The Institute for Operations Research and the Management Sciences (INFORMS), the largest society in the world for professionals in the field of operations research (O.R.), management science, and analytics has established the Certified Analytics Professional (CAP®) designation, a first-of-its kind analytics professional certification. The mission of CAP® is to validate solid analytics practices, provide an instant level of credibility with clients, help organizations to identify and develop qualified analytics talent, and to help analytics professionals boost their career potential and elevate themselves within the marketplace.
INFORMS defines analytics as the scientific process of transforming data into insight, thereby yielding better decision-making. CAP® measures analytics performance across seven major areas of practice encompassing the analytics end-to-end process: business problem framing, analytics problem framing, data, methodology selection, model building, deployment, and model life cycle management. The exam itself is based on a rigorous job task analysis that enumerates the tasks that analytics professionals perform and the knowledge they need to successfully perform those tasks. The CAP® job task analysis can be reviewed here: https://www.informs.org/Certification-Continuing-Ed/Analytics-Certification/Analytics-Job-Task-Analysis
The INFORMS Board of Directors made the bold move in 2010 to development products and services for the analytics community that they would value. Their first endeavor into analytics was the publishing of Analytics Magazine in 2008 as bi-monthly glossy magazine that covers the field. Next came INFORMS Conference on Business Analytics and Operations Research, which was re-programmed from its original concept of INFORMS O.R. practice meeting, to now appeal broadly to the analytics community. This was followed by other products and services the analytics community is embracing such as certification (CAP), our conference on big data, continuing education courses, and the brand newAnalytics Maturity Model.
CAP® was developed for early- to mid-career analytics professionals. It was developed by subject matter experts comprised of both INFORMS members and non-members and validated by the wider analytics community. It was developed for several reasons: to bring visibility and increased credibility to the overall profession in the same way that the PMP® has done for the project management profession, to allow individuals to set themselves apart from the competition as qualified, serious analytics professionals, to allow employers another tool to help find good, qualified analytics talent, and to place the analytics talent they do have on a prescribed path of continuous professional development.
To attain the CAP® designation, which can be put after your name like any rigorous credential, you not only have to pass a 100-question exam, but you also must possess the necessary educational achievement and analytics work experience, have your analytical “soft skills” validated by a current or former employer or client, and agree to abide by a first of its kind code of ethics. To maintain your CAP, you must earn professional development units. So you can see it is a complete program of professional development, not just an exam.
Eligibility Requirements for CAP®
o BA/BS or MA/MS or higher degree
o At least five years of analytics work-related experience for BA/BS holder in a related area, or
o At least three years of analytics work-related experience for MA/MS (or higher) holder in a related area, or
o At least seven years of analytics work-related experience for BA/BS (or higher) holder in an unrelated area
o Verification of soft skills / provision of business value by employer
o Agreement to follow Code of Ethics for analytics
The exam itself covers the analytics end-to-end process, everything from business problems framing to working with data and models, to deployment and model life-cycle management. Reviews of the exam have been excellent. The terms that are most often used are rigorous but fair. It truly means something when you attain the CAP® .
Sample questions and their answers can be found in our Candidate Handbook and Study Guide. For more information on CAP® go to www.informs.org/certification.
The CAP® exam can now be taken at over 700 Kryterion testing centers worldwide on almost any day of the week. There are about 50 testing centers in India. You can locate the testing center nearest you here: http://www.kryteriononline.com/host_locations. It is easy to prepare for the exam with INFORMS free, downloadable Study Guide developed by CAP® professionals.
Candidates may apply here: https://www.informs.org/Certification-Continuing-Ed/Analytics-Certification.
CAP® can be earned individually and often is, but if you really want to get the most out of CAP®, corporate entities are encouraged to provide CAP® to their entire analytics staffs. INFORMS provides team pricing for 5 or more individuals at one location sitting for the CAP® exam at one time. You may also request a CAP® Refresher Session. It is a half-day workshop that culminates in a paper-and-pencil CAP® exam delivered at your location to a minimum of 5 candidates. Current CAP® credential holders will review the Study Guide and 24 sample questions and answers with you, relate their experiences taking the exam, and provide an interactive Q&A experience. The day ends with the administration of the three-hour CAP® exam to all eligible candidates. Those who do not pass the exam will be provided with one free re-take at their convenience.
Analytics thought leader Tom Davenport said it well when he recently said “we think the credential has a bright future. Consultants have begun to get certified so they can represent to their clients that they are qualified to offer analytical services. Particular companies are beginning to ask their analysts to take it. Several of the new analytics Master’s degree programs in universities are planning for their experienced students to get certified. And a few leading companies are beginning to look for evidence of certification on the resumes of job applicants”
For more information on CAP®, send email to [email protected].