Scrum is an Agile framework that helps teams collaborate to achieve success in a development environment where the requirements are rapidly evolving.Teams following Scrum methods are encouraged to work in a transparent manner, self-organize while working on a problem, and continually improve themselves through self-reflection.LeadingIT-based organizations and companies are looking to hire candidates who are familiar with the Agile and Scrum framework, principles and processes.
A recent article published by Forbes Magazine says that IT professionals with certifications are earning an average of $17,000 more per year than the median IT certification salary. From an employee perspective, certifications let you demonstrate additional qualifications on your resume in addition to getting hired faster.
The demand for certified Scrum professionals is on the rise, and the Certified ScrumMaster® (CSM®) and Professional Scrum Master (PSMTM) are the two industry-recognized certifications that can add value to your Scrum career. Let’s understand what the differences between the two are, so that you can make an informed choice between the two.
The Certified ScrumMaster® (CSM®) is a credential from Scrum Alliance®; a non-profit organization that provides guidance on agile practices, principles, and values. The Professional Scrum Master (PSMTM) is offered by Scrum.org, an organization that was founded by Ken Schwaber, the co-creator of Scrum; and seeks to improve professionalism in Scrum training across the world.
Duration of Training
Both CSM and PSM training courses have a duration of 2 days (14 to 16 hours) each. The CSM course is led by a Certified Scrum Trainer® (CST®), while the PSM course is led by a Professional Scrum TrainerTM (PST).
Levels of Training
The CSM credential has one level only, while the PSM is offered at two levels; PSM I and PSM II.
As a CSM, you will be well equipped to help the Scrum team perform at their maximum capability, overcoming obstacles and guiding them on the Scrum framework. A CSM is considered a ‘servant leader’, who leads through example and essentially facilitates the team members to achieve project success.
People who have successfully achieved the PSM I demonstrate a foundational level of Scrum mastery and are well versed in the terminology and approach to Scrum. Passing the PSM II acknowledges a deeper understanding of Scrum principles and the ability to apply Scrum in complex situations.
- You will be required to attend a live online or in-person course taught by a Certified Scrum Trainer® (CST®), or get coached by a Certified Agile Coach (CAC). The duration will be 14 to 16 hours of training.
- On course completion, you will need to take the 50 question CSM test. To achieve the passing score, you must answer 37 out of the 50 questions correctly within the 1 hour time limit.
- On passing the CSM test, you will be asked to accept the CSM License Agreement and complete your Scrum Alliance membership profile. You will get the membership for a duration of 2 years.
- Taking a course is not mandatory, and if you feel you already have the required level of Scrum knowledge, you can apply to write the PSM I Exam. However, undertaking the course will get you well prepared to pass the exam at your first attempt.
- Study well, and check the resources available on to help you in your preparation.
- The PSM I Assessment contains 80 questions to be answered in a time limit of 1 hour. If you pass the assessment, you will receive the PSM I certification and a logo.
What is the passing grade?
To pass the CSM exam, you must secure at least 37 out of 50 possible marks. This is considered to be easier to achieve than a passing grade in the PSM exam.
In PSM I, the passing criteria are quite tough, as you will have to complete 80 questions and achieve at least 85% (this is not accurately defined by Scrum.org) to get the Professional Scrum Master certificate.
While CSM contains multiple choice questions, the PSM certifications are a mix of multiple-choice questions, multiple-answer questions, and some true/false questions. The PSM I will test you on the facts of Scrum as well as some scenario-based questions.
Difficulty level of the exam:
It is generally understood that the Certified ScrumMaster test is relatively easier than the PSM 1 and PSM 2. To appear for the CSM, attending a 2 day training is mandatory and you will get adequately prepared to sit the exam and achieve a passing score. However, PSM does not have a mandatory requirement of attending training classes, and many students who have not attended a training workshop therefore find that their preparation is inadequate.
How much does it cost?
There is no standard fee for the CSM exam, as typically the exam attempt is clubbed with the course. However, the fee range for the course is typically from 1000 to 1400 USD.
The PSM costs $150 USD per exam attempt.If you join a training course, then your first exam attempt is free.
What is the Renewal Duration?
- You have to renew your CSM credential every two years, by collecting 20 SEUs and paying the renewal fee of $100.
- On the other hand, there is no need to renew your PSM credentials. Once you get the PSM credential, it has a lifetime validity.
How consistent is the training content?
The CSM program content varies from trainer to trainer, as Scrum Alliance only provides broad guidelines for the Curriculum and trainers are free to interpret it in their own ways. PSM comes with a standard agenda which must be followed across all training institutes.
Knowledge of Scrum is one of the most sought-after skills in recent times, and both the CSM and PSM are highly respected credentials in the Scrum world.
While the CSM is preferred by manyas it is considered an easier exam to pass, it requires renewal of the credential every two years. The PSM, though it comes with a slightly more difficult assessment, is valid for a lifetime.
We hope we’ve helped you to make an informed choice! If you still can’t make up your mind, do connect with any of our counsellors and get the answers you are seeking. Either way, you can’t go wrong. Good luck on your Agile journey!