Is it a good idea to enroll in a business analyst certificate program?

Is it a good idea to enroll in a business analyst certificate program?

I will be graduating this upcoming semester with a BA in Psychology.

I don’t want to pursue a career in Psychology right away.

I was thinking of enrolling in a business analyst certificate program.

Is it a good idea to pursue this particular field?

Do I need a business analyst certification to become a business analyst?

The business analyst industry is a unique one that does not immediately demand certification to get a job, unlike other professions such as law, accounting or medicine.

The business analyst career requires hands-on experience or real-world business analysis skills.

So whilst a certification would look nice and fancy, years of experience will be more valuable and make you more marketable to hiring managers, for the following reasons:

1. Hiring managers know that some job seekers cheat or cram their way through certification exams.

2. Certifications are not a true representation of an applicant’s actual skill level, expertise and experience.

3. Business analysts without hands-on experience, practical skills and in-depth knowledge cannot perform on the job.

4. You develop practical skills by performing a task repetitively.
For example, you may read about software from a book or study and pass the software certification, but unless you have used your knowledge of the software to answer a business analysis problem, you really don’t have the skill.

5. The purpose of certification is to boost your career following years of hands-on experience and a mastery of the core business analyst knowledge areas.

Certification is a great addition to the resume of someone who has done this, but not before! Certification should not be sought for the sole purpose of getting a job.

6. Authentic certification providers now require a minimum number of verifiable hands-on experience and real-world practical skills before sitting for a certification exam.

For example the Certified Business Analyst Professional Exam (CBAP) requires 5 years real-world business analysis work skills and experience, whilst the Project Management Professional (PMP) certification requires 3 – 5 years verifiable hands-on project management experience.

7. Begin your business analyst career by first getting business analyst training, then gaining hands-on skill and experience, then using your skills and experience on a job and then finally, a certification will be worthwhile!

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2 Responses to "Is it a good idea to enroll in a business analyst certificate program?"

  1. MavistheMaven   November 29, 2010 at 9:29 am

    I’ve never heard of a business analyst certificate program, but it does sound like a good idea. Business analysts are used in IT projects, liaising between the client and the software company. For example, a business analyst might analyze workflow at the client site so that a software company can design a database or configure their application for a client. Money is good, but there can be extensive travel.

    A little more info on what’s covered in the cert program would be helpful.

  2. Trenade   September 1, 2011 at 5:56 am


    Reading the 7 points above … it makes perfect sense to me, HOWEVER, there is one thing that I would like advice or feedback on … HOW does one START to get into a BA job/training environment without ANY sought of BA qualification or certification?

    PS – I’m an Engineer in the Telecommunications industry(actually I am more like a software engineer/tester) and I am currently applying for BA positions(ie. Junior ones) and it is difficult to get a break or even an interview).

    PSS – I hate when recruiters act as ‘know-it-alls’ when in fact the company itself is willing to consider applications;-D


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