Scrum Alliance, a non-profit membership organization, established in 2001, has historically focused on providing Agile and Scrum education and certifications. Further, Scrum Alliance always aims at encouraging Scrum adoption worldwide by transforming the work culture through guiding and inspiring “individuals, leaders, and organizations with practices, principles, and values that create workplaces that are joyful, prosperous, and sustainable.”
Keeping this aim alive, Scrum Alliance accomplishes its mission by meeting the following three key principles:
Bragging over 750,000 certified practitioners widespread, Scrum Alliance, Inc. currently serves as the World’s largest Agile membership organization reporting considerable growth with 5,000 and above new entrants joining a troupe of certified Agile practitioners monthly.
Scrum Alliance offers 8 Scrum team Role-based certifications which include Scrum Master, Product Owner, and Developer certifications track (including foundation and advanced level), 3 Guide level certifications and 2 Agile Leadership certifications. Let us look at the different certifications offered at each level by Scrum Alliance what job roles an individual can play and after which certification, and also will help you to let you know the sequence of the certifications:
Fig: Career paths based on roles
Before discussing the certifications, let us look at the three categories in which Scrum Alliance certifications are divided:
Now, let us discuss each of them in details:
There are 3 different roles-based certifications, focussing on the different roles present in an Agile organization. These certifications include:
Scrum Master, as most of the individuals know is a facilitator for the Agile development team. The Scrum Master ensures that the Scrum team follows an appropriate Scrum process during product development. The Scrum process includes the Choosing the right Scrum framework, implementing it in the project and making sure it is followed in principle and essence correctly by the team, Product Owner, and the Scrum team.
Based on the Ziprecruiter.com, a Certified Scrum Master® earns an average pay of $116,184 per annum. The salary range of the Scrum Master depends on the skills they have earned, work experience as a Scrum Master, etc. The advanced level Scrum Master certifications are also a major factor in deciding a salary of the Scrum Master.
A Scrum Master owns the Scrum project team and helps them to perform the best at the end of every Sprint. Being a Scrum Master, he/she protects the team from the distractions and aids them in executing the Scrum accurately. With this Certified ScrumMaster® certification (CSM®), you will get more career opportunities across all the industries and show your achievement on the basics of Scrum.
There is no predefined set of eligibility requirements to attend a Certified ScrumMaster® training as per ScrumAlliance Inc.. It can be taken by any interested professional in order to amplify their Scrum understanding. In order to gain certification, an individual must pass the CSM certification exam with 74% passing score.
Any interested individual can take the CSM course. To acquire this certification, you need to follow these steps:
Since Scrum is not just applied to IT and software sector, it is implemented in other industries like government, education, manufacturing, banking, and finance. Therefore, this training can be taken up by the existing Scrum Masters, interested individuals to work in an Agile environment, and other individuals responsible for delivering the products. The target audience include-
Once this course is done, you can level-up your skills by taking the advanced level certifications viz, Advanced Certified ScrumMaster® (A-CSM®), and Certified Scrum Professional ScrumMaster® (CSP-SM®).
Being a Certified ScrumMaster® (CSM®), an individual is considered proficient in implementing the Scrum values, practices, and applications. Now, it's time to move ahead with your Agile journey by achieving Advanced Certified ScrumMaster (A-CSM®) certification. A-CSM® is the next level of your journey towards Scrum and Agile after completing your CSM®.
With A-CSM certification, you will be able to increase engagement by facilitating communication between the Scrum team members and the Stakeholders. You can further enhance your Scrum implementation skills and knowledge and will be able to show your advanced value as a highly skilled Agile professional to the potential employer.
You just need to hold an active CSM certification from Scrum Alliance and you have at least 12 months of experience working as a Scrum Master.
The target audience of A-CSM course is the professionals who have work experience in Scrum, play the role of the Scrum Master in the Agile organizations and are CSM® certified.
Once you have upgraded your skills with the Advanced Certified Scrum Master (A-CSM) certification, you are ready to master in Certified Scrum Professional ScrumMaster® (CSP-SM®).
