Should I Get Certified? (Aspiring Business Analyst)

This blog post is intended for the aspiring Business Analyst. Click here if you are interested in understanding if certifications benefit a current Business Analyst.

A question every aspiring Business Analyst has asked themselves at some point, “Should I get certified?”  The logical next step is to do a search for Business Analyst certifications.  With the results generating a never ending list of certification acronyms, PMI-BA, CCBA, BCS, CSBA, CBAP, etc., the search creates more questions than it answers.

In the end, the issue wasn’t our search results, but instead it was our question.  Using a Business Analysis technique called 5 Whys, we can break down our question to find the root problem.  The question we are trying to answer isn’t, “Should I Get Certified,” but instead, “Will getting certified increase the likelihood that I get hired as a Business Analyst?”

Not an aspiring Business Analyst? Find out why you should be! 

Now that we have our question further defined, let’s dig in.

The most important person to impress with your resume is the hiring manager.  While hiring managers will have differing opinions, everyone that I have worked with over the years, as well as myself, don’t put much, if any, weight on certifications.  

Seeing certifications on resumes show that you simply have the ability to pass an exam, but it does not prove you can take the knowledge that was taught and apply it to real world, practical scenarios. 

Another challenge from a hiring manager’s perspective, is many times, we have no idea what is covered as part of that certification course and exam.  Just as many students find the sheer number of certifications confusing, so do the hiring managers.  And being in their shoes, I have to admit, rarely do I go look up the certification if it isn’t familiar to me.  I may make a mental note to ask the candidate about the certificate and what it entailed, but in truth, many times I forget to bring it up.  It simply isn’t important.

Now don’t get me wrong, certifications are not all bad.  Many certification programs do a good job to introduce you specific techniques or skills that you can utilize on your projects.  And while a hiring manager may not recognize or take note of the certification acronym on your resume, you may be able to grab their attention with your level of knowledge and understanding of concepts taught within that certification program.   

So to answer the question, “Will getting certified increase the likelihood that you get hired as a Business Analyst?”  It isn’t likely.  Instead, focus your searches to online courses and classes that can do a better job teaching you those foundational concepts and techniques, without only driving you towards passing some arbitrary final exam.

Written by Jeremy Aschenbrenner,  The BA Guide

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