Future Proof Yourself - Certification Takes Center Stage

Analysis skills are increasingly critical for many jobs and careers, not just those with analyst in the title.

Analysis skills are increasingly critical for many jobs and careers, not just those with analyst in the title.

Lights! Curtain! Analysis! “Analysis: the new musical” won’t be hitting Broadway anytime soon but analysis skills are taking center stage at companies everywhere. Now analysis skills are essential to almost every role in an organization, and companies are looking for team members that have these skills. 

Analysis for Everyone

In a Garner LinkedIn April 2017 study, job descriptions were focused less on traditional roles (such as Business Analyst, Project Manager, or Systems Analyst) and focused more on specific skills with Analysis as one of the top 5 most sought after skills. Siloed roles are going away, but that isn’t happening to the skills behind those job titles. Bernard Marr, Contributor for Forbes Magazine writes, “Even just five years from now, more than one-third of the skills we believe are essential for today's workforce will have changed according to the Future of Jobs Report from the World Economic Forum.” Even with big changes to skills needed in the future workplace, Analysis skills are not only staying - they are getting more critical to employers. Job candidates need strong Analysis skills to compete in future job markets.

The analysis skill set is critical to organizations because critical thinking, process, data, and strategic analysis tasks that were typically performed by the Business Analyst role are being distributed across team members. The future workplace is leaning towards everyone performing Analysis with a certified Analyst facilitating and coaching teams to understand Analysis tools and techniques.

Alison Doyle, at gbalancecareers.com, writes that Analysis is a crucial component skill every business person should have. Organizations need analysis skills at every level performing data, process, SWOT, and market analysis to survive. Matthew Lombardi, Head of External Talent Solutions, BMO Financial  Group agrees, “With Business Leaders focusing on third-party platforms, open systems and APIs, a new role of business analysis is emerging. Organizations are seeing an increased need for business analysis.” 

Most business solutions are complex designs that combine data, process, and systems together to delight customers.

Most business solutions are complex designs that combine data, process, and systems together to delight customers.

Today’s Business Solutions Need Analysis

Contradicting the trend towards a mindset of less Analysis is better, Analysis continues to prove itself out as the key to successful products. Understanding what a customer wants - before they even know they want it – makes or breaks a product. Analysis plays a crucial role in helping to determine not only what a customer is looking for today but what they would want in the future. Having the skill set to use analysis techniques that can collaboratively drive out existing customer needs is vital for teams. Analysis skills can show you how to think futuristically and not just in the current moment.

Products in the modern world are complex and typically are integrating several systems, various data sources, and business rules to create a seamless customer experience. Analysis plays a critical role in not only understanding how it works, but how it could work. Utilizing proven analysis techniques drives significantly better product outcomes.

As organizations continue to embrace third-party tools and services such as Amazon web services, IBM Cloud Services, Microsoft Cloud, and Salesforce.com. Deployment of these types of solutions require strong analytical skills to ensure they are successful. Analysis certified team members with gap and capability analysis skills show their value in driving these types of solutions to better outcomes with modern Analysis techniques.

Data and AI are continuing to push employers to find candidates with solid, proven Analysis skills. McKinsey Digitalsees business as the enabler for using big data to create significant business innovation. “Big data will become a key basis of competition, underpinning new waves of productivity growth, innovation, and consumer surplus—as long as the right policies and enablers are in place.” The enablers are employees with analytical skills that are needed to support innovation. 


Finding Candidates with Analysis Skills Is Difficult

As employers look for employees with analysis skills, the job interview isn’t proving effective for discovering who has Analysis skills. Proving out a candidate’s analysis expertise is difficult. Certification is one way to differentiate one candidate from others because it shows that Analysis skills were tested and proven out. It shows the candidate has a solid understanding of internationally recognized standards for Analysis and can utilize analysis techniques effectively.

