How to build a successful Career in Agile and Scrum

How to build a successful Career in Agile and Scrum?

Last updated on 06th Oct 2020, Artciles, Blog

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Vikram ( (Sr Project Manager ) )

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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 the 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:

Inspire: Scrum Alliance inspires support leaders, organizations, and other people during their Agile transformation journey through sharing success stories, new methods, and leveraging training.

Enable: This organization lets you succeed by developing various learning and support systems such as webinars, communities and user groups, and events with the help of a global network of practitioners, coaches, and trainers.

Guide: That’s not it! Scrum Alliance offers guidance for the career needs of the Agile Practitioners by providing them with certifications at various levels. These certifications promote Agile values, principles, and practices, and support in switching to Agile.

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.

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Certifications offered by Scrum Alliance

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: 

Scrum alliance career roles

Fig: Career paths based on roles 

Before discussing the certifications, let us look at the three categories in which Scrum Alliance certifications are divided: 

1. Roles-based certifications

  • Scrum Master track:
  • Certified ScrumMaster®
  • Advanced Certified ScrumMaster
  • Certified Scrum Professional® -ScrumMaster
  • Product Owner track:
  • Certified Scrum Product Owner®
  • Advanced Certified Scrum Product Owner
  • Certified Scrum Professional® -Product Owner
  • Developer track:
  • Certified Scrum Developer®
  • Certified Scrum Professional®

2. Guide level certifications

  • Certified Team CoachSM  
  • Certified Enterprise Coach
  • Certified Scrum Trainer®

3. Agile Leadership certifications

  • Certified Agile Leadership I certification
  • Certified Agile Leadership II certification

Now, let us discuss each of them in details: 

1. Roles-based certifications

There are 3 different roles-based certifications, focussing on the different roles present in an Agile organization. These certifications include:

Scrum Master track

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.

Salary of the Certified ScrumMaster®

Based on the, 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) Certified ScrumMaster® (CSM®)

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.

Prerequisites required for becoming Certified ScrumMaster®:

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.

Steps to achieve CSM certification:

Any interested individual can take the CSM course. To acquire this certification, you need to follow these steps:

An individual can undergo 16-hours of CSM training from KnowledgeHut, a Certified Scrum Trainer® (CST®) provider

  1. 1. Pass the CSM exam by answering 37 out of 50 questions correctly in 1-hour.
  2. 2. Accept the license agreement and finish your Scrum Alliance membership profile.
  3. 3. Target audience of the course

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- 

  • 1. Software Engineer/Developer/Analyst
  • 2. Product Manager
  • 3. Project Manager
  • 4. Team Leader/Module Leader
  • 5. Business Analyst
  • 6. Development team member
  • 7. Testers
  • 8. Quality Assurance Professionals
  • 9. Architects
  • 10. User Experience Professionals
  • 11. Anyone wanting to improve Agile processes in their projects

Career path of a Certified ScrumMaster (CSM)

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®).

b) Advanced Certified ScrumMaster® (A-CSM®)

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.

Prerequisites to achieve A-CSM certification

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.

Steps to become Advanced Certified ScrumMaster (A-CSM®)

  • 1. Attend Advanced Certified ScrumMaster (A-CSM®) training from any registered education provider of Scrum Alliance
  • 2. Complete all the learning objectives by the approved educator
  • 3. Accept the A-CSM License Agreement and complete your Scrum Alliance membership profile
  • 4. Target audience of the course
  • 5. 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.

Career path of Advanced Certified ScrumMaster (A-CSM)

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®).

Product Owner track

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.

Salary of the CSPO certified professionals

As per the, 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. 

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c) Certified Scrum Product Owner® (CSPO®)

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]

Prerequisites to achieve Certified Scrum Product Owner® (CSPO®) certification

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).

Steps to achieve Certified Scrum Product Owner® (CSPO®) certification

The following steps need to be followed to earn a Certified Scrum Product Owner® (CSPO®) certification:

  • Attend two days (16 hours) of CSPO course mentored by Certified Scrum Trainer (CST)
  • Scrum Alliance will release the certification designating you as a Certified Scrum Product Owner®
  • The certification will be valid for 2-years from the date of issuance
  • Target audience of the CSPO course

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:

  • 1. Project Managers
  • 2. Developers
  • 3. Product Owners
  • 4. Managers-Software development
  • 5. Architects-Software development
  • 6. Product Managers
  • 7. Software developers
  • 8. Software testers
  • 9. Team leads/Team members interested in learning more about Scrum
  • 10. Scrum Masters
  • 11. Executives
  • 12. Business Stakeholders

Career Path of the CSPO certified professionals

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).

d) Advanced Certified Scrum Product Owner (A-CSPO℠) 

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.

