You might have heard of nature vs. nurture debate for most of the human skills and traits. Now add business analysis too in that list. Does my business analysis skill set come by nature or acquired through training?
I am born as a business analyst
This was my belief till eight years ago. Meaning, I am good at business analysis and no training or certification can add any value to me. Let us go further back to the year 1991, while I was performing the role of a business analyst for an engineering company. I had various titles except the more relevant title that is business analyst. I was called as engineering coordinator, liaison officer etc.
For that matter, even I did not know that I was performing the role of a business analyst. I thoroughly enjoyed my job as I had great visibility within the company having 1,500 employees. Everyone knows me by name. I moved with the top brass of the company. Over the years, I would say, I gained great confidence that I am an expert in business analysis. In summary, I strongly believed that no one need to certify me, as I was already a well qualified business analyst.
Things were going fine. I was happily living in my own self-glorified world that 'I am born as a business analyst'. In September 2007, I joined a full-time Executive MBA program in Boston. During a casual chat with my management professor, he told me to explore business analysis certification from IIBA, Canada. As I have a very high regards for him, I invested sometime to explore and got a copy of BABOK. My whole belief system underwent a rude shock when I went through BABOK. Whatever I knew in business analysis so far, looked like a peanut in front of a watermelon. This prompted me to go for the CBAP certification in the subsequent year.
Luckily, I came out! But are you still living in a self-glorified world?
Does training and certification matter to a business analyst? I became an engineer after pursuing an engineering degree, but became a business analyst without gaining an academic qualification. I became a business analyst because of the title and not by the qualification. India has about 12 lakh business analysts. Out of them, less than a percentage has undergone some form of formal business analysis training and only about 1,050 hold business analysis certifications such as CBAP, CCBA and ECBA. It shows that the trained and certified business analysts are not even a minority, but they are very thinly spread within the BA community. I am leaving this to your interpretation. One may think that training and certification is not required to get and sustain a BA job. Others may think that this will help them to master in BA and to differentiate.
Many claim that business analysis is more or less a common sense and does not require any specialised study. Of course they are correct. Business analysis originated that way like any other profession. All professions had its origin from common sense and philosophy. But over the years, each profession evolved through the addition of knowledge, tools and techniques. Thanks to the contribution from the academia, thinkers, associations, industries, forums and communities. Similarly, over the past three decades or so business analysis profession has evolved into a specialised body of knowledge. International Institute of Business Analysis (IIBA), Canada officiated BABOK v3 in 2016 in which thousands of professionals contributed for its development. Even if one where to dedicate one's lifetime this amount of knowledge cannot be compiled.
I repeatedly come across two questions from business analysts. The main purpose of this article is to answer them. Why do I need to undergo a formalised business analysis training? What is the benefit of business analysis certification? Here is the answer:
- Organisations started looking for a benchmark while hiring business analysts. Certifications like CBAP and CCBA assure that the certified professionals have met the required standards and passed a rigorous, global examination.
- For recruiters and hiring managers, it makes their job easy while selecting the certified business analysts.
- Some of the organisations started demanding their client organisations to have the certified business analyst as a lead business analyst in their projects. This has now became a contractual requirement.
- Organisations use the profiles of certified professionals to project to their clients about their commitment towards excellence in business analysis.
- Certification and the subsequent recertification requirements help the professional to stay abreast with the evolving trends in business analysis.
- Someone who undergoes the training in BABOK and subsequently attains the credential, gains end-to-end knowledge in business analysis. This will reflect in the way business analysis projects are managed.
- The last but not the least, certification helps both in getting interview calls and to ace the interviews. A BA recruiter cannot afford to ignore a resume that has CBAP or CCBA in it. Of course, a certified candidate will do much better in an interview as he has undergone a rigorous preparation to pass the examination. In summary, BA training and certification helps both to gain the knowledge and to succeed in the career.
But the discussion will be incomplete without considering why a business analyst should not go for a formalised business analysis training and certification. After hours of deliberation, I found only one reason. Yes, unless if you are Born as a Business Analyst!
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Venkadesh Narayanan is the Principal Consultant at Fhyzics Business Consultants Pvt. Ltd. with over 25 years’ experience in business consulting, business analysis, process improvement, supply chain and new product development. He is a mechanical engineer and an MBA worked for several organizations in India, USA and Canada prior to joining Fhyzics. He is a former Indian Civil Servant [IRAS 2000 Batch] and served in Ministry of Railways, Government of India. You can find some of the videos of Venkadesh Narayanan on various topics in our YouTube Channel Business Analysis Digest and also feel free to connect with him through LinkedIn.
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