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How to Create Unique Value in your Business Analysis Career

It’s tough to stand out in a competitive job market.

With so many people vying for the same jobs, it’s more important than ever to be versatile and learn new skills.

Adding other skills to your core skills creates your unique value. By doing this, you’ll not only make yourself more valuable, but also more marketable in a competitive job market. So don’t be afraid to try new things and expand your horizons-you may just find that you’re good at them!

In a competitive job market, it’s tough to stand out from the crowd. But by adding other skills to your core skills, you can create unique value in your field. You will make yourself more valuable and more marketable to potential employers.

Business analysis has 5 core skills – analytical thinking, critical thinking, problem solving, business knowledge, and communication. However, when we add other skills around these 5, we are creating our own unique value proposition.

Don’t be afraid to try new things and expand your horizons.

Adding other skills to your core skills is a great way to differentiate yourself from the competition and create value in your field.

This gives business analysts the opportunity to explore various interests and develop a wide range of skills, which gives us a competitive advantage in the marketplace. By expanding our core business analysis skills with technical skills, business knowledge, techniques, soft skills and other abilities, we can position ourselves for success both personally and professionally.


1. What is unique value in the job market?

Your skills allow you to do your job well and competently. You develop these through experience and education. The better you are at certain tasks, the more marketable you become. However, in order to be truly valuable in the job market, you need to add other skills to your core skill set. This creates your unique value.

Let’s look at an example. Having the core skill of analytical and critical thinking and adding to that skill data analysis suddenly creates a unique offering from you.

Critical thinking is essential for data analysis because it allows you to connect disparate facts, synthesize information, etc. Likewise, analytical thinking enables critical thinking by allowing you to extract insights and actionable information from data.

So, by adding data analysis to your core skill set, you become someone who can take data and turn it into insights that can help a business grow and make sound decisions. This is valuable in any field, but is especially important in fields like business, marketing, and finance.

The bottom line is that adding other skills to your core skill set makes you more valuable and more marketable. These skills can be in any field, so don’t be afraid to try something new. The more versatile you are, the more opportunities will open up for you.

Having the skill on it’s own is only a fraction of the value you can offer. Having another one or more skills that you can use to complement that core skill creates your unique value.




2. Discuss the importance of adding other skills to your core skills

When you can do more than one thing well, it shows that you’re versatile and capable of learning new things. This is important in a competitive job market, where hiring managers are looking for employees who can not only do the job they’re hired for, but also have other skills that could be useful in other areas of the company. By expanding your skill set, you’re making yourself more valuable and desirable to potential employers.

Having a variety of skills is also beneficial when it comes to career development. If you can do more than one thing, you may transition into different roles within the same company or even move into other industries with your current skill set. This can open many opportunities that you wouldn’t have access to if you were doing just one thing.

Finally, adding other skills to your core skills can help you stand out from the crowd. Many people may have similar job qualifications or experience, but having additional skills will make you more unique and memorable to potential employers. If you’re able to prove that you can bring something different to the table, hiring managers are much more.


3. Offer tips for expanding your horizons and trying new things

We have said it is important to be versatile, continuously learning new skills, and make yourself more valuable and marketable. You need to be expanding your horizons constantly.

So, how can you do this? Well, here are a few tips to get you started:

  1. Get involved in personal projects that interest you. This is a great way to learn new things. For example, building a website or a mobile app. It doesn’t have to succeed for you have learnt new skills.
  2. Take classes outside of your field of study. If you’re interested in learning a new skill, there are probably classes available that can help you do just that. I did a course at Auckland University in Digital Forensics. Shortly afterwards, I was working on a project where I used some skills in the project to develop a security policy.
  3. Travel! Explore new cultures and learn about their customs. This is a great way to gain new perspectives and expand your horizons. You are a global citizen. I have worked in four countries now and in each one I have picked up the knowledge that I use today.
  4. Volunteer for a project or organisation that’s different from what you’re used to. This can help you gain experience in new areas and develop new skills.
  5. Make use of free online resources like LinkedIn, even Udemy at a low-cost price to learn skills. I learnt Azure’s machine learning capability of Udemy and used it in a research project for NZDF.


