Added IIBA-CBDA Certification Today

Today I sat for and passed the Certification in Business Data Analytics (CBDA) exam issued by the International Institute of Business Analysis (IIBA). It is the newest of the five active certifications I maintain. I sought this certification, as I have previously, simply to communicate the level of skill I’ve developed over the course of my career.

I signed up for the exam yesterday morning, read the 192-page Guide to Business Data Analytics the IIBA provides as a PDF (behind its paywall), and sat for it this evening. I mostly counted on my experience being sufficient to achieve good scores in the six knowledge areas, and that proved to be sufficient. The knowledge areas are:

Identify the Research Questions – 20% (Domain 1)
Source Data – 15% (Domain 2)
Analyze Data – 16% (Domain 3)
Interpret and Report Results – 20% (Domain 4)
Use Results to Influence Business Decision Making – 20% (Domain 5)
Guide Organization-level Strategy for Business Analytics – 9% (Domain 6)

Since I’ve been working with large volumes of data in many contexts over a long period of time, most of the general questions were tractable. Where I felt weakest was on questions about a myriad of specific diagram types that might have been in the guide mentioned above, but not discussed in detail. For future reference I’ve listed the specific tools and diagrams I found mentioned in the guide. Many of these are common and straightforward, but it would have been a better idea to review some in more detail, particularly those that were actually discussed near the end of the PDF, if only briefly (e.g., with an example accompanied by one or two short paragraphs).

Activity Diagram
Architectural Diagram
Area Chart
Autocorrelation Plots (Box-Jenkins method)
Bar Chart
Box Plot
Box and Whisker Plot
Box-Cox Plots / Normal Transformation
Bullet Chart
Business Model Canvas
Butterfly Chart
Contour Plot
Correlation Map
Cumulative Error Plot
Logical Data Flow Diagram
Physical Data Flow Diagram
Decision Tree
Density Plot
Entity Relationship Diagram
Error Residue Graph
Flow Diagram
Funnel Chart
Fusion Chart
Heat Map
Lag Plot
Line Chart
Log Plot
Lognormal Plot
Map Plot
Onion Diagram
Organizational Chart
Pair Plot
Pie Chart
Principal Component Analysis (PCA) Plot
Probability Distribution Graph
Receiver Operating Characteristics (ROC) Curve
Residual Plot
Run-Sequence Plot
Scatter Plot
Sequence Diagram
Silhouette Plot
Spider Chart
Stakeholder Matrix
Sunburst Chart
Venn Diagram
Weibull Plot

No one person uses all of them or could reasonably be expected to know them, so maybe that’s the rationale for the super low passing threshold, which may only have been 40%.

The exam involved 75 questions in 120 minutes. There was little specific mention of Artificial Intelligence or Machine Learning techniques, except as generalities.

The interesting thing about this one is that it has to be renewed every year (instead of every three), but you only need 20 CDUs (instead of the 60 that are typical for some my other certs), so the idea is clearly that you stay engaged with the material to keep up with ongoing developments.

I don’t know how useful this will be. As of the end of November only 117 people had earned it. (Edit: 159 as of 3/17/21).

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