I got my certification about in May 2013, and just like everyone else paying for a certification, I wondered how much it would really help me. I wasn't changing jobs and it wasn't a job requirement. I work on a team of about 8 business analyst of varying degrees of experience, me being a the bottom of the totem, and before me not a single one had an IIBA certification. So why did I bother? I could have gotten by without it obviously.
Honestly, when I started I wasn't sure, especially since I was only qualified for the CCBA exam and not the senior level CBAP certification, but my company agreed to fund it… so I went for it any way. Here is what I got out of it before I even sat for the exam.
1. Knowledge Beyond What My Company/Experience Could Give Me
Great quote and very true. Studying for the exam forced me to not look at 1 or 2 best practice techniques but all best practice techniques... in detail. I am by no means a master in all of them, but I'm aware of them, and how and when they are used, so when I'm presented with a situation that would benefit from a particular practice over another, I can select a method to approach it that most appropriate. So one immediate benefit is efficacy or "ability to produce the desired effect" because I am aware of the necessary tools.
2. Awareness of My Own Short Comings
"Not everything that counts can be counted, and not everything that can be counted counts"
What makes a good business analyst? Are you a good business analyst? How should you measure if a business analyst is good one? These were all questions I had, and having to study the competencies that make a business analyst effect really helps in two ways. One, it makes you feel good about what you are already doing well. Two, it gives you very clear direction on what you need to work on and what you haven't done well in the past. Before certification, I measured myself by looking at job postings for senior level BAs with much more experience and compared myself job descriptions and qualifications. Lots of reason this doesn't work well, but I'm passed that phase.
3. I Learned the Language of Business Analysis
"If you can't explain it simply, you don't understand it well enough."
I love that quote, and it makes a lot of sense a profession dedicated to understanding systems, needs, and process and communicating that understanding to others. Its just easier to communicate when you have a more in-depth knowledge of whats going on. Simple as that. Honestly, I thought I already had a pretty good handle on it, and I did, but getting to that next level of deeper understanding added a layer of clarity and distinction. I don't think I would have studied the material the way I did to that level if I wasn't going to be tested thoroughly on the material.
Will getting certified help me get a different job or be the difference between a promotion or not? I don't really know, but personally, Going through the process has made me a better business analyst and many ways and that should be what gets me promotions and jobs in the future!
Update 1.5 Years Later
It has been a year and a half since I took the certification exam, in that time, while at the same company, I've gain two significant promotions in my role as a Business Analyst. I would attribute a lot of that to my ability to expand the BA practice where I work beyond doing thing how they have always been done.