pmi-pba, pmi, new it certification exams

PMI-PBA: The New PMI Certification Is Out!

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  • June 18, 2014
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pmi-pba, pmi, new it certification examsAs you have probably heard, PMI’s PMP (Project Management Professional) certification is reportedly the highest paid credential in the world. With salaries going through the roof, how many of us wouldn’t mind changing their career to project management, right?

This year, PMI launches a new certification that specifically targets business analysts: The PMI Professional in Business Analysis (PMI-PBA). With the pilot phase of the project being on now, you may have a chance to become one of the first PMP-PBA holders in the world. So is this credential right for you?

More on Business Analysis

What is business analysis and what’s the job of a business analyst? PMI defines the business analyst’s work as “the evaluation of an organization’s needs — followed by the identification and management of requirements — to arrive at a solution.” In short, it is the discipline of working with stakeholders to “define an organization’s requirements in order to shape the output of projects and ensure they deliver the expected business benefit.”

To be eligible for the PMI-PBA, you don’t have to have the formal title of Business Analyst, but sufficient professional experience is a must. According to PMI, the certification was designed to get staff up to speed on the fine art of business analysis, which boils down to evaluating the business needs of an organization and then quantifying and managing those needs, or “requirements.” In other words, you need sufficient professional experience and background to identify the measures an organization must put in place to succeed, and then manage the deployment of those measures.

PMI Eligibility Overview

Requirement Option 1 Option 2
Education level High school diploma, associate’s degree or global equivalent Bachelor’s degree or global equivalent
Minimum business analysis experience Five years (7,500 hours) within the past eight consecutive years Three years (4,500 hours) within the past eight consecutive years
Project experience 2,000 hours working on project teams within the past eight consecutive years* 2,000 hours working on project teams within the past eight consecutive years*
Business analysis education (contact hours) 25 hours during pilot; 35 hours post pilot** 25 hours during pilot; 35 hours post pilot**


Certification Eligibility and Process

To become PMI-PBA, you need to take the following steps, which follow a process very similar to other PMI certifications’.

  1. Fill out and submit your application
  2. Wait for review of your application
  3. If audited* fulfill audit requirements
  4. Pay fees if application passes
  5. Schedule exam
  6. Pass exam
  7. Re-certify on CCR after three years

*PMI audits are usually random, and if you’re audited, you must present a higher level of detail related to experience. Candidates are given 90 days to fulfill the audit requirements, and PMI reviews audit materials in 5 – 7 days.

PMI-PBA Pilot Phase

The pilot phase of the certification started on May 12, and applications are now accepted. The exam for the pilot will run through August 4. According to PMI, it takes five days for an electronic application to be reviewed, so to secure their opportunity to take the exam during the pilot, candidates need to have submitted their applications by July 28. A paper application can take up to two weeks, so it must be in by July 14 – which means you have 4 weeks left! (these timelines assume that you won’t be audited). The good news about the pilot exam is that candidates who take it, will be refunded 20% of their exam fees – which is important given the cost of PMI’s exams and preparation materials.

To prepare for the PMI-PBA exam, be sure to explore the official exam outline.

Briefly, the exam covers 5 domains:

  1. Needs Assessment – 18%
  2. Planning – 22%
  3. Analysis – 35%
  4. Traceability and Monitoring – 15%
  5. Evaluation – 10%

Each domain is broken down into tasks and topics, all available in the outline. Holders of PMI credentials we have talked to about the outline and the exam itself, agree that the exam won’t be as simple as its materials may look. Similar to the PMP exam, where many candidates claim the materials to be ‘common knowledge’ as they look at exam goals and outlines and get seriously disappointed, the PBA exam is unlikely to be a piece of cake.

Nevertheless, taking this career step may be a viable option for many business analysts. We’ll have to wait and see whether the glory of the new PMI-PBA surpasses the one of the PMP, but the newness of the credential certainly gives it some added value. Therefore, if you work in the industry and feel confident enough to take the exam, why not jump on the chance of saving 20% and being the first PMI certified Business Analyst this summer? Do tell us what you think!

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