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The CAP Experience: First-Hand Account

Friday, 20 Apr 2018
Amy Patrick

Nadine Keane

by Nadine Keane

Becoming a Certified Analytics Professional (CAP) has so many benefits for any person practicing in fields related to operational research or advanced analytics. Since becoming accredited in early 2016, I keep finding this to be true.
From increasing my opportunities to network with fellow analytics practitioners (like when I recently spoke at The OR Society meeting in London), to providing a common language and framework that can be applied in a work setting, or by giving hiring business people something that instils confidence that I can do what I say I can, or simply by feeling that wonderful sense of achievement each time I use the increasingly recognised certification designation, CAP.

The benefits start before the certification is earned, then continue long after it is awarded. In preparing for the CAP program I found myself pulling out management science textbooks and old academic notes that I had not looked at for quite a long time. Relearning things I once knew well felt like a trip down memory lane and a chance to re-inject some of that thinking to my current practice, a real win-win. Couple this with the continuing education element of CAP® which means there’s extra yield from attending analytics related courses or applying self-directed learning
since activities that demonstrate continued commitment to the analytics profession earn professional development units (PDUs) which are needed to renew the certification every three years. I’ll even earn a PDU for writing this article!

The Institute for Operations Research and the Management Sciences (InForMS) launched the Certified Analytics Professional Program in 2013, following two years of program development. The aim for CAP® at the time of launch was to set peer agreed standards for analytics professionals.

A fantastic new development in 2017 is that CAP has received a formal international endorsement by becoming accredited by the American National Standards Institute (ANSI) which is the American member of the International Organisation for Standardization (ISO).

The CAP program, administered by INFORMS, is aimed at experienced analytics professionals who meet both academic and experience criteria. Certain supporting documentation must be submitted by applicants before being approved to progress to a three hour, 100 multiple-choice question examination. The exam assesses knowledge of aspects of the end-to-end analytics process. The analytics process is defined across seven practice domains, these are:
I. Business Problem (Question) Framing
II. Analytics Problem Framing
III. Data
IV. Methodology (Approach) Selection
V. Model Building
VI. Development
VII. Model Life Cycle Management

Before taking the exam, it is very useful to review the test questions which are available with answers provided, in the
CAP® Study Guide and the Handbook (both available at www.certifiedanalytics.org). There’s a list of references that could be studied to prepare for the exam, as well as links to continuing education and training courses that cover analytics topics which might come up in the exam. The references and courses could be helpful for candidates who need to brush up on any particular practice domain. Also, there are webinars prepared by analytics practitioners that give some guidance per each domain, available at www.brighttalk.com/channel/11147/informs.

And finally, don’t be put off if you don’t pass the exam first time. I didn’t, and it was probably one of the best events of my career in analytics! It forced me to re-look at an area that I had not used for some time.
I very willingly recommend the Certified Analytics Professional Program to any analytics practitioner. Good luck!


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