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My Journey to CBAP - Part 2

Updated on March 5, 2012

Starting the CBAP Application Process

You do not have to be a member to start the process of preparing your application, but it is advisable. Even at this early stage you can start reviewing the IIBA’s Business Analysis Body of Knowledge (BABOK), and to get your hands on this tome you will need to be a member.

Aside from being required to have a full, in depth understanding of the BABOK in order to pass the CBAP exam, it is also a really useful day-to-day manual. So useful in fact, that I have it open pretty much all the time. I find that it is a great memory-jogger, and I like that it keeps me on track. Anytime that I find that I am spinning my wheels I just glance through the BABOK, my focus returns and I am able to continue constructively with the task at hand.

Membership fees are based on your location, and there are 3 different tiers. If you are joining the IIBA for the first time your fee will be anywhere from as little as USD 50 to USD 125 for those falling into Region 1. Considering all of the benefits on offer, this membership fee is well worth it.

The Application Form

The CBAP application form consists of the following sections:

  1. Contact Information
  2. Education
  3. Work Experience
  4. Professional Development
  5. References

For details on what is required in each section check out my previous article: My Journey to CBAP - Part 1.

Grab that Low-hanging Fruit

Getting your Contact Information and Education sections sorted out is pretty straightforward. This part of the application form should take you some minutes to complete, so get to these sections first.

Skilled Up, and Knock Off Another

If you have been on recent, BA-specific training, or you have been actively managing your Business Analyst career, then the Professional Development section should also be easy to complete. The requirement is for 21 hours, so if you are lacking in this section then you should consider taking a short course, attending a set of webinars, or maybe a combination of the two. To formalise my engagement with business analysis I undertook a 6-month diploma, which is complete over-kill, but the course was great to refresh and formalise my understanding of the profession and its requirements.

Again, completing this section once you have the hours backing you is easy and straightforward, but it can certainly take more time than the first two sections discussed.

Trust in People, But Give It Time

The next section, in my order of difficulty, was my References. Choosing references is tricky; you must ensure that the people you select have known you for longer than 6 months. I had recently taken a new job, and this job put some pressure on this selection because I knew that getting the reference back can take some time. But, I was uncertain as to how long it would take me to make up the lacking hours.

In the end I decided to wait it out. I wanted to have current references, in my new role. My reasoning was that these references would be more appropriate. A big BUT here is that I actively engaged my references to complete and submit their forms, thereby making sure that there was no big lag here.

The Heavy Lifting: Accounting for Experience

The toughest part in preparing your CBAP application is accounting for your work experience. If you have been extremely lucky, then you will have a battery of timesheets that you can refer to build a view of your work experience. However, I think that in most cases the best that one can do is to refer back to emails that relate to the various projects one has been involved with. In this case it is very difficult indeed to accurately state work experience hours, especially when the application expects these hours to be apportioned to each of the 6 knowledge areas.

In my next article I will go into my experiences in filling in the application form, and I will present my template.

In the meantime, I suggest that you start going through The Guide to the Business Analysis Body of Knowledge - Version 2.0 Framework. This is a great resource, and you will need to understand the tasks in each BABOK knowledge area in order to apportion your hours correctly.


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