How to Become a Certified Scrum Master: Step-by-step Guide to Professional Scrum Master Career

By | February 29, 2016
Certified Scrum master

To become a certified Scrum master requires taking online certification exam. Image source:

How to Become a Certified Scrum Master: Step-by-step Guide to Professional Scrum Master Career

As a member of an agile Scrum team, you can advance your professional Scrum master career by taking the Scrum Master Certification exam and become certified.

There are great benefits for becoming a Certified Scrum Master, CSM, which include:

  • A proof of having current knowledge of Scrum domain, which can also serve as proof of competence in working with Scrum
  • You will be able to work more effectively with and in the absence of your team’s Scrum Master than your peers, which places you for a higher responsibility and promotion
  • You will stand a better chance of being hired for a higher role in a Scrum team
  • It will enhance your knowledge and perspective and provides more responsibilities and juicier opportunities for career development
  • You will be able to create awesome products and services for your customers, getting them satisfied beyond their expectation.

Now, before going into how to get Scrum Master Certification, let’s look at what Scrum is.

What is Scrum?

Scrum is the widely used agile project management framework for creating software packages for companies’ internal use or for clients.

Scrum’s popularity arises from the fact that it can be applied in developing various kinds of software products to completion, or used in developing a major part of a larger system in all industries.

The beauty of Scrum also lies in the fact that it can be applied in developing all kinds of products and services, irrespective of their complexity and industry.

The highly popular agile methodology for project management is designed to quickly provide major value all through a project due to its flexible, fast, and adaptive features.

It provides an environment that promotes collective accountability between team members, ensures transparent communication, and encourages continuous progress of the scrum team.

A major advantage of Scrum is in its application of self-organized, cross-functional, and empowered teams who share their tasks into small, focused work cycles, with the goal of meeting customers’ requirements and getting them satisfied.

Unlike the traditional project management, which highlights carrying out total planning before a project starts, with the view of fixing and managing certain parameters, including the schedule, cost, and scope, Scrum emphasizes data based, iterative procedure where the main focus is to create products that completely satisfy the need of the customer.

Scrum therefore encourages prioritization and Time-boxing as opposed to fixing the cost, schedule, and scope of a project as is obtainable with the traditional project management system.

The Scrum approach ensures the delivering of much value to the customer in a shorter time.

How to Obtain Scrum Master Certification

To be a certified Scrum master, you will need to pass the certification exam, which you can take online anytime and at your convenience.

There are several accredited independent institutions that help interested IT professionals get the Scrum certification. You can do a Google search for them, and then look them up to choose the one that best suit your convenience.

The institutions have different training programs to help candidates pass the exam. While some have both video and pdf course materials that students can find on their websites for free to use before taking the test, others organize a two-day classroom lectures where participants will have to be physically present and taught by experienced experts for a fee.

The Scrum master certification exam is a multiple-choice test you can take online, and the number of questions you will be provided with to answer vary with the institute. You will be expected to get 60% and above of the answers correct, depending on the institution, to pass the examination.

If you didn’t pass the exam at your first trial, you will have the opportunity to take it again and again, sometimes without additional charge, until you pass it.

Who Should Obtain Scrum Master Certification?

If you are a member of an agile Scrum team, you should seek to obtain the Scrum master certification and develop the competence that will enable you to be more effective in the team and be able to take the role of the professional Scrum master in his/her absence.

The certification is also valuable for you to have even if you are not planning to work on behalf of the Scrum master as it helps you to gain a deeper understand of Scrum and why it is a great project management framework to work with compared with others.

Generally, if you are involved in any of the software engineering positions shown below, having a Scrum master certification will be a rewarding idea:

  • Programmer Product Manager
  • Business Analyst Team Leader
  • Tester
  • Designer Project Manager
  • Architect Program Manager.

Duties and Responsibilities of a Certified Scrum Master

Here are a number of duties and responsibilities Scrum masters with certification usually perform:

  • Facilitating the team’s progress: If the scrum team is to advance with new plans and projects, it is the CSM who will facilitate such ideas in the minds of his team members. He acts as a leader and a coach to the team with the aim of making progressive moves and taking profitable actions in the agile system
  • Removing impediment: The certified Scrum manager takes the responsibility of removing inevitable impediment out of the way of the team. He stands out by taking necessary steps that are possible for removing obstacles that may come in the Scrum team’s way
  • Collaborating with the product owner: He/she initiates existence of collaboration between the team and the product owner. He/she talks the product owner into adopting suggestions for better product development and management
  • Taking the best Scrum approach: It is the role of the Scrum master to make sure that every member of his team takes the best Scrum approach essential for excelling
  • Lecturing the product owner: The Scrum manager brings to the attention of the product owner the knowledge of Return On Investment (ROI) through Scrum
  • Productivity increase: It is the duty of the Scrum manager to create avenues for the productivity increase of the team through any possible means.

What is the salary of a Certified Scrum Master?

The certified Scrum master’s salary can be determined by qualification and experience. Payscale salary rating is reported to be $112,000. In the UK, the .Net Scrum developer earns £40K- £50K while .Net Scrum contractor earns £40- £65.