Are you about to start a career in the business analysis world? Are you gradually getting to know the secrets of this field and looking for something that can prove your current knowledge? Or perhaps, you want to stand out on the job market and get a lot of likes on your Linkedin profile. If one of the above reasons is close to your heart, it means that the ECBA is for you.

What is the ECBA and how can it be useful to you?

The ECBA (Entry Certificate in Business Analysis) is a certificate issued by the IIBA (International Institute of Business Analysis) – an organization that defines standards of business analysis and brings all its enthusiasts together from all over the world.

The certification is mainly addressed to aspiring business analysts and covers basic topics within the scope of this broad area.

 

How do you benefit from getting certified?

I promise you that the time spent on getting ready for the certification exam will not be for nothing.

First of all, you’ll gain a massive amount of knowledge that you’ll use on many occasions in your work. Secondly, you’ll gain qualifications that will increase your chances on the job market and will be a solid motivation to ask for a pay rise at your current company. Thirdly, I assure you that passing an exam will give you immense satisfaction and make you feel proud of your own achievements 🙂

 

How to take the certification exam?

Have I convinced you? Are you going to give it a try? Start from going to the iiba.org page where you’ll find all information on certifications offered by the organization and activities you should take to get certified. The first step is to create an account. After choosing the certification you want to gain, the page will ask you to provide hours devoted to studying (in the case of the ECBA, it’s 21 hours), check required consents, and make a payment for the application (45$) and exam (350/150$ – depending on whether you are a member of the IIBA). Once the payment has been credited to your account, you can choose a preferred exam date and time. From my own experience, I encourage you to start this procedure about two weeks before your plans to take the exam because some activities might take longer than expected.

 

Important! Before taking the exam, find out whether your company can support you in your professional development and cover the costs of the certification. Craftware does this, of course 🙂 It’s a mutual benefit – both for the employee and employer who, in that way, gains a certified specialist in their ranks!

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What is the exam like?

The exam is made up of 50 multiple-choice questions and lasts an hour. It’s conducted online via the IIBA website. Before the test, there are so-called setup activities – you need to show an examiner your identity card, the room in which you are along with a ceiling and floor as well as your desk, hands, ears, glasses (if you wear them), a glass of water, and a blank piece of paper.

How to study for the exam?

The BABOK Guide (a Guide to the Business Analysis Body of Knowledge), a well-known bible of business analysis, provides the core curriculum. It has 11 chapters, but luckily, not all of them fall within the scope of the exam. Below, you’ll find the list of obligatory areas along with the information on the percentage of the test they cover.

Prepare a study plan and choose methods that work best for you. I believe that, in the techniques described below, you can find something for visual, audio, and kinesthetic learners. To make your task easier, break down the studying of given chapters over a number of days (I spent 1-2 days for shorter chapters, about 3-4 days for longer chapters, and additional days for revisions and taking tests).

Regardless of whether you’re going to study on your own or in a group, it’s important that you read the required BABOK Guide chapters. I’ll tell you my tactics (I am convinced it’s not only my approach). While reading, in the first place, I translated phrases that were not familiar to me and highlighted the most important pieces of information. Then, I took notes (in a written or graphical form) of each chapter I had read. I consolidated my knowledge by practicing with flashcards. However, what contributed most to improving my learning outcomes was an internal training organized by Craftware. I studied together with other people getting ready for the certification exam. Two times a week, we prepared presentations on different chapters and discussed more difficult topics. If, currently, your company doesn’t offer a similar initiative, try to propose such a solution and see whether others would be interested in it.

Remember that you can always take online courses available on the internet. I can recommend the following websites: analizait.pl and techcanvass.com.

Exam tips & tricks

  1.  Do not rush.
    Take the exam only when you feel that your knowledge level is adequate. Don’t get certified as soon as possible and don’t put too much pressure on yourself. It’s important that you study the whole material thoroughly and feel confident.
  2. Remember to rest.
    Honestly, an excessive amount of knowledge can be overwhelming. I don’t know a person who, while studying for the exam, wouldn’t complain about a backache 🙂 Short breaks and stretches can help you survive long sessions.
  3. Prepare your exam place.
    Before the exam, you’ll receive an email with setup instructions. Do not leave everything at the last minute and try to get your place ready earlier. Check whether your laptop works properly, clean your desk, and have your identity card, a blank piece of pager, a pen, and a glass of water ready with you.
  4. Get control over stress.
    On the exam day, try not to nervously look into your notes. Instead, have a good breakfast, relax, and listen to some music that will put you in high spirits.
  5. Do not give up.
    Don’t worry if you don’t pass the exam at the first attempt! Tomorrow is another day and, after a short break, you’ll gather strength to try again 🙂

 

You’re certified and then what?

Have you gone through the exam? Does your certificate hit the likes record on Linkedin? Congratulations! Then, I have another incredibly important piece of advice for you. Have some rest! You have done a pretty good job for which you should reward yourself :)! And if you’re about to take the exam – I keep my fingers crossed!

 

Author

  • Alicja Metlerska
  • Junior System-Business Analyst
  • She has been working for Craftware for 1.5 years. Previously, she worked in the insurance industry for five years. She is constantly trying to develop in the field of business analytics and gain new experience. In her free time, she reads reports and books on psychology. She loves to explore new places and tastes, so she tries to travel as much as possible and try local cuisines from different countries.

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