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What is a good certification path for a Scrum Master?

A natural progression from a Scrum Master role is to evolve into Agile coaching.

There are, however, also many people who love being a Scrum Master and push to become the most influential, knowledgeable version of that as they can be.

Both the Scrum Alliance and IC Agile have created certification paths for Scrum Masters to help with their progression from apprenticeship to mastery.

Scrum Alliance Path

The Certified Scrum Master course and credential is the entry-level certification for aspiring Scrum Masters. After passing the international exam, you would generally work in the role of a Scrum Master and progress through learning on the job.

There are several great books, articles, podcasts, and videos that you can invest your time and effort into, especially to develop core competencies such as facilitation and coaching.

After a year in the role of a Scrum Master, Scrum Alliance offer the Advanced Certified Scrum Master certification which is a great course to do when you find yourself taking more of an active role in coaching the scrum team in addition to being a Scrum Master.

Again, time in the role combined with developing your expertise within that role is critically important as you progress. A great Scrum Master is the glue that binds the scrum team together and you will find that you play a crucial role in the creation and development of products and services.

After two (2) or more years in the role of a Scrum Master, Scrum Alliance offer the Certified Scrum Professional Scrum Master certification which helps you transition into a more senior role as a Scrum Master within scrum environments.

At this point, it is likely you will be an influential figure within the organization and straddle the line between coach and practitioner. You may find yourself working at the team level or in a broader enterprise-level capacity.

If you aspire to evolve into the Agile coaching role, Scrum Alliance offer the Certified Team Coach certification for individuals with demonstrated expertise working with scrum teams as well as the Certified Enterprise Agile Coach certification for individuals with demonstrated expertise working at the enterprise level.

The Certified Team Coach and Certified Enterprise Coach certifications are tough to obtain and as such, you will require mentoring and coaching to get there. Agile Centre have an Agile Coaching Academy dedicated to helping Scrum Masters do just that.

A 6-month to 24-month journey from Scrum Master to Agile Coach that helps you with your CTC and CEC applications via the Scrum Alliance.

Another popular certification path for aspiring Agile coaches is via ICAgile.

IC Agile Path

Agile Centre offer the Certified Agile Team Coaching course and certification for experienced Scrum Masters, Product Owners and aspiring Agile coaches.

IC Agile don’t have the same prerequisites as Scrum Alliance for your progression so you are able to do the course and achieve the certification at any stage of your career.

Where Scrum Alliance like to see demonstrated expertise and competence at each stage of your career progression before awarding certification, ICAgile focus on the core competencies being taught on the course and provide certification based on meeting the learning objectives.

The Agile Coaching Academy is also a great option for people who have chosen the IC Agile route and are actively looking for coaching, mentoring and guidance as they progress through their apprenticeship as an Agile coach.

Scrum Career Progression

The best advice I can give you as an aspiring Scrum Master, Agile Coach or Enterprise Agile Coach is that it is important to balance certification with on-the-job apprenticeship.

You need to be experimenting, trying new things and deeply embedding skill sets in your quest for Mastery. Your apprenticeship should lead you to a point where you embark on the journeyman stage of your career and work towards achieving Mastery.

Speak to people that you admire, actively seek out coaches and mentors, and invest time and effort into reading everything from books through to blogs from respected Agile practitioners and coaches.

A Scrum Master career is an incredibly rewarding path, and you will find that there are unlimited opportunities for you to learn, progress and evolve.

You can choose to become a significant Scrum Master, or you can choose to evolve into the Agile coaching side of things. Whichever route you choose is going to require dedication, effort and a commitment to continuous learning and practice.

Frequently Asked Scrum Master Questions

Frequently asked Training and Certification questions