It is common that a newbie business analyst finds that he or she is unskilled at dealing with the challenges of the occupation. It is a great idea to look for training to understand the real-world landscape of IT project lifecycle, where and how a business analyst fits and career advancement. The goal of this article is to provide a large-picture, across-the-globe view of the different training options available.
Academic setting: The number of academic institutions offering courses in business analysis has been increasing steadily. Although business analysis is one of the younger occupations, many colleges are modernizing the MS-CS and MS-CIS curriculums to include more of this domain.
In an academic setting, it would take longer to “complete” the course than in a certification-focused setting. However, due to the academic bent of course in bigger institutions it opens up many avenues at one time for a business analyst — the practice of BA, the current research on BA as well as the current “teaching” methodology for BA. So, if you have not yet decided whether you want to just practice the occupation, if you aspire to be a college instructor or if there is a budding researcher in you, then it might be worth your while to enroll in a degree-granting business analysis course at the bachelor’s or master’s levels.
Certification-oriented industry-setting training: The IIBA offers two certifications for business analysts. The Certified Business Analysis Professional™ (CBAP®) designation is a professional certification for individuals with extensive business analysis experience. The Certification of Competency in Business Analysis™ (CCBA®) designation honors the essential competencies of a business analyst.
These training programs teach the techniques for ensuring project requirements succeed at every step of the software development lifecycle — from authoring business case, to conducting stakeholder analysis, to identifying and analyzing requirements, to ensuring that the final project product meets the requirements identified by business analysis. Most of these programs follow the competency-based IIBA format. If you are a practicing business analyst, and are desirous of upgrading your skill-set and aiming to train while holding a full-time job, certification-oriented industry-setting training might be appropriate for you. An added advantage is that after this training a business analyst, already prepared for the certification exam, can decide to take the exam right away, or not.
Advanced competency-oriented specialty training: A business analyst with a few years of work experience often feels the need to specialize in one area of business analysis — requirements engineering, business process modeling, enterprise analysis, information engineering, data modeling, use case analysis and modeling, etc. For such professionals, advanced competency-oriented specialty training might be a good solution. Occasionally, these advanced courses are combined with industry-specific “crash-courses,” which equip a business analyst with domain knowledge as well.
There are two aspects of a business — the basics always remain the same — the domain and the function. Domain indicates the industry in which a professional is working — for example health care, automobile, airline, etc. Function indicates the service — for example IT, business analysis, finance, operations, etc. Training in the function of business analysis applies across domains.
Business Analysis Training