Scrum Product Owner is the voice of the Stakeholders and the Customers. The Scrum Product Owner solely owns the product backlog and acts as the cornerstone of the Scrum project. A Product Owner is responsible for increasing the product value and delivers a valuable product at a high speed by strictly following the implementation process.
As per the Payscale.com, the average salary of a CSPO certified professional is $101k per annum. The salary of a Product Owner keeps varying based on the skills an individual has, year/years of experience he/she has, and the most affecting factor is the advanced level certifications for the Product owner to enhance your probability of landing the best jobs in the market.
A professional, very much interested in handling the business side of the project [such as Earned Value, Return On Investment, Velocity, Backlog calculations etc.], is probably the right person to attain a Certified Scrum Product Owner® (CSPO®) certification. Being a CSPO, you are responsible for creating a product vision, prioritizing the product backlog, and giving the customers exactly what they are looking for [or intuitively want]
There is no prerequisite to attend CSPO training. However, in order to earn this certification, an individual need to attend 2-days of CSPO course taught by Certified Scrum Trainer (CST).
The following steps need to be followed to earn a Certified Scrum Product Owner® (CSPO®) certification:
This 16 hours of CSPO course is curated for an individual who is responsible for directing a product and setting up finance during a Scrum project implementation. Scrum Masters can also take this training without thinking that the CSM course is a prerequisite to attend the CSPO course. The CSPO certification can be viewed as an alternative to the CSM course. The target audience for this course is:
After mastering the CSPO course, you can level-up your knowledge with Advanced Certified Scrum Product Owner (A-CSPOSM) and then Certified Scrum Professional®-Product Owner (CSP®-PO).
If you are a Certified Scrum Product Owner (CSPO), you are responsible for maximising the product’s business value and understanding the Stakeholder’s requirements to deliver the best at regular intervals [known as Sprints or Iterations]. Now, the next step is to achieve the advanced level certification- Advanced Certified Scrum Product Owner (A-CSPO℠) certification.
A candidate must hold an active CSPO certification to attend Advanced Certified Scrum Product Owner® (A-CSPO®) course from Scrum Alliance and at least 1-year of work experience as a Scrum Product Owner.
This course is targeted towards practicing Product Owners who are looking to upgrade their career with the basic mechanics of the PO role and are CSPO certified.
Certified Scrum Professional Product Owner® (CSP-PO®) certification is the next certification in the list after A-CSPO certification.
Today, Scrum Developers have more demand in the market because of their specialized Agile and Scrum skills and proficiency in continuous improvement. Earning Certified Scrum Developer (CSD) certification is expanding the need of the Scrum Developers in Agile enterprises. Today, Scrum Developers are earning an average of $82k per year, playing the roles like .Net Developer, Software Engineer, IT Project Manager, and many more.
Certified Scrum Developers® exhibit their knowledge through formal training and technical skills assessments. Being certified, they demonstrate their practical as well as theoretical understanding of Agile and Scrum principles along with Agile Engineering skills.
An individual with programming knowledge can attend CSD course. To earn this certification, an individual needs to undergo at least 5-days of formal CSD training course instructed by a Scrum Alliance Registered Education Provider (REP) and a Scrum Alliance Authorized Instructor.
On the other hand, the certification offers the privilege to the candidates who are CSM certified. They can skip the first 2 days and directly join from the 3rd day of the technical training.
The following steps are followed to earn CSD certification:
The Certified Scrum Developer® certification is beneficial for the software developers (programmers) building software in the Scrum organizations. This course will benefit
Level-up your skills with Certified Scrum Professional® (CSP) certification, once you have mastered this course.
Certified Scrum Professionals let their teams constantly improve the implementation of Agile and Scrum practices and principles applied to the Scrum project. This certification marks CSP’s experience, skills enhanced through training and a proven Scrum knowledge in development after being certified as CSD®.
An individual should hold an active Certified Scrum Developer (CSD) certification issued by the Scrum Alliance in order to achieve Certified Scrum Professional® certifications. In addition, an individual should:
The course is designed for the Product Owners, Scrum Masters, and Developers with working knowledge ready to take the next step in their career learning. Agile leaders, including coaches, consultants, project managers, facilitators, and technical leaders, all can be benefited from enhancing their skills with the CSP certification.
