Become a Certified Business Analyst
- 21st March 2016
- Posted by: Stacie Jansen van Vuren
- Category: Business
Reaching as far back as Aristotle, society and business have been writing down solutions and suggested theories for the division and departmentalisation of labour. This is important to the career history of Business Analysts as they are generally responsible for mapping these processes and modifying them when required.
In 1776 a man named Adam Smith published what is considered the first example of a business process when he was producing a pin. His documentation demonstrated that identifying the steps required to complete the process would allow the division of labour by assigning specialists to each step. This would not only increase the speed at which the product could be manufactured but it would also improve the quality of the finished item. The effects and benefits of this process can be seen in both the field of business analysis and in project management today.
What is a Business Analyst?
The role of a Business Analyst has evolved and developed significantly over the past two decades as their skills have become more defined and their jobs more specialised. In particular the past ten years have seen an appreciation grow with regards to the importance of Business Analysts. Businesses are more readily seeking technological solutions for complex business issues; however, the business focus provided by a Business Analyst can often solve these issues without making changes to the technology of the organisation. This is achieved by factors such as improving business processes, making organisational changes and streamlining the organisations’ operations.
To simplify it slightly, a Business Analyst is charged with the responsibility of identifying the necessary business changes, analysing the impact that these changes will have, gathering and documenting the requirements and making certain that these requirements are delivered; all whilst supporting the business throughout the process of implementation. Not only is a Business Analyst required to have the abilities mentioned above, but the business analysis role also entails being able to understand what data can, and must, be used to extract information; as well as the value of that information.
How do I become a Business Analyst?
To become a certified Business Analyst you will need to undergo the relevant training and pass the associated certification exams. There are four levels of training and certification in the career path of a Business Analyst; however, it is not necessary to achieve all four levels of certification to pursue a career as a Business Analyst.
1. Business Analysis Foundation Certification – This certification level provides a broad understanding of the principles, scope and approaches that lead to effective business analysis
2. Business Analysis Practitioner Certification – The Practitioner level of training to become a Business Analyst will expand upon the core areas of business analysis and the subjects in which you have chosen to specialise
3. Business Analysis Professional Certification – This level of certification training for Business Analysts will demonstrate an advanced specialist range of skills and knowledge and will support progression to Expert status
4. Business Analysis Expert and Consultant Certification – These levels are aimed at Senior Business Analysts with a high level of experience who are looking to advance to the Expert Business Analyst certification
The most popular level of Business Analyst training is the Business Analysis Foundation level which will provide a solid basis for a career in business analysis. Some of the topics that are covered in the Business Analysis Foundation training course are:
• The Origins of Business Analysis
• The Scope of Business Analysis work
• The Competencies of a Business Analyst
• The Roles and Responsibilities of a Business Analyst
• External Environment Analysis
• Implementing Strategy
Once you have completed the training course which suits your level of experience and your career goals, you will be required to write, and pass, the relevant certification exam in order to attain your Business Analyst qualification. This will then validate your capabilities as a Business Analyst to current, and future, employers. Given the nature of the Business Analyst role it is essential to ensure that you can prove to employers that you are able to perform in a highly effective and efficient manner.
What can I expect from the Business Analysis Foundation exam?
Once you have completed the Business Analysis Foundation course (which can be done via online learning) you will be prepared to write the Business Analysis Foundation certification exam.
The certification exam for Business Analysis Foundation is a one hour long written exam which comprises of 40 multiple-choice questions. It is a “closed-book” exam with a required pass mark of 64% (26/40). There are three options when it comes to writing your Business Analysis Foundation certification exam:
• With an accredited training provider authorised to provide certification exams
• At a public testing centre such as the BCS London Office
• As a proctored online exam with Pearson VUE
After successfully passing the Business Analysis Foundation certification exam, you will be awarded the internationally recognised Business Analysis Foundation certification from the British Computer Society (BCS).
Who is this certification intended for?
The Business Analysis Foundation certification is aimed at anyone who requires a high level of understanding relating to the role of Business Analyst. It is also beneficial to Business Managers, Project Managers, Change Managers and other roles where the importance of vital business analysis directly impacts what is required of them.
The Business Analysis Foundation certification is also the ideal first step for those who are intending to pursue specialist certifications in the areas of Business Analysis, Business Change and Information Systems Consultancy. Although the Business Analysis Foundation certification is not a prerequisite for progressing to higher levels, it is beneficial to begin with this level of training to ensure that you have a solid understanding of what it means to be a Business Analyst.
Is there a market for Business Analysts?
There are many factors that recruiters consider when looking to fill a job role within an organisation. Many of these can be achieved by gaining the relevant certifications – in this case Business Analysis Foundation. This will reassure potential employers that you have the knowledge and skills that are required to perform the role, it will demonstrate a commitment to the profession, it will give you an advantage over uncertified candidates and it will ensure that you are able to answer interview questions appropriately to display that you are competent and able to do the job that you have applied for.
Although factors such as location, salary expectations and job availability will also have an effect on gaining a Business Analyst position, having the certifications that potential employers are looking for will always put you ahead of the rest when seeking employment.
Organisations are always looking for ways in which to save money, save time and improve their operations so there will always be a need for qualified Business Analysts to assist them in their endeavours. If you are interested in this career path, it is suggested that you spend a little time scanning job adverts in your area to gauge whether Business Analysts are sought after in your particular region – or an area that you would be interested in relocating to. It is also possible to increase your employability by adding other complementary certifications to your CV to widen your range of capabilities. An example of this is to combine your Business Analysis training with a PRINCE2 project management course to become a more well-rounded professional. If you take the time to make an investment in your future, it will pay off.