Of course, one needs to be strategic in this and not go off on a wild tangent. Have a plan and know what skills you can learn that will complement the core skill sets (see blog post) of a business analyst for your context.

Adding other skills to your core skills is a great way to make yourself more marketable and valuable in a competitive job market. By being versatile and learning new things, you’re showing that you can adapt to new situations and will take on new challenges. We’ve offered some tips for expanding your horizons and developing your unique value. Develop a habit of trying new things and learning!

If you’re like me, you’re always looking for ways to improve your skills and stand out from the crowd. And I think that adding other skills to your core skills is the best way to do just that.
That’s why I wanted to invite you to join me for my video series on the 5 Business Analysis core skills, where I’ll be discussing how to expand your horizons and try new things. This is a magnificent series that will unfold over the next few weeks to help you develop your unique value.
First video has dropped on YouTube – , so click on the link to get going with the first video the 5 core BA skills. Don’t forget to subscribe to the YouTube Channel to get notified as the other videos load.

You Made The Decision To Pursue CBAP Certification, Now What?

I have been a Business Analyst for more than a decade and have recently decided to go for it! It being the IIBA CBAP (Certified Business Analysis Professional) certification. As any BA would do, the moment I decided to go for it, I immediately went into information gathering mode! I l researched and gathered as much information as I could find. I signed up for several IIBA webinars and LinkedIn learning modules pertaining to the CBAP certification. Here are the top ten tips I took away from my research:

  1. Use the business analysis skills you currently possess to develop your CBAP certification roadmap or project plan!
    • Layout the tasks and actions you must complete. Such as: complete and submit your application, read the BABOK and/or Core Standards, collect your references, decide if you prefer self-study or a paid training program, plan for the 35 hours of professional development, etc.
    • Define a timeline with target dates. I feel like this is a personal preference item. You want to set yourself up for success while ensuring you do not extend the timeline out too far. For myself, I set a 6-month timeline. I expect to take the exam at no more than 6 months from the time I officially started the process. I felt that a longer duration of time would either welcome procrastination or give too much time for me to tart second guessing my readiness.
    • Organize and prioritize the required tasks and actions. For example, ensure the most time intensive activities fit into the timeline you have defined for yourself. What activities are expected to take the longest? The study of the BABOK? The 35 hours of professional development?
    • I have heard and read, multiple times, ‘do not wait to start capturing your work experience.’ It takes time to record 7500 hours of business analysis experience. It is a tedious task that doesn’t feel so bad if it is done is smaller increments at a time.


2. There are so many resources available. Many of which can be applied to the required professional development hours (WIN-WIN).

    • If you are a member of IIBA, there are many IIBA chapters that offer IIBA certification study groups. Tip: These count toward professional development hours
    • There are several free webinars, recorded and live, that offer insight into how best to prep for the certification. Tip: Many of these webinars count toward professional development hours
    • There are a vast variety of articles that cover key things to know before going into the exam. Little golden nuggets of useful insights and tips for success!
    • Again, if you are an IIBA member, there are several IIBA endorsed providers that offer professional training programs to guide you through the learning process and prepare you for certification.


3. Much to my delight, every resource I tapped into provided consistent information.

    • I don’t know about you but when I find consistent info from search to search and source to source, I feel better about the validity of the information! I am more inclined to trust it as truth and feel confident that I can rely on it to support my decision-making process.


4. Do not assume your years of experience as a Business Analyst negates the need to study the BABOK in preparation for the exam!!!!

