The best way to become a good Business Analyst

During my last semester, one of my students asked me what courses she should take next, and what were the best certification options to quickly become a good Business Analyst. My first thoughts were targeted at giving her some insights on other interesting courses in her university program, as this information would help her soon, since next semester registration period was about to begin.

However, being in the process of filling up my CBAP form (more on this in a future post), I realized that she was closer than she thought from “officially” being a good Business Analyst, with more than 5 years of experience in the insurance industry. I oriented the discussion around her activities and projects at work, and made her realize that she was already working as a part-time BA.

Other students in the classroom joined our discussion, and many found themselves in the same situation. Their discovery? It doesn’t matter how many courses you take, or how certified you can be, you actually become a good Business Analyst by doing it everyday. Courses and certifications can show you BA tools and techniques, but they are not sufficient to make you a good Business Analyst; you need to learn how and when to use them to do so.

I’ve seen too many people with a Business Analyst title that were not deserving it, not because they lacked training, but because they lacked experience.  On the other side, I worked with many others without a title that were real Business Analysts.

I haven’t realized it until then, but the CBAP/CCBA certfication is crystal clear about this. You need to work through all BABoK knowledge areas as a Business Analyst to become good at it; education and certifications alone won’t allow you to do this.

It could be a good introduction exercise for my students next semester (and for anyone who wants to become a “real” Business Analyst) : read about the BABoK knowledge areas, and figure out which activities you perform in your everyday job. You might realize that you already are on the right path to become a good Business Analyst!

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Have you done the exercise? Share your results in the comments below!

credit: kikashi @

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Eric Provost

Making sense out of chaos as a BA & UX specialist

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