My name is Usha Talabhaktula. I have a Master of Science Information Technology (MSIT) from California State University-Fullerton, USA and Master’s degree in Commerce from India, which is evaluated as MBA in USA. I have an overall experience of twenty years Information Technology Industry, in the data center, higher education and municipal government business sectors. I started my career as a Programmer Analyst and currently working as ERP Business Analyst in Auditor Controller’s Office of Monterey County, CA. As a liaison between functional and technical teams, I perform a variety business analysis tasks/activities/functions in the six knowledge areas listed in BABOK® Guide.
In my career so far, I have earned Oracle Certifications (OCP and OCE in Hyperion admin), ITIL® and Certified Scrum Master® (CSM®). I am also a member of Project Management Institute (PMI®) and manage projects as part of my job functions and aspiring to get PMP® certification. I am a strong believer in the concept of living life to its fullest, through continuous learning and growth.
The first five years in my current job kept me busy adapting to organizational changes, software upgrades, team/staff changes etc., In December 2019, I wanted to explore the professional development opportunities available in Business Analysis and through online research I came across International Institute of Business Analysis (IIBA®). I learned that the organization is the “global thought leader and the voice of business analysis community”. I wanted to get certified by IIBA, in the commonly accepted business analysis practices listed in BABOK. After becoming a member, explored IIBA’s website and learned about certification requirements and came across Bluegrass IIBA Chapter’s offering of CBAP® Study group in January 2020. But due to travel plans already made for January, decided to wait for next offering and joined the group in June 2020.
The BABOK 2020 Summer Study Group was 14-week online sessions via Zoom from June 02, 2020 through August 26, 2020 and folks from all over the world in different time zones joined the study group. This gave good ice-breaking topics to bring up, such as weather conditions and time of the day/next day etc. Instructors for this group were Kathy Leigh, President of Bluegrass IIBA Chapter, Aaron Whittenberger, VP of Professional Development and Eric Neill, Director of Certification. These three individuals are very knowledgeable and made the sessions interesting by sharing their experiences as relevant to the study topics.
Sessions were interactive and instructors encouraged participation of all attendees. A week prior to the session they required reading, and student exercises and study sheets to be completed and turned in. Filling out the study sheets helped in organizing information for easy reference and would come handy in preparing for the certification exam. Exercises had cross word puzzles of key words, testing one’s knowledge of concepts.
The prescribed book, Watermark Learning’s CBAP Certification Study Guide v3.0, is well written and contains mnemonics to memorize key concepts and attributes. End of chapter exercises are very helpful in self-assessment of understanding of key concepts and mnemonics.
During the sessions, there were pop-up quizzes from chapters and discussion of the answers followed. Practice exams were conducted at periodic intervals. Test scores were provided immediately at the end of each test, with answers for review. Session 14 was a review of Study group and answering of questions posed by students in breakout rooms. A former student that passed certification joined the breakout room, and shared his experiences preparing for CBAP exam.
The BABOK 2020 Summer study group, enabled me to learn the BABOK material in a structured and interactive way. The business cases in practice exams helped me to understand Business analysis practices/concepts from a different perspective than I am used to. I have used some of the techniques mentioned in BABOK but not all of them. By passing CBAP certification exam, I would be a certified professional that is “qualified and knowledgeable Business Analyst”. My plan is to continue to study and apply for the exam and take it at the end of November 2020. I will keep you all posted of my progress!
I strongly recommend joining Bluegrass IIBA study group, to prepare for CBAP certification exam.