points to follow if you are also in this situation:

  1. IIBA has now come up with ECBA, a beautiful certification scheme spotting the need of the hour and catering to the aspirations for many.
    • ECBA as some of you may know stands for Entry Certificate in Business Analysis , and as the name suggests caters to those professionals who would be making an entry or begin their career in BA domain.
    • It could also mean changing domain from a different field to the BA field. The good part is it doesn’t require any experience in BA domain to take this certification, and focuses on those knowledge areas of Business Analysis domain which are going to be of use for the beginners like Requirements Analysis,
      Requirements Life Cycle Management, Elicitation and Collaboration.
    • ECBA certification from IIBA is recommended for aspiring and new Business analysts. This not only gives you a rock solid foundation for getting into the BA profession also helps you with a global certification. ECBA has the backing of market recognition of IIBA hence the job opportunities it would bring in due to acceptance in the corporate segment. ECBA is framed rightly to suit the needs of an entry level Business analyst focusing on requirements analysis, modeling and requirements life cycle management with good amount of emphasis on modeling concepts and tools.
    • We have helped 100+ professionals in getting ECBA certified and giving better prospects to their career. See the ECBA certified list by Adaptive – Some feedback here
    • Please read through a detailed blog on how to get certified with ECBA.
  2. Take up CPRE FL certification from IREB.
    Foundation level comprises basic knowledge of eliciting, analyzing, specifying, documenting, validating and managing requirements.
    A person with a CPRE FL certificate:
    • Is familiar with the terminology of requirements engineering/business analysis and requirements management.
    • Understands the basic techniques and methods of requirements engineering and their application.
    • Is familiar with the most established notations for requirements.
    • cing on the cake is CPRE-FL certification does not have any eligibility criteria in terms of experience hence you can go for the certification in the beginning of your career as well.
    • IREB is gaining popularity in a very fast pace globally among the BA community.
      As of beginning 2018 , there are 37,000+ IREB certified professionals globally.
      However given the market recognition and popularity ECBA from IIBA is preferred owing to its has higher global acceptance.
  3. If you are keen on getting certified from IIBA then consider taking a BA training session and acquiring the IIBA prescribed BA skills.
    Post training you can go in for a full-fledged BA career using your background, domain and experience. Once you acquire the required 2.5 Years of relevant BA experience you can comfortably go for CCBA certification. Please weigh these options looking at all pros and cons and then take an appropriate decision on the same.


Another frequent question that I come across:

I am a testing/QA professional and doing some part of BA work, I would like to move into a full-fledged Business analysis career, can you help me with this?”

I am a software developer but not keen on continuing further. I don’t like coding going further, doesn’t seem exciting to me I am inclined to a Business Analysis career. I am very excited about it, and keen to pursue further. Can you help me on how to make a transition to BA career, how can I get into a BA role.

Some amount of career development planning makes the transition smooth from QA or developer or any other domain to a Business Analyst role:

  1. Get involved in the requirements gathering process proactively
  2. Take proactive measures to talk to stakeholders/users
  3. Show interest, gather knowledge and be proactive to be part of the requirements gathering and documentation process
  4. Learn the modeling tools (diagramming tools) and Requirement management tools
  5. Try to learn the business terms, business process, look for any business (domain) terms repository available in your project or with client/on the web
  6. Try to understand the existing system and the new proposed system, overall objective of the project and the big picture
  7. Learn industry or domain process framework/best practices using APQC Framework
  8. Take lead in any defect resolution/analysis with users during the deployment process.
  9. Get involved in the user /implementation training
  10. Most important start thinking more like a business user (business mode of thinking) and stop thinking like a developer or a tester(solution mode of thinking)
  11. Take lead/active part in any process/requirement changes in the project/account.
  12. Follow some great leaders in the industry that you are in.
  13. Join Professional groups on Business Analysis and try to follow the discussions, Participate in forums and conferences which can help you enhance your career in the new field
  14. Added to this IIBA has now come up with ECBA, a beautiful certification scheme spotting the need of the hour and catering to the aspirations for many.
  15. After all, make learning your objective for everyday

With all these steps I definitely can assure you that you will see yourself in a promising and bright career.

All the best on your career, don’t forget to share your success story to me and with others in the network.

Always remember to extend help to someone who is in need of some career guidance and help.

Ananya Pani

I am an entrepreneur, building my brand to be a global name in the Business Analysis domain. My mission is to help business analysts to build a successful professional career. I have helped 2000+ BAs in choosing a better career and help them achieve professional success. I co-founded Adaptive US, a Business analysis skill development organization. I manage sales and operations at Adaptive US. Under my leadership, Adaptive is now established as a world-leader.