Companies soon realized that the traditional methods of working were not working. That is why they shifted to a form of working called Agile working. The significance is that companies can tailor the requirements according to their convenience. Scrum, as a framework, is used for developing complex products. The Scrum Guide(1) outlines how Scrum should operate, the roles, events, artifacts, and the rules that govern the framework. Scrum allows people to creatively deliver solutions of the highest value while ensuring that organization structures don’t impede the dynamic requirements of client product development.
Scrum Master plays an important role in the Scrum framework. Scrum Master acts as the guide between the product owner and the scrum team. He’s not the leader of the Scrum team. He just acts as a servant-leader. His main role is to ensure the entire Scrum team is on a single page about the goals, the work they take up, managing the backlog, and making sure the team is functioning as a single unit.
The Scrum Alliance or Scrum.org offers a Certified Scrum Master certification for becoming a Scrum Master (SM) — both different variations of the same course. The same certification, offered by Scrum.org is called Professional Scrum Master, and the one offered by SAFe® is a SAFe® Scrum Master. The rules for CSM and PSM are similar. For that this article will discuss earning a Scrum Master certification as offered by the Scrum Alliance
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Who is This Certification for?
There’s no specific previous requirement to evolve to the role of Scrum Master. Scrum Masters can be involved in:
- Software development
- Project manager (or any variation thereof)
- Business analyst
- Or with a completely different background; such as psychology
It can be taken by
- Professionals from Scrum groups, for example, designers, Scrum Masters, and item proprietors
- Directors of Scrum groups
- Groups progressing to Scrum
- Experts who might want to seek after a vocation as an expert Scrum Master
- Members of Scrum teams such as developers, Scrum Masters, and product owners
- Managers of Scrum teams
- Teams transitioning to Scrum
- Professionals who would like to pursue a career as a professional Scrum Master
Eligibility Criteria for CSM
There are no eligibility criteria for getting a Scrum Master certification. Scrum Alliance doesn’t require aspirants to have any pre-existing knowledge. However, working in an Agile framework company or project can help. While the lack of pre-requisites is helpful, one thing no one tells you is that you need experience in Engineering and tech because most Agile projects deal with product development.
While Scrum can be used in every role, it is mostly used for developing products for clients whom companies with traditional structures (Waterfall structures) can’t serve. So, a Scrum Master could be from any background. But if he doesn’t have a background in IT and tech, it will be hard to understand the workload and set up a product backlog. Communication with business analysts, product owners, or project managers will be a difficult task.
[ Read: 15 Top Paying IT Certifications in 2020 ]
What are the Levels or Modules in the Course?
To become a CSM, you need to clear an exam conducted by the Scrum Alliance. The requirement is that you attend a 16-hour classroom training session. This session would include the Scrum rules, the artifacts of Scrum, and the roles and responsibilities of a Scrum Master. The certifying body for Scrum usually recognizes certain bodies around the world to conduct classroom training.
The exam is a multiple-choice exam with 50 questions and 60 minutes to answer the exam. The passing score is 74%. That means you have to answer 37 questions correctly to pass the exam and earn a certification from the Scrum Alliance.
If you don’t clear the exam the first time, you can always give a second attempt free of cost. Every attempt after that is chargeable. If it is a certification offered by Scrum.org, then you have the option of taking an examination a second time if you’ve opted for a training-based course.
What is the cost of the Course?
A Scrum Master course involves a 2-day classroom course. Each day has 8 hours of learning. Depending on the country and region, the fee varies. In the US, the fee can vary between $950 – $1400. For the Scrum Master certification offered by the Scrum Alliance, it should be renewed every two years by paying $100 and 20 Scrum credits.
For the certification offered by Scrum.org, the fee is much lesser. If you’re opting for a training-based examination, it will vary around $350 depending on the training provider. If you’re opting for just the examination, then it’ll cost you $150. But the flip side is that if you’ve opted for the non-training-based exam, then you can’t have a reattempt if you fail to clear the exam. For the certifications offered by both Scrum Alliance and Scrum.org, the exam fee is included in the course fee.
What are the Job Prospects of Scrum Master?
As per Scrum Trends for 2019(1), a PSM had a higher approval rating from the participants. Scrum Masters in the US earn a median salary of $99000(2). The highest salary was $135000, while the lowest was $68000. Scrum Masters have a lot of opportunities, even beyond their role. They can head a Scrum Team of their own. They may also become a product owner, a project manager, an agile coach, or a part of any other form of Agile framework. As of 2017, LinkedIn(3) placed the job role of a Scrum Master in its most promising jobs. With companies adapting to disruptive technologies, agile frameworks are going to become more common, and the role of a Scrum Master will stay in demand.
Where to Get Online Resources for the Certification?
For Certified Scrum Master, you have Scrum Alliance that offers the relevant FAQs and access to other study guides. For Professional Scrum Master, Scrum.org does the same thing. Each of them has accredited training partners that provide relevant training. Generally, Scrum Alliance and Scrum.org don’t set the rates which means the partners are free to do so. Some providers include
- Plural Sight
- Power Agile
In addition, there could be a lot of offline training partners as well. You can always check that out depending on your need and convenience.