Prerequisites to achieve 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.

Steps to become Advanced Certified Scrum Product Owner℠ (A-CSPO℠) certification

If you have an active CSPO certification, attend an A-CSPO certification training to learn more techniques in managing the Stakeholders and Product Backlog

  • Complete successfully all the educator-designed components of an approved institute.
  • Scrum Alliance will ask you to accept the A-CSPO license agreement and complete your Scrum Alliance membership profile.
  • You will get A-CSPO certification from Scrum Alliance. Maintain your certification by renewing your certification every two years.
  • Target audience of the A-CSPO course
  • 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.

Career Path of the A-CSPO certified professionals

Certified Scrum Professional Product Owner® (CSP-PO®) certification is the next certification in the list after A-CSPO certification.

Developer Track

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.

e) Certified Scrum Developer® (CSD)

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. 

Prerequisites to achieve Certified Scrum Developer (CSD) certification

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.

Steps to earn CSD certification

The following steps are followed to earn CSD certification:

Enroll for 5 days of CSD course taught by the Scrum Alliance approved CSD instructor. It consists of two tracks to get CSD certification and the tracks are:

Track 1

Attend CSM course (for 2 days)

CSD technical course (for 3 days)

Track 2

A basic introductory course (for 1 day)

CSD technical course (for 3 days)

CSD technical elective course (for 1 day)

After successfully completing the course (following track 1/track 2), Scrum Alliance will send you a CSD license agreement.

Congrats! You are now CSD certified. The certification will be added to your profile, which will be valid for another 2 years.

Maintain your certification by earning Scrum Education Units® (SEUs) and by renewing your certification in every two years.

Target audience of the CSD course

The Certified Scrum Developer® certification is beneficial for the software developers (programmers) building software in the Scrum organizations. This course will benefit 

  • Architects
  • DBAs
  • Designers 
  • Developers, Development Managers
  • Directors 
  • Product Managers
  • QA Engineers, Software Engineers
  • Technical Analysts, Technical Leads
  • Technical Writers 
  • Testers

Anyone who wants to be a good developer well aware of top Agile practices such as TDD, Extreme Programming etc.

Career path of CSD certified professional

Level-up your skills with Certified Scrum Professional® (CSP) certification, once you have mastered this course. 

f) Certified Scrum Professionals (CSP) certifications

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®.

Prerequisites to achieve Certified Scrum Professional® (CSP) certifications

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:

An individual should have at least 36 months of working experience as a Scrum Master/ Product Owner/ Developer/ Other in Agile or Scrum based project in the recent past 5 years.

At least 70 SEUs [Scrum education units] in past 3 years

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Steps to earn Certified Scrum Professional® certifications

If you have an active CSD certification, you are eligible to enroll your name for the Certified Scrum Professional® certification course as per the respective certifications 

Attend the CSP training to enhance your Agile facilitation and coaching skills

Complete all the educator-designed components. These components may incorporate pre- or post- course work as regraded essential by your Certified Scrum Trainer (CST) to finish the learning objectives

Complete your Scrum Alliance membership profile by agreeing to the CSP-SM/PO/D license agreement and fulfilling a minimum of 36 months of work experience as a Scrum Master/ Product Owner/ Developer respectively

Maintain your CSP certification by renewing a certification every 2-years.

Target audience of the Certified Scrum Professional® (CSP) course

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.

Career Path of the Certified Scrum Professional® (CSP®) certified professionals

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.

2. Guide Level certifications

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:

a) Certified Team CoachSM (CTC)

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.  

Prerequisites to become CTC

An active Certified Scrum Professional certification 

1,000 hours of Agile coaching experience in the last 2 years without considering your role as Scrum Master

Coaching experience in at least 2 organizations 

Must be actively participated in at least 5 Agile events

Practical experience of Scrum implementation and coaching experience in Agile and Scrum framework.

Who can attend CTC training?

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.  

Steps to achieve CTC certification

To earn Certified Team Coach (CTC) certification, an individual need to submit an application with the application fee

Scrum Alliance will cross-check the application to meet all the prerequisites required to earn this credential

Once it is approved, individuals are required to pay an annual fee to maintain this certification

b) Certified Enterprise Coach (CEC)

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. 

