There is a popular story about a frog that sits in his pond forever and believes that his pond is the entire universe. There is a larger, more attractive pond (from the frog’s point of view) quite close, but this guy does not bother to jump.
The point is very simple: we BAs are the frog! We work hard, build relationships, run around to impress our bosses, and try every trick in the book to get that elusive promotion or notch up higher raise in salary. We do this assuming that our company is the world and our boss’s judgement is the only way to measure our professional growth and success. All the while a much larger and better world out there exists. Ribbit! Ribbit! Well it’s time to wake up and not be a frog. We need to do a quick check of our skill level within the industry. But, here lies the bigger problem – someone spending all his / her waking hours within the confines of the same organization and colleagues has no way to know where he stands with respect to his industry peers. The common yardstick is to compare ourselves with that superstar BA within our organization who went places. But, how did he get there? What made him special? Do I have it in me to become like him or even surpass him? Well, one thing is for sure, the superstar BA is not going to tell everyone about how he did it. So, what do we do? I am not saying that certification is the answer to all our professional problems. But it is definitely going to set us up nicely for the future. Here’s how:
1.Differentiation from the masses:
A certified individual stands out from the crowd because of the additional knowledge and skills gained while studying for the certification.
2.Increased self confidence:
The knowledge acquired while appearing for the certification, increases confidence not only about new things that we know, but it also boosts our confidence about the work that we have already done.
Attending pre-exam training, reading BABOK®, solving sample papers, joining study groups and attending seminars / webinars helps us to do a reality check about where we stand. It gives us an excellent platform to evaluate how evolved is our understanding of business analysis tasks, tools and techniques? How much matured are the BA practices adopted by our organization? What are the opportunities for improvement personally and for the organization? Basically, this is our opportunity to jump outside our pond and get a bird’s eye view of the outside world.
From my own experience and what I have heard from my certified students is that post certification, there is a definite improvement in our performance within existing projects and profiles. The improvement comes due to use of better tools, techniques and practices newly learned while preparing for the exam. The enhanced knowledge base helps us in determining and utilizing better ways of doing the same things we did earlier, but now result in much better outcomes.
Elevated standing within the organization:
Our own bosses, management and clients start looking at us with a different perspective. The improved way of working and the visibly enhanced outcomes make them stand up and take notice of our matured professional standing. Many of my certified students have told me that sometime after they got certified, they started getting invites from various forums within their organization to talk about BA best practices. They were also “consulted” regarding the tools, techniques and practices being adopted in new projects and such other company initiatives. Transcend organizational boundaries:
All the knowledge gained during the certification journey may not be applicable only to the organization that we work for. There are many more knowledge seekers out there. Quoting again from my own experience and from my students I have seen that certified individuals start finding avenues to showcase their knowledge and talent. Many people present white papers in seminars, a lot of them write blogs and some try to get the entire BA community alive by arranging meet ups and conferences. I have seen my students transforming from being a nondescript professional working from corner of the office to being BA thought leaders and evangelists.
Showcase commitment to profile & career:
CCBA® / CBAP® certifications require sizable monetary investment, significant commitment, focus and a lot of sacrifices at personal & professional levels. The numbers speak for themselves – despite of being more than 8 years old certification, there are only 5000 odd CBAP®s in world today. So when someone overcomes all these odds and achieves the certificates, it is a clear testimony of that person’s commitment to the profile & his career. Clients, managers and recruiters get impressed by this achievement.
Many of my students have mentioned to me that post the certification, if not immediately, but between 3 months and a year, they have landed up in excellent positions. Such positions and profiles which they believed would not have been achievable for them without the certification.
There is a popular proverb “the proof of the pudding is in eating it”, which roughly means that the real value of something can be judged only from practical experience and not from theory. I and many of my students have tasted the CBAP® pudding and let me tell you, it tastes quite good. You should consider it too.
IIBA®, the IIBA® logo, BABOK® Guide and A Guide to the Business Analysis Body of Knowledge® are registered trademarks owned by International Institute of Business Analysis. Recent Posts Python – Why should I learn What is Business Architecture HOW TO WRITE AN EFFECTIVE APPROACH FOR REQUIREMENT ANALYSIS A COMPREHENSIVE GUIDE TO THE MAJOR BUSINESS ANALYST DELIVERABLES Think you’re a Business Analyst (BA) not a Salesperson