Top 11 Certifications for Business Analysts

Business analysts serve important functions in any organization. They assess the data around business operations, product requirements, performance, and processes to deliver recommendations to teams, leaders, and executives. 

As the word “analyst” suggests, business analysts are data-driven, which means they must have a deep understanding of data gathering, assessment, and reporting. BAs work closely with all technical parts of the business, including IT, product, and finance.

Finding a qualified BA for your teams can be a challenge if you don’t know what to look for. However, there are a number of certifications that demonstrate a BA’s knowledge, technical skills, and capabilities.

Let’s dive into the best business analyst certifications and what each of them demonstrates.

1. Certified Business Analyst Professionals (CBAP certification)

The CBAP certification (also called the International Institute of Business Analysts [IIBA] certification or the IIBA CBAP certification) is one of the most well-known and respected business analyst certifications. A CBAP certification provides an individual with business analysis best practices, professional competence, and dedication to their field.

When one or more employees has a CBAP certification, an organization benefits from their knowledge of industry-standard procedures, efficiency, consistency, and reliable, high-quality results. 

A CBAP-certified professional will be able to help your organization cut costs and delays, effectively manage resources, and gather and outline requirements. When you have someone on your team with a CBAP certification, you know they will bring valuable expertise to your team and your organization. 

2. & 3. Agile Master Certified (SAMC) or Agile Project Management Methodologies 

The Agile framework is becoming popular for many organizations. An Agile-certified business analyst will prove he or she knows the Agile methodology, which relies on adaptive planning and ongoing development and delivery. 

With a working knowledge of the methodology, BAs can easily slot into existing operations and help lead Agile projects. This enables BAs to work seamlessly with product managers and clearly obtain and convey project scopes. 

Agile-certified BAs help keep project requirements intact, deliverables in alignment with requirements, and stakeholders satisfied

4. & 5. Project Management Institute Agile Certified Professional (PMI-ACP) and/or Certified Associate in Project Management (CAPM)

Business analysts play a key role in the project management process: They analyze the project for gaps between business requirements and efficiencies in delivering a solution. This means they also provide valuable advice for how to implement ideas and act as a liaison between project managers, stakeholders, and executives.

The PMI-ACP certification is another badge that will demonstrate a BA’s knowledge in Agile planning, sprints, and methodologies. If your teams are Agile, a BA with Agile experience can easily integrate into your teams and ensure things run smoothly. 

The CAPM certification demonstrates that a business analyst has deep knowledge of the Project Management Institute (PMI) project management processes. That means they can successfully plan and execute projects from scoping to monitoring to implementation. A BA familiar with project management will be able to collaborate more effectively with everyone involved, only furthering your teams’ successes. 

6. Collaboration and Communication

The IIBA defines six core areas of knowledge for business analysts, and one of them is elicitation and collaboration. This means BAs must be adept at engaging stakeholders, forming relationships with them, and working with them to set expectations and establish ownership.

A BA simply cannot do that if they have poor communication skills. 

Becoming certified in communicating across an organization solidifies not just interpersonal skills, but also provides guidance on how to be a facilitator. The certification also involves a number of communication methods, how to choose one, and how to build and leverage interpersonal and organizational awareness.

Really, everyone should get this certification, but we’re talking about business analysts, so we’ll stick to them. 

7. & 8. Microsoft Excel and Power BI

Excel is one of the most standard tools business analysts use. A BA who doesn’t know Excel is quite out of the ordinary.

Business analysts use Excel to run calculations, maintain and analyze information, and report on data. Excel is a tool that helps with centralizing data from different systems, formatting it, and then visualizing it. It also integrates with Microsoft PowerBI, which is another tool that helps model, visualize, and analyze data.

9. Tableau 

Data visualization is an important part of a BA’s job. While data scientists or analysts may be the one's building models, BAs must also understand, glean, and share the information across the organization.

If your organization is one of the many that use Tableau, a BA with Tableau experience is key to their working efficiency. A certification in Tableau shows they know how to connect, explore, manage, save, and share data. They’ll also know how to create dashboards and customize visualizations, so they can use data to tell a story to different stakeholders around your organization. 

10. Python 

A business analyst does not need to be a programmer, but Python is still a valuable tool in their arsenal. Python is used in many analytics solutions, and its open source principles make it relatively easy to learn and implement. 

Python can help BAs with price forecasting or market segmentation or even just automate repetitive tasks like data collection or repeated analyses. An understanding of Python allows BAs to build sequences, implement flow control, and work with files. When they can create Python scripts, read files, and write some code, BAs become more efficient in daily tasks and collaborate at a higher level with technical teams.

11. SQL

SQL is a valuable skill for many in technical roles, but it is especially useful for business analysts. SQL is a language that communicates with relational databases to find, add, delete, or modify information. It’s also fast becoming a standard must-have for business analysts.

BAs benefit from knowing SQL because it allows them to dig deeper into databases to create more detailed, nuanced analyses. It will also help them create reports, understand data flow, and work with technical teams. 

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