Prerequisites to become Certified Enterprise Coach (CEC)

A candidate aspiring Certified Enterprise Coach (CEC) credential must possess:

  • 1. Knowledge of Scrum practices, proven leadership, and coaching skills 
  • 2. An active CSP-SM™ or CSP-PO™ or CSP® certification 
  • 3. Working experience in Scrum team roles
  • 4. Coaching experience in at least three organizations
  • 5. 2,000 hours over the past 3 years of work experience as a Coach. 
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Who can attend CEC training?

This training is aimed at Agile professionals who are looking to guide the organizations in their Agile transformation. 

Steps to achieve CEC certification

Submit an application form along with a fee

Scrum Alliance does a peer assessment, candidates are asked to pay the annual fee.

c) Certified Scrum Trainer® (CST)

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.   

Prerequisites to become Certified Scrum Trainer® (CST)

To become a CST, you should have:

  • 1. In-depth knowledge of the Scrum concepts, practices, and principles
  • 2. An active Certified Scrum Professional ScrumMaster™ (CSP-SM™) or Certified Scrum Professional Product Owner™ (CSP-PO™) or CSP® designation from Scrum Alliance
  • 3. Hands-on experience in Scrum implementation as a ScrumMaster, Product Owner, or Development team member
  • 4. Teaching experience in partnership with any Certified Scrum Trainer (CST) or independently-
  • 5. Taught to at least 100 candidates
  • 6. Hosted at least 10 or more days ScrumMaster training sessions 
  • 7. Respective certifications in order to train on the courses (e.g. if want to train on CSPO, an individual should hold an active CSPO certification.  
  • 8. Target audience of Certified Scrum Trainer® (CST) course
  • 9. This certification is for the candidates who are well-versed in executing the Agile practices and desire to train other professionals.

Steps to achieve Certified Scrum Trainer® (CST) course

Individuals seeking CST certification need to submit an application with by paying an application fee

Trainer Approval Community (TAC) will review this application 

Once approved by them, Interview and Certification panel will invite those individuals to attend an in-person interview

Your performance in the interview will decide your full CST status or denial of the CST certification

If approved as a CST, you are requested to sign the CST agreement and pay the annual fee

If canceled, your interview TAC will reschedule the interview

3. Agile Leadership certifications

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:

  • Certified Agile Leader I (CAL I)
  • Certified Agile Leader II (CAL II)
  • 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 provide 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.

Whom Agile Leadership training is for?

The participants for this program vary according to their professional background and work experience. The key factor here is their wish to transform workplaces into better ways 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:

  • Coach/Consultant
  • Managers 
  • Executives
  • Crave to play a Leadership role

Let’s take a look at two kinds of CAL certifications:

a) Certified Agile Leadership I certification

Certified Agile Leadership I (CAL I) is an introductory professional course that comprises in-depth leadership development learning objectives across five categories.  

Prerequisites to attend CAL I certification

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.

Career Path after CAL I certification

After CAL I certification, you can take CAL II certification to complete your Certified Agile Leadership (CAL) certifications. 

Career Path after CAL II certification

With CAL II certification, you will be able to guide leaders in applying, growing, and sharing your Agile leadership journey with the Scrum teams.

Prerequisites to attend CAL II certification

To earn this credential, individuals must have CAL I certification and successful accomplishment of:

Advanced Education- additional education on a unique leadership development topic, customized according to your learning journey and taught by an approved CAL educator

Validated Practice- implementing the newly earned skills at work.

Renewal Policy of Scrum Alliance certifications

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:

  • Foundation level certifications are renewed by paying $100 renewal fee
  • Advanced level or Professional level certifications are renewed by earning 40 Scrum Education Units (SEUs) and paying $250 as a renewal fee
  • Coach and Trainer based certifications must be renewed annually and are required to meet all the current requirements for each such renewal.

Job roles available for Scrum Alliance certified professionals

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 the Agile careers section of the Scrum Alliance.  


A ScrumMaster has many duties to perform in an organization, right from maintaining the Development Team to helping the organization implement Scrum. However, since their role is ambiguous for some organizations, a ScrumMaster ends up taking up numerous job responsibilities and designations. 

Moreover, they also take up many roles like an Agile Coach or a Mentor and work part-time, and impart valuable knowledge for helping the organization move forward with their experience. In the end, due to their versatility, a ScrumMaster can find a suitable career path in any organization.

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