At first, I wanted to tell people how they should go about getting their IIBA certification. But then I thought the best way to do this is by actually telling “how did I achieve my own CBAP?” So, friends here is my story.
I started working as Business Analyst in 2002. I have used multiple elicitation techniques (such as interviewing, workshops, focus groups, etc.) and different requirements analysis techniques such as process modelling, use case modelling, user stories, prototyping, business rules analysis, non-functional requirements analysis, business case development etc. I have had good experience in business analysis projects working for clients worldwide.
By 2011, I already had about nine years of experience in business analysis when I have decided to go for my CBAP certification.
First thing I did was to check if I was eligible to apply for IIBA CBAP certification. So, I studied IIBA CBAP handbook and understood that IIBA evaluates business analysis experience in terms of 6 knowledge areas and I was supposed to have total of 7,500 hours of business analysis work experience and minimum 900 hours in at least 4 knowledge areas to apply for CBAP certification.
So, I studied IIBA BABOK guide version 2.0 and understood various business analysis tasks under each of the 6 knowledge area. This was the latest IIBA BABOK guide at that time. I started analysing my project experience from the IIBA perspective. I have listed down all the projects I have worked in my career and identified different business analysis tasks and activities I have performed and figured out number of hours I must have spent in each of those tasks and activities. I aggregated number of hours as per knowledge area and also calculated total hours of my business analysis experience.
To my surprise, I had well over 7,500 hours of business analysis experience and over 900 hours in all the 6 knowledge areas.
Next thing was to get 2 professional references and out of that one was supposed to be current contact. So, I approached my career manager and explained him benefits CBAP will bring to the organization as well as to me. He gladly agreed to provide recommendation. Next, I approached single point of contact from one of the client organization and he too agreed to provide me recommendations for CBAP certification. I have also contacted various colleagues from past projects and companies and got their buy-in in case IIBA would want to audit my project experience.
Next thing was to ensure I fulfil professional development in terms of contact hours. I understood from CBAP handbook that training can be in any area directly related to business analysis. As I already have had enough business analysis work experience, I thought of attending full time lean six sigma certification training. Please note that the training provider was NOT an Endorsed Education Provider or an EEP and still it was accepted by IIBA. Many people don’t know that IIBA does not mandate training provider to be an EEP but mandates training to be relevant to the business analysis and must be instructor led classroom or virtual live (for CCBA and CBAP application). However, for ECBA application training can be online without instructor.
After attending training, I have submitted online application on the IIBA website. I have provided information such as my education and work history details such as Project Name, Start and End dates, project Description, Total BA hours, Project contact details and various BA activities performed. I have also provided professional training details and two professional references.
After submitting application, I have paid application fee online. Within a week I received confirmation email from IIBA that my application was approved and I am supposed to pass the certification exam in 1 year from the date of approval email.
So I started preparing on my own for CBAP certification. I have studied IIBA BABOK guide at least 4 times. I have correlated concepts in the IIBA BABOK guide to my actual project experience. I have also figured out ways to remember concepts such as involvement of stakeholders and use of techniques in various business analysis tasks. It took me over 6 months to prepare.
Once I was confident I have identified nearest venue available for taking the exam and paid the exam fee.
I have registered and scheduled my CBAP exam for 15-March, 2012.
The exam venue was almost at one and half hour drive from my home and this time was subject to traffic conditions. So, I tried searching for a hotel near exam venue but there was no hotel nearby. So, I have approached a friend whose house was fortunately nearby the exam venue and he gladly agreed to let me stay overnight.
So, I stayed at my friend’s place and next day I reached venue on time. I showed my exam conformation emails and proofs of identification to the exam supervisor. I used provided username and password to logon the exam application.
I started attempting CBAP exam but soon I have started experiencing noise from other desks. I requested people and also to exam supervisor but it was of no use. Just then I remembered that I have ear plugs. Use of ear plug really helped to significantly reduce the noise and let me attempt exam without much disturbance.
I again started attempting questions. I have flagged certain questions for which I was not very confident. After attempting all the questions, I revisited flagged questions and took calculated risks and tried to figure out the best possible answer. After doing this, I still had about 20 minutes so I quickly browsed through all the questions and answers. I found couple of mistakes made while selecting my choice of answers. I made corrections and submitted my answers for evaluation.
Within just 30 seconds, I got message on my screen that I have successfully passed my CBAP exam!
I got email from IIBA confirming the same. I was also informed that my name will be included in list of CBAP recipient on the iiba website and also that I shall receive my certification kit in another 2 months time. I was also told that from now on I was licensed to use CBAP in my name and in my communication.
Well, that was my story and I am sure you too would have yours one day.
All the Best!
By Trividh Patel, CBAP®