You might have heard of nature vs. nurture debate for most of the human skills and traits. Now add business analysis too on that list. Does my business analysis skill set come by nature or acquired through training?

This was my belief till eight years ago. Meaning, I am good at business analysis and no training or certification can add any value to me. Let us go further back to the year 1991, while I was performing the role of a business analyst for an engineering company. I had various titles except the more relevant title that is a business analyst. I was called as engineering coordinator, liaison officer etc. For that matter, even I did not know that I was performing the role of a business analyst. I thoroughly enjoyed my job as I had great visibility within the company having 1,500 employees. Everyone knows me by name. I moved with the top brass of the company. Over the years, I would say, I gained great confidence that I am an expert in business analysis. In summary, I strongly believed that no one needs to certify me, as I was already a well-qualified business analyst. Things were going fine. I was happily living in my own self-glorified world that 'I am born as a business analyst'. In September 2007, I joined a full-time Executive MBA program in Boston.

Does training and certification matter to a business analyst? I became an engineer after pursuing an engineering degree but became a business analyst without gaining an academic qualification. I became a business analyst because of the title and not by the qualification. India has about 12 lakh business analysts. Out of them, less than a percentage has undergone some form of formal business analysis training and only about 1,050 hold business analysis certifications. It shows that the trained and certified business analysts are not even a minority, but they are very thinly spread within the BA community. I am leaving this to your interpretation. One may think that training and certification are not required to get and sustain a BA job. Others may think that this will help them to master in BA and to differentiate.

Many claims that business analysis is more or less a common sense and does not require any specialized study. Of course, they are correct. Business analysis originated that way like any other profession. All professions have its origin from common sense and philosophy. But over the years, each profession evolved through the addition of knowledge, tools, and techniques. Thanks to the contribution from the academia, thinkers, associations, industries, forums, and communities. Similarly, over the past three decades or so business analysis profession has evolved into a specialized body of knowledge. I repeatedly come across two questions from business analysts. The main purpose of this article is to answer them. Why do I need to undergo a formalized business analysis training? What is the benefit of business analysis certification? Here is the answer:

1. Organisations started looking for a benchmark while hiring business analysts. The certified professionals have met the required standards and passed a rigorous, global examination.

2. For recruiters and hiring managers, it makes their job easy while selecting the certified business analysts.

3. Some of the organizations started demanding their client organizations to have the certified business analyst as a lead business analyst in their projects. This has become a contractual requirement.

4. Organisations use the profiles of certified professionals to project to their clients about their commitment towards excellence in business analysis.

5. Certification and the subsequent recertification requirements help the professional to stay abreast with the evolving trends in business analysis.

6. The last but not the least, certification helps both in getting interview calls and to ace the interviews. Of course, a certified candidate will do much better in an interview as he has undergone a rigorous preparation to pass the examination. In summary, BA training and certification helps both to gain the knowledge and to succeed in the career. 

But the discussion will be incomplete without considering why a business analyst should not go for a formalized business analysis training and certification. After hours of deliberation, I found only one reason. Yes, unless if you are Born as a Business Analyst!

Written by  Veena Tamilvanan