2019: The Year of the CBAP®

I rarely make predictions but I’m going to make one this year: I think 2019 will be the year of the CBAP! I predict the number of CBAPs will grow significantly and the demand for this certification will become the rule rather than the exception. There are several reasons I am making this prediction, let me know if you agree.

What is a CBAP?

IIBA®’s Certified Business Analysis Professional® (CBAP) is a rigorous, comprehensive award earned by experienced, knowledgeable business analysis professionals. People applying for this certification must have at least 7500 hours of business analysis experience, business analysis education,  and have two recommendations from managers or other CBAPs. The exam covers the IIBA’s Business Analysis Body of Knowledge® which is an extensive standard including business analysis tasks, techniques, and deliverables. The exam is a competency based exam, meaning that it tests a candidate’s ability to assess complex situations and choose the correct task, technique or make a judgement about how best to bring business value.

Photo by Dmitrii Vaccinium on Unsplash

Reason 1: IIBA Certifications have reached a Tipping Point

There are now over 10,000 people who have an IIBA certification, the significant majority of which are CBAPs. The success of any certification shows in the number of people earning it along with the number of employers looking for it. A search of jobs mentioning CBAP show that every major job board site includes openings for people holding the CBAP certification. Making my prediction occurred to me when emails started coming in with job openings in South Carolina looking for CBAPs! South Carolina is a small state without many corporate IT centers. If a small market like South Carolina recognizes the value of CBAP, word has really gotten out! (In 2018 the Palmetto State IIBA Chapter formed to support the growing number of business analysis professionals working here!).

Reason 2: Agile Doesn’t work without an Analyst

Most companies report moving to agile software development approaches, but failures are as common as successes. Agile proponents have realized the importance of having an analyst on every team. IIBA also offers an Agile Analyst certification (IIBA-AAC®) recognizing analysts who work effectively on these teams.

Reason 3: BABOK Guide v3

Version 3 of the BABOK has been available for 3 years so many BAs have had a chance to get familiar with it and develop a study plan. There are study groups at many IIBA chapters, there are several EEPs who offer exam prep materials so candidates have more help than ever to get their certification.

Reason 4: Data is Back

I’ve always pushed BAs to learn to elicit data requirements and use entity relationship diagramming to model logical, business data. With the focus on data analytics and business intelligence, understanding data structures is now recognized as a critical value. CBAPs know the value of data requirements, business rules and their relationships to data and can review a database design to make sure business needs are met.

Reason 5: The Need for Strong BAs Continues to Grow

Most organizations now have roles for business analysis and they have recognized the value of people who think critically and facilitate detailed conversations. As our systems continue to get more complex, we need more and more people who can dig into big, unstructured problems and bring modeling and structured techniques to the task.

Research companies are predicting the number of business analysis positions is growing exponentially and certifications help differentiate candidates. CIO magazine listed CBAP as one of the certifications which will advance your career.


But almost anyone can say they are a BA. Business Analysis skills include common categories like communication skills and critical thinking which many people include on their resumes. Most employers don’t completely understand the subtly of language about requirements and analysis skills. Having a CBAP certification makes it easy for hiring managers to quickly sift through resumes and find yours.

Join the Thousands

CBAPs bring considerable value to their organizations and organizations are looking for more people who know how to THINK.  I’ll set a measurable goal for my prediction (since CBAPs know the importance of having measurable objectives). By 2020 I expect there will be 15,000 CBAPs. If you have been considering earning your CBAP, do it in the Year of the CBAP!


1 thought on “2019: The Year of the CBAP®”

  1. “Agile doesn’t work without analysis” – true that! Good to see we’re still thinking alike. Have a great 2019!

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