Hiring managers are very interested in hearing real-life examples of how a candidate utilized business analysis skills in the past, but they also appreciate having it proven to them by a highly objective source that you possess those Analysis skills. Certification, like the ECBA from IIBA, shows an employee has an understanding of Analysis skills and best practices. 


Certification Brings Higher Salaries

A foundational Business Analyst certification will equip you with competencies that can open up a whole new world of opportunity. According to the IIBA 2018 Annual Business Analysis Salary Survey, an entry-level certification like ECBA can add $5,300k more per year to your salary. More advanced certifications like CBAP can add 11% or more to your current salary. Money isn’t everything in a job, but a little extra cash in the paycheck isn’t a bad thing.

Certification leads to higher salaries because employers see the benefit of the certification and are willing to negotiate higher salaries to attract and keep those employees with certified skill sets.

Analysis Certification can open the door to many new work possibilities.

Analysis Certification can open the door to many new work possibilities.

Certification is Life Changing

Certification does a whole lot more than give you a nice bump in salary and make you more sought after by employers. It’s about building a robust and strong “you.” A colleague once told me over lunch, “I’ve got a hundred certifications, but the only one anybody ever cares about is my analysis certification from IIBA.” An instructor from The Uncommon Leaguechimed in, “Doors open, and I get better contracting assignments and more fulfilling work with my certification.”

Certification can bring you a whole new world of more fulfilling and exciting opportunities that otherwise might not be available to you. Certification demonstrates your ability to lead yourself through the certification process and tells a story of your dedication to the analysis field. This dedication shows employers you are serious about utilizing and maintaining your analysis skills. 

Let’s start your certification path today. Even if you don’t know where you are going to be in 5 years, it’s a sure bet that analysis skills are going to be on the top of the list of skills future employers are going to be looking for in candidates. 


Build Your Plan

Certification in any field does take time and effort. Not everyone is the same when it comes to choosing the certification path, but it generally involves some studying, applications for exams, and of course, the exam itself. Bob Prentiss CBAP®suggests these points in putting together your plan:

1.    Permit yourself. Saying the words “I’m going to get certified in analysis,” out loud commits your mindset to achieve the certification. Decide to pursue certification and then give your permission to start.

2.    Know the path. Getting analysis certification requires you to follow a pretty straightforward path. It’s best to know the steps you have to make before you make them. Being the impressive analyst you are, you are will naturally ask questions about the steps for certification. Talk with others that have completed the process to get a better perspective on the certification process or visit the certification website for more information.

3.    Plan to Set Aside Time. Certification takes a little effort so you will need to set aside time in your schedule for completing the tasks in the certification process. The best approach is to schedule time on your calendar every day. Even as little as 30 minutes a day makes a big difference. Use this time for submitting the application, studying on your own, or collaborating with others in a study group.

4.    Study Group Collaboration. You can undoubtedly study on your own, but several studies have shown that learning together is a more powerful learning experience, and you will retain more of the information when compared to just studying alone. Create or find a group that supports your certification efforts. Study groups can help you handle frustration or needing to understand an analysis technique more clearly.

5.    Prepare and Mock Test. In preparing for the exam, the best course of action is taking sample certification tests. These help you understand how the questions are formulated and help you know which topics to focus on in your studying. You will be more confident in having completed a few mock exams. Focus on the areas of the mock exam where you didn’t’ get the questions right. Pull out those analysis skills and figure out why you answered the question wrong and put that topic on a list for you to study in more depth. If you’re getting a topic right consistently, you won’t need to focus your studying on that topic.

6.    Support Your Success. Asking for support is an integral part of the journey. As with any project, you might want to consider getting yourself a champion. Your champion sits in your corner as your cheerleader. They also help you keep focus and on the path to certification.

Analysis will continue to be a high demand skill in the future workplace that will no longer be performed by a single role or job title. Analysis is for everyone. Certification is life changing as it demonstrates your commitment to the analysis skill set, opens doors to new opportunities, gives you more meaningful work, and adds to your paycheck. 

Here’s to a robust and stronger you!