    • I rank this my number 1 learning as I searched for information! We Business Analysts tend not to make assumptions when engaging in the activity of business analysis, however, this message was pressed in every study session, webinar and article I read which to me meant it is a common mistake made by seasoned professionals. A mistake I could have easily made if I had not sought out information and looked for guidance on how best to approach the CBAP certification process.
    • As BA’s we exercise our business analysis skills and apply business analysis tools daily, however, we do not use the BABOK vernacular or think about how the work we do fits into the six knowledge areas defined in the BABOK. Hence the importance of reading the BABOK to gain a thorough understanding of the six knowledge areas.
    • Reading a nearly 500-page book cover to cover is a bit much. Some will advise that you read the BABOK multiple times to prep for the certification. Sone will advise you scan the BABOK and focus on the Core Standards (a condensed version of the BABOK). I say this is another area that is completely personal, based on the individuals learning style. I struggled with determine my approach to this activity for a bit!


5. Spend a good portion of your study time and effort ensuring you have a thorough understanding of the requirements analysis and design definition knowledge area.

    • This knowledge area makes up about 30% of the CBAP exam. I cannot confirm this statistic myself, however, I can say this statistic has been referenced/shared in a number of the sources I have tapped into. Given this, I have assigned more weight to this key knowledge area to ensure I understand the elements involved in the requirements analysis and design definition knowledge area.


6. Know the 50 BABOK techniques.

    • Yes! There are 50. The best piece of advice I have heard on this item is to think about the techniques in practical terms within the context of the six knowledge areas. This is not to say a technique cannot be applicable to multiple knowledge areas, this is simply a way to connect the technique to activities that you an associate to the six knowledge areas for purpose of understanding the techniques in a practical manner. For Example:
      • It is common to use techniques such as brainstorming, focus groups, and workshops in elicitation and collaboration
      • It is common in requirements analysis and design definition to use concept modeling, decision modeling, user stories and use cases.
      • Solution Evaluation may involve root-cause analysis and vendor assessments


  1. Memorize the Financial Calculations and Formula in the BABOK
    • The last time I had to memorize formula was probably an accounting class or statistics class in college! I happen to use calculations in my current business analysis role but none that are in the BABOK. Memorizing formula was not something I expected to encounter as I prep for CBAP certification.
    • An example of a formula you may need to know is the formula to calculate ROI (return on investment). Total Benefits -Cost of the Investment/Cost of the Investment.
    • Another formula example would be the calculation of Net Present Value. Present Value- Cost of Investment.
    • In addition to memorizing the calculations and formula, you must be able to interpret the results of the calculations and utilize those results to answer textual questions.


  1. Utilize mock exams and practice tests!!
    • Going back to the decision to read the BABOK cover to cover or not. I chose to take a few mock exams to see how I fared. I did this to assess how exam ready I was before determining if reading the BABOK cover to cover was necessary.
    • Mock tests are GREAT! Here’s why:
      • They are timed, same as the CBAP exam. Hence, you experience the same stress you will experience when taking the actual exam. You will get a feel for how long you may need for the simple multiple-choice questions and/or the case based and scenario-based questions.
      • You gain insight on how complex the scenario or case-based questions are. You learn how best to break them down for purpose of selecting the best answer
      • You see how memorizing key concepts, vocabulary, terms, and techniques is not enough. You must be able to apply the concepts, the techniques, and the knowledge to scenarios from a real-world perspective. Essentially demonstrate an in depth understanding of not only the material covered in the BABOK but how to apply that knowledge to your business analysis activities.


  1. Optimal approach to the Case-Based and Scenario-Based Questions
    • Case-based questions are intense! They are multi paragraph scenarios. Followed by multiple questions about the case scenario.
      • The very first mock exam I took, I scored at about 50%. Eye opening results If I had not already read that an individual going into the exam blind, assuming they have the knowledge to ace the exam based on their years of business analysis work are likely to score in the 50% range. (I confirmed that statistic!).
    • This golden nugget of information was a game changer for me!!! I attended a webinar; in this webinar the host advised, the best approach to the case-based questions is to read the question and answers first, followed by the last paragraph of the scenario.
      • I took my next practice exam. I jumped closer to a 70% accuracy rate. Why do I believe this approach improved my results? I started with the end in mind. I knew what I was looking for because I had the question and potential answers in mind before I started looking for the information that would lead me to the correct answer. And I saved time by not reading and rereading the scenario. Again, GAME CHANGER!!!!


