Should I Get Certified? (Current Business Analyst)

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

A question every current 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 the 5 Whys Business Analyst technique, 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 my marketability in order to get that raise/promotion/new job?”

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

Certification programs really grant you two things, a certificate and knowledge.  So what we need to understand is if the target audience, your boss (or future boss), find value in certifications.

I chatted with ten managers, who are responsible for hiring and managing Business Analysts, in reference to if they…

  • Value Business Analyst certifications in non-entry level Business Analyst position hiring decisions
  • Have their raise or promotional decisions influenced by an employee’s achieved Business Analyst certifications

Do Certifications Influence Hiring Decisions?

9 out of the 10 hiring managers said that the certifications have little to no influence in their hiring decisions.  Instead, their selections are based around past work experience, knowledge, and skills related to Business Analysis and whether or not the candidate would have a high likelihood to meet and exceed their customer’s expectations.

With that being said, all 9 of those hiring managers did agree that seeing recognizable* Business Analyst certifications on the candidate’s resume, does positively influence them in wanting to bring them in for an interview.

Conclusion: Based on the results, no certification will aid you in landing the eventual position, but a recognizable* certification can help you get into the interview chair.

*When asked about what certifications they were referring to as recognizable, every hiring manager had a few certificates they listed off.  One common theme emerged.  All of the hiring managers valued certifications given by the International Institute of Business Analysis (IIBA).

Do Certifications Assist in Getting a Raise or Promotion?

All 10 of the managers said their raise and promotion decisions are influenced when Business Analysts continue their education via classes, online training, and obtaining certifications.  But unfortunately the answer isn’t as clear cut as that.  

The two biggest factors in giving a raise or promotion are customer satisfaction and project success rates.  The challenge is, there is no easy or definitive measure to understand if the Business Analyst was able to provide better service to the customers and enjoy more project success because of the training and certification curriculum if it happened by chance.

Conclusion: Based on the results, yes, managers’ raise and promotional decisions are influenced when the Business Analyst continues to enhance their techniques with additional training and learning, but the actual act of getting an actual certification alone has a relatively minor impact on their decision.

In conclusion, while certifications can sometimes play a small role in getting a raise, promotion, or new job, it may be much more beneficial for you to focus your time on online courses and classes that can do a better job teaching you those Business Analyst concepts and techniques, without only driving you towards passing some arbitrary final exam.

Written by Jeremy Aschenbrenner, The BA Guide


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