An individual with CSP® certification is expected to demonstrate the practical as well as the theoretical knowledge and a body of knowledge of the Scrum roles, events, and artifacts of the complete Scrum framework. Certified Scrum Professional (CSP®) certification provides a gateway for those who are looking for their future as a Certified Scrum Trainer (CST), Team Coach, Agile Coach globally.
Guide level certifications are aimed at professionals who have advanced knowledge and well-qualified coaches, trainers, mentors, and thought leaders who spread their knowledge on Agile practices and Scrum framework among the professionals. Scrum Alliance provides one certification focused on trainers and two certifications in the coaching category. Individuals with Guide level certifications are considered as professional certifications holder from Scrum Alliance. Let’s see Guide or Elevated level certifications as follows:
The Certified Team Coach (CTC) usually works at the team level with the management, Scrum teams, and Stakeholders. Enterprise hires Certified Team Coaches to provide coaching, facilitation, training, mentoring, impediment removing, and leadership to encourage collaboration, continuous development, and value delivery across multiple teams and departments.
The Certified Team Coach (CTC) is specifically targeted to the Scrum Evangelist interested in coaching at multiple levels. Also, Certified Scrum Professional (CSP-SM/PO) is the recommended certification that will make you eligible to gain CTC credential.
The Certified Enterprise Coach (CEC) by Scrum Alliance is skilled at Scrum (both in theoretical and practical knowledge). The Certified Enterprise Coaches (CECs) have years of experience in enterprise Scrum transformations and a detailed understanding of implementing Scrum practices and principles. The CECs guide organizations towards the challenges organizations are facing during Scrum adoption.
A candidate aspiring Certified Enterprise Coach (CEC) credential must possess:
This training is aimed at Agile professionals who are looking to guide the organizations in their Agile transformation.
The CST® certification is the most sought-after and only trainer-centric certification offered by Scrum Alliance. As a CST, you are the individuals who wishes to transform the way of working of the people and team they work with. Successful completion of the CST course will let you teach CSM or CSPO courses.
To become a CST, you should have:
This certification is for the candidates who are well-versed in executing the Agile practices and desire to train other professionals.
As the world of work is changing continuously and becomes complex, enterprises and leaders are asked to continuously deliver more innovative products and services, keeping the culture of an organization zestful and gratifying. Agile Leaders produces extraordinary teams, communicate with a clear purpose, and achieve extraordinary business outcomes to the customers and their organizations.
There are two Agile Leadership credentials are available:
These two CAL certifications (CAL I + CAL II) by Scrum Alliance represents unique two-part education and practice-based programs to build Agile leadership competencies. The CAL certifications provides a platform to enhance your leadership skills and will make you a better leader, irrespective of your current role in the organization. We will see them in detail later on.
The participants for this program varies according to their professional background and work experience. The key factor here is their wish to transform workplaces into better way by executing Agile values, practices, and metrics. The CAL certifications are designed for anyone participating and interested in leading an Agile transformation. Agile Leadership training are designed for:
Let’s take a look at two kinds of CAL certifications:
Certified Agile Leadership I (CAL I) is an introductory professional course that comprises of in-depth leadership development learning objectives across five categories.
There are no eligibility criteria to attend CAL I training. This credential can be achieved after successfully completing the set of learning objectives. The certification has no expiry date. The digital badge earned after the certification remarks your start on your agile journey.
After CAL I certification, you can take CAL II certification to complete your Certified Agile Leadership (CAL) certifications.
With CAL II certification, you will be able to guide leaders in applying, growing, and sharing your Agile leadership journey with the Scrum teams.
To earn this credential, individuals must have CAL I certification and successful accomplishment of:
Scrum Alliance always aims to keep the certifications and training program updated. According to Scrum Alliance, certification holders need to maintain their certifications by renewing every two years. The fee to renew the level-based certifications are:
Some of the common job roles played by the Scrum Alliance certified are transformational leads, transformation coaches, Scrum Masters, developers, managers, engineers, testers, technical writers and architects.
Scrum Alliance also maintains its own job panel to assist community members in their job search. If you want to know more about the recent job postings, career news, blogs, and more, you can visit Agile careers section of the Scrum Alliance.
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