Which is the best certification for business analysts? Is it PMI-PBA® or CBAP® or Certified Scrum Product Owner? – It is one of the most frequently asked questions which I used to receive from Business Analysis certificate aspirants. There is a growing demand for product owners and business analysts have an alternate career to adopt. Overall, there is a lot of confusion and miscommunication about the prospect of business analysts and certificates to choose from.
On June 11, 2017, I met with Abhijit Maity who has successfully cracked both the certificates. It was an opportunity for me to uncover answers to FAQs in choosing either one of the certificates.
I started the discussion to know few words about him so that business Analysis certificate aspirants can relate their rationale behind doing these certificates.
Here is our discussion for the top FAQs in choosing PMI-PBA® or CBAP® certificate:
My Question: Abhijit, our audience needs a brief introduction about you.
Abhijit: Hello, I am Abhijit Maithy. I am from project management. I started my career from operations in the petrochemicals refinery. From operations, I ventured into engineering, afterward, I moved into project management.
I have executed various roles in the project management, starting from engineering management, design coordination, project engineering, then business development focal point. And finally, I got extensive experience in business analysis during last six months
So covering my span of experience of 11 years, I had various portfolios, different projects and I reported various structures in the organizations.
In the mean time parallel, I uplifted myself by gaining my certifications. First I got PMP®. Since then I started many certifications – and recently did PMI-PBA® and CBAP®. That’s I am.
My Question: How do you compare PMI-PBA® from CBAP® from the fundamental eligibility point of you?
Abhijit: If you see PBA® and CBAP®, both are gold certificates, and no one can deny the importance of one over another. And from the certification eligibility point of you:
For Bachelors degree holders PMI-PBA® requires 4500 hours of experience in last eight years. Out of 4500 hours, 200 hours have to be working in projects. If you are PMP® certified, these 2000 hours are already considered.
- While in CBAP®, you need 7500 hours of experience after your bachelor’s degree. These hours have to be counted in last ten years. Also while filling up the form, you need two references for CBAP®. These two references have to weigh your experience. With all these details, the application is submitted for the approval.
And regarding certification, PMI-PBA® targets those who are doing business analysis in the project environment. But, CBAP® is more at the enterprise level; here the role is not limited to the project management.
My understanding based on Abhijit answer: What I got, eligibility criteria’s for CBAP® are more stringent compared to the PMI-PBA®. And for the PMI-PBA®, the total 4500 hours can be as follows:
- You can report all 4500 hours in doing business analysis in the project environment.
- In case you are also reporting pre-project and post-project business analysis, please note that you can report only 1500 hours out of 4500 hours. The reason is, you need to report at least 2000 hours in doing business analysis in the project environment.
My Question: Why you did PMI-PBA® certification? And how it added value to your work?
Abhijit: I am already PMP®, and I was working in project management, I worked with project managers, project directors. There is a bit interesting story – in 2011-2013 the business analysis concepts was very new. Whatever I did since after 2013, counted more towards business analysis. So I wanted a certification to weigh my experience, that’s why I did PMI-PBA® certification.
My Question: Now you are CBAP® also, how do you differentiate CBAP® from PMI-PBA®?
Abhijit: As I already told you CBAP® is for enterprise level, it does not address specifically project management level Business Analysis. What I say, In PMI-PBA® there are total five domains, and in CBAP® there are total six domains. I am not differentiating these five by six. I will point out few striking differences. For example, you can see the ‘Need Assessment’ in the PMI-PBA® assesses the Project Need using project selection process. Here the focus is on particular project selection. In CBAP®; these domain activities are covered in the “Business Analysis Planning and Monitoring” there what happens, even before the project is selected, Business Analyst work in choosing potential few projects to solve the Business Needs That’s is the starting difference.
The second is: If you see the solution evaluation in the PMI-PBA®, it jots down few quality assurance activities related to the Business Analysis. But for the CBAP® examination, Solution Evaluation is constrained to enterprise limitation where we lack. And strategic analysis in CBAP® points out what are the needs of the organization at the strategic level.
Plus, another difference is that Elicitation and analysis are covered in one domain in the PMI-PBA®. In CBAP®, Elicitation and Analysis are included in separate domains respectively.
The reason for this segregation of domains in both of these certificates, CBAP® is more at the corporate level, and PMI-PBA® is more towards Business Analysis for a project. In Corporate level Business Analysis, business Analyst assists the higher management in selecting few projects; it can solve their business needs.
My understanding based on Abhijit answer: PMI-PBA® is good for Business Analysis at the project level. Most of the tasks in the PMI-PBA® content outline aligns with the activities within the project environment. PMI-PBA® is also useful for those project managers who are in the hybrid PM/BA role as many activities overlap with project management.
CBAP® is a pure business analysis certificate, and the linkage with the project management is not needed because the primary emphasis is at the corporate level business analysis.
Abhijit again added: in support of your point, in PMI-PBA® there are few collaboration points for many activities in the project where Business Analysts and Project Mangers advised to work together. But in CBAP® these concepts are not there. CBAP® is more at the higher level. But it does not mean that it does not support project management completely. Suppose, in a company a project is already selected, you can use principles of CBAP® at the higher level, like in discovering gaps in current state and desired state those things can be used as a reference point, but these are not described in detail at the project level.
I reiterate the understanding based on what Abhijit Added: The main focus in CBAP® is corporate level business analysis, and the primary focus of PMI-PBA® is business analysis within the project. Still, some concepts of CBAP® can be visualized in projects as well. Also, PMI-PBA® includes separate domains both for pre-project analysis (Need Assessment) and post-project analysis (Evaluation)
My Question: You have also earned PMP® certification, people who visualized from our discussion that PMI-PBA® is the right certification for them. Then what you feel about a combination of having both PMP® and PMI-PBA® over only having CBAP®?
Abhijit: Professional who are already having PMP®, and since they are already working on projects, if they get PMI-PBA® certification – They will understand the pain points of Business Analysis activities better. If you see the collaboration points, which I already told you – these help project manager to know in which activities the collaboration with Business Analyst is needed. The grounding of basics with business analysis activities becomes much better.
I suggest professionals who are already having PMP® certificate; they should go for PMI-PBA®. It will help them to execute the project much better.
Second, you have already climbed the ladder, and if you want to grow at not only at the project level but also at the corporate level, where you can realize two-three projects at a time under specific portfolio. When you select projects at the corporate level, you can visualize better, what problem I am going solve for the corporate. In this case, you should go for CBAP®, but after PMP to start with PMI-PBA® is a good certificate.
My understanding based on Abhijit answer: If I summarize, from all the discussion, CBAP® is a good certificate for those who are dreaming Business Analysis at the strategic level above projects. If I talk about PMI-PBA®, it is a good certificate for those who are doing business analysis at the project level. And professionals certified by PMI like PMI-ACP®, PMP®, and PgMP® will find doing PMI-PBA® more natural and smooth to earn.
Abhijit added: Yes, and if you are more enthusiastic about business analysis, also if you have more time – I would suggest you take both the certificates. That will end your thirst in the Business Analysis.
Friends, I hope my talk with Abhijit will support you to know basic differences between CBAP® and PMI-PBA® certification. iZenBridge is the Registered Education Provider in providing PMI-PBA® online training. For more details of iZenbridge online course, you may visit: http://www.izenbridge.com/pmi-pba/online-course/
The course is absolutely for you if you are ready in doing PMI-PBA®, let’s do this TOGETHER, we have 24/7 forum support and alternate Saturday Live Sessions support.
Let’s listen to the whole discussion in following YouTube Video: