Top 10 CBAP Certification Myths And Common Questions


CBAP certification is undoubtedly the most coveted designation globally among the Business analysts.

Even though work experience is one of the requirements of CBAP as a prerequisite, the CBAP examination needs you to have excellent practical knowledge of the business analysis concepts and the ability to relate BABOK knowledge to practical scenarios/cases.

We have come across many CBAP certification myths and misconceptions while interacting with BA professionals.

Here are the top 10 CBAP Certification Myths -

However, there are many myths associated with CBAP certification.

The most common CBAP Certification Myths are as given below:

1. I can’t apply for CBAP® as I had a career break.

This could not be further from the truth. The CBAP® examination is indifferent about any career breaks you may have had. You must have 7500 hours of business analysis experience within the last ten years. As long as you meet the criteria established by IIBA®, you are qualified to take the exam. So don't be concerned if you've had a career break in your work history.

2. I need my official designation as a business analyst to prepare for CBAP®.

One of the most common CBAP Certification myths - I am not called a Business analyst in my organization, can I still pursue CBAP.

The requirement from IIBA® is to have experience regarding business analysis, not necessarily have the designation of Business Analyst. Even if you are officially designated as systems analyst, or project manager, Implementation consultant, Domain SME, Business consultant or something else, as long as you are dealing with the tasks mentioned in BABoK® (which are primarily related to requirements engineering, requirements management, requirements analysis, and strategy analysis), you are perfectly fine to go for CBAP®.

3. I need to learn the BABOK by-heart.

This is an interesting myth. Unfortunately, some training organizations also promote this kind of mindset where they expect one to remember BABOK® by heart. There is NO requirement that you memorise the entire BABOK®. We do advise that you memorise the descriptions and purpose of the Tasks mentioned in your BABOK. This is because sometimes the language can appear tricky so it is best to define them clearly. From that, understanding the general flow for business analysis work, techniques and how they relate to the work, and how to apply BABOK® concepts to a business analysis situation is necessary. So relax - there will be no more frightening thoughts.

4. I will lose money if my application is not approved

Your application will not be processed until it is completely acceptable to IIBA®. So there is no way that one would lose money when applying for the examination. This was the situation when the old certification scheme was there. Stay confident that unless and until you provide all the details that you IIBA® expects you to provide, your application is not going to go to the stage where can pay the application review fees.

5. I can’t appear for CBAP as currently, I am not in a job.

Again one of the most common CBAP Certification myths is that one should be in a job to apply for CBAP. As I already mentioned before, there is no such expectation from IIBA that one has to be in a job to be a CBAP. In fact, achieving the CBAP certification, when you are not in a job or even on a break can actually help you to get back into a BA role than not having the certificate.

6. I need my employer’s experience letter to take up CBAP.

Again IIBA® has no expectation that one would produce any experience letter from the employer. What you need to make sure is that you are in touch with your past project managers or clients who can serve as a reference for your BA experience.

7. I need to complete lower level certifications to go for CBAP.

There is no need for one to complete ECBA and CCBA to go for CBAP. One can go directly for CBAP as long as one meets the criteria mentioned by IIBA.

8. CBAP is simple examination as I use my 15+ years’ experience as a BA for preparation.

This is yet another situation in which people with 15 to 20 years of experience believe they can easily pass CBAP because they have a significant amount of BA experience. A thorough understanding of the BABOK and the exam format is required to pass the CBAP exam..

9. I need to be a graduate to qualify to appear for CBAP

There is no educational requirement in the eligibility criteria for CBAP.

10: Finally the greatest CBAP certification myth, CBAP is useless and only real BA knowledge counts.

This is true for people who have no future career goals, are completely satisfied with their current employer, and do not see the value in personal branding. If you think like this, there is no need for you to invest time and effort in taking CBAP.

The truth is that CBAP certification can indeed add significant value to your BA knowledge and career prospects.

Common Questions

Some of the common questions that I have encountered and my take on them are:

1. As a business analyst, what do you think about the CBAP certificate? Is it a waste of time?

We have worked with 200+ CBAP professionals and have seen them transforming to better roles, transitioning to global opportunities, better salaries.