10. Last but certainly not least. There is no time like the present!!

  • If you are thinking about pursuing CBAP certification jump in and go for it!
  • never know if you never try!
  • Skilling Up is more important than ever!

I am currently on my journey to CBAP certification. It is equally exciting and nerve-racking! I hope you find this information as useful as I have!

How to Improve Your Business Leadership and Advance Your Career

You don’t have to be a manager or director to be a leader. In fact, it’s possessing excellent leadership skills that allow people to reach those positions in the first place. Leadership is also far more than just knowing how to delegate responsibilities and make important decisions; true leadership is utilizing your own confidence, talents and strengths to help others better appreciate and apply their own. To help you further your career now and in the future, you can cultivate some leadership skills that transform the way you work.

Understand What Leadership Means in Your Industry

Leadership may have a core role in every sector, but it also presents unique opportunities depending on the discipline. A leader in law enforcement, for example, has vastly different roles than a leader in business or healthcare administration. Part of being a good leader is knowing how to identify unique challenges and needs in your industry. When you identify areas that could be improved, think of various possible solutions. Instead of taking on the responsibility entirely, consider how collaboration could bring about even greater results. Good leaders recognize the importance of teamwork, and they always strive to include others.


Develop Your Own Mission Statement

Without your own mission statement, you might find yourself solely emulating other people who you admire. Inspiration is wonderful, but it can only get you so far. As an aspiring leader, you need to have your own code of ethics and guiding principles. What inspires you to take action? How do you go about it? What values do you uphold at all times? Writing a personal mission statement allows you to frame your actions in the most empowering way. With this statement, you recognize what matters most to you and always have a reminder of what you’re really striving toward. Think about what success really means to you and establish a standard in your statement that you will always strive to uphold. This gives you a sturdy foundation to act from regardless of the situation or challenges at hand.

Expand Your Credentials

Advanced degrees give students the opportunity to become masters in their fields. The more you know about your industry, the greater capacity you have to lead and guide others. A master’s degree in leadership and management will equip any professional to become a strong source of guidance, wisdom and strength in their careers. Leadership degrees draw from a variety of subjects such as industrial psychology, project management and communications to give students a well-rounded knowledge. Graduates know all of the necessary components for successful operations, and they are able to help others while furthering their own careers.

Bringing value to your company now can also happen through earning a master’s in leadership. Certificate programs, additional skills in cross-over fields and training are also valuable. You can borrow private student loans to pay for college while you continue to work in your current company. Bringing developing skills to the table allows you to continually evolve your work style and become more efficient and capable.

Embrace New Voices

Leaders are able to listen to new and possibly controversial ideas with openness and respect. They critically analyze information that’s presented to them without allowing emotional biases to impact their judgement. You should actively seek out different opinions about things that matter to you both professionally and personally. Exposure to new ideas and ways of thinking allow you to become more empathetic and creative at solving problems. You also gain a deeper appreciation for others, as the saying goes, it’s lonely at the top. A person who thinks that only their ideas are the best miss out on the chance to learn and grow.

Challenge Your Own Ideas

Do you hold limiting beliefs that could be affecting your success? You have to be willing to humble yourself and admit when you’re being presumptuous. Effective leaders are agile, always willing to take in new information and not afraid of change. They know that the norm today might not be the standard tomorrow, and they eagerly look forward to adopting new concepts into their lives. Think about how your own thinking may have hindered you at some points in your life. Rather than dwelling on it, recognize that you’ve grown and are now able to think differently. We can learn from our mistakes as long as we see the value in them.

Become More Resourceful

Recognize what people around you have to offer, and ask them for their time and opinions. Many times, professionals feel as though they have to do everything on their own. It’s exhausting pretending to have all the answers all the time. No one knows everything, and that is the beauty of working with a team. Being a part of an organization that introduces you to so many different skillsets and perspectives is a blessing. Take advantage of this opportunity to grow from your interactions.