As per the latest salary survey of IIBA

  • CBAP Certified Professionals earn 16% more
  • There is an 11% increment in salary for certification holders than the overall average salary
  • The expected salary increase is in the range of 15 -20%

There has been a gradual shift in recruiting certified business analysts globally. More and more organizations and business analyst jobs rely on this independent assessment of skills while recruiting.

Especially for experienced working professionals looking to switch into BA role, If you were previously working in IT, your technical software knowledge would definitely come in handy.

The median salary of a CBAPs is in the range of $90–92,000 and IIBA asserts that certified CBAP’s earn around 15% more than non-certified Business Analysts.

Benefits Of CBAP Certification:
  • Be globally recognized for your competency in business analysis.
  • Better job prospects.
  • Better salary.
  • Better career growth
  • Opens door to global career opportunities and fortune 500 organizations
  • Better skilled in BA domain

2. How do I prepare and enrol for CBAP certification?

Once you've decided to pursue CBAP certification based on your career goals, the first step is to review the IIBA's eligibility criteria. 

Second, before registering for the exam and selecting a convenient time slot, get proper training from an established BA trainer. 

Attempting to pass the exam on the first try would be impossible without training, because what you learn in 40 hours of BA coaching would otherwise require 150 hours of self-learning to decode the BABOK, the prescribed book for BA certification exams. 

Furthermore, BA coaching through an EEP (Endorsed Education Provider) provides you with the necessary PDUs (Professional Development Units) to meet the criteria of the various certifications.

3. Which is the best business analyst certification, PMI-PBA or CBAP?

In terms of popularity and acceptance, I would certainly say CBAP is best for a business analyst.

CBAP certification from IIBA has been hugely popular among corporate and individuals across the globe.

Whereas PMI PBA is actually a project management framework and not geared for the profession of business analysis. It focusses more on the project then the role. 

However, coming to numbers –

  • As of Feb 2021, IIBA declares 15000+ CBAP certified professionals.
  • While PMI reports 2000+ PMI PBA certified professionals as of 31 Dec 2017.

But I would suggest going for CBAP if you are considering both as alternatives.

CBAP Recommended -

  • Pure play BA/enterprise level BA and planning to stay in the same path
  • Part of BA Center of Excellence/BA Competency team
  • If your organization has IIBA certifications as part of the competency framework

4. How many hours of study is required for passing CBAP?

About 150/200 hours of study is good enough to prepare for CBAP v3 and get certified.

However, working with a great coach who understands BABOK and has access to a good question bank is a sure path to success.

5. Is it worth taking an IIBA membership?

Yes, if you are a BA who is serious about pursuing a BA career. 

By becoming a member your exam free is reduced which really results in a free membership, and you get access to all the resources including the BABOK Guide. 

The membership includes a plethora of resources such as books, an online library, articles, white papers, and webinars for members only. 

If you see yourself as a product owner, product line head, business unit head, or domain expert in ten years, all of this will be invaluable.

6. How will IIBA verify if I really worked for 7500 hours for taking the CBAP certification?

The IIBA verifies work experience through an application filing and approval process. This procedure is carried out using the project details and references provided. 

The IIBA has the right to audit your application. 

Any discrepancies discovered may result in you being barred from taking the exam or having your certificate revoked later on.

7. Is the CBAP certification useful for business analysts working in Agile methodology?

The new curriculum of BABOK V3 includes a major component of agile methodology in the curriculum for CBAP certification.

BABOK is a good framework for all types of Business Analysts since it covers all the aspects of Business analysis starting from Planning to solution evaluation and strategy analysis.

Hence it's always worth taking up certifications like CBAP considering the professional growth and compensation improvement.

8. What is the complexity of CBAP certification?

It is reasonably complex and requires a very in-depth understanding of concepts to clear the exam

9. How do I know that I am prepared enough for sitting for the exam

When you have gone through BABOK training and understand the concepts and relationships between them, the study portion is mostly complete. Following that, you must use questions to confirm your understanding. Using a good CBAP question bank, begin with KA/chapter-based questions. Once you've scored around 80/85 percent, move on to the exam simulator and aim for another 80/85 percent.

10. What is the pass percentage of CBAP?

The pass percentage for CBAP is not disclosed however if you take a good CBAP simulation set and target for 70/75% then you will be safe and will be likely to pass the test.

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Post sponsored by Agora Insights Ltd 

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