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If effective project management, agile development methodologies, and positive workplace facilitation intrigue you, then you might want to become a Scrum master. The prevalence of the Scrum framework applies to all industries including project managers or product owners in the tech or business management industry.

You can learn this effective Agile methodology and Scrum process to increase task productivity and amplify your project management skills. Read on to learn how to become a Scrum master in 2021. You’ll learn about education pathways, job descriptions and requirements, Scrum certification courses, and essential skills needed to become a Scrum Master.

What Is a Scrum Master?

A Scrum master, also referred to as a servant leader, is a project leader who supports and supervises development teams using Scrum and Agile frameworks to ensure efficient outcomes in a complex project. Agile values contain several productive project management methodologies including Scrum and Crystal.

A dedicated Scrum master delivers Agile and Scrum values through continuous learning, leadership skills, technical background, and expert knowledge of the product. Job opportunities for Scrum masters aren’t just limited to software development projects. These professionals can find work in the financial, marketing, government, construction, and consulting industries.

How Does Scrum Master Relate to Data Science?

Scrum masters relate to data science by applying Agile project management methodology to products including data analytics development and machine learning approaches to research.
The application of Scrum events in data science includes sprints, daily meetings, and sprint retrospectives.

Scrum masters play a non-tech role. They support and lead the data science Scrum team which includes data scientists, data analysts, and data engineers. They are in charge of applying Scrum practices such as accountability, deadline urgency, empirical evidence, and burndown charts to a data science project.

How Long Does It Take to Become a Scrum Master?

The time it takes to become a Scrum master varies depending on your current qualifications and learning path. One of the most popular ways to become a Scrum master is by obtaining a Scrum master certification. There are several ways to prepare for the certification exams, including over 100 e-learning CSM courses that are taught by certified Scrum trainers.

In addition to the certification training courses, most Scrum master positions require three to four years of industry-relevant project management experience. To become a professional Scrum master, you will need more than the CSM certification.

Although there is no industry standard requirement for Scrum masters, getting a bachelor’s degree can enhance your candidacy. You can get a bachelor’s degree in information technology, computer science, software development, or other relevant fields. The degree will take you around four to five years to complete.

Where to Study Scrum Master

The appropriate education track to become a Scrum master entirely depends on your career goals and current career trajectory. For instance, if you are a programmer looking to move into the project management world within your sector, then CSM certification programs can provide a strong understanding of Scrum principles and Agile management.

Similarly, if you are a professional data scientist with over a year of experience looking to advance into project management, then you can earn the Advanced Certified Scrum Master certification. The educational routes to becoming a Scrum master will vary from person to person. Below you’ll find some of the ways to study to become a Scrum master.

Scrum Master Community Colleges

Community colleges are great alternatives to four-year universities. You can pursue an associate degree or a certification program depending on your preferences. Normandale Community College, Delgado Community College, and Des Moines Area Community College offer Scrum and Agile programs.

The community college option is best for beginners looking to get professionally certified in Scrum methodologies. Along with a community college Scrum certification, you can get an associate degree to enter a Scrum-related entry-level position.

Scrum Master Universities

There are several universities partnered with Scrum.org that offer a Scrum education. Currently, some of the highly reputable partners include Carnegie Mellon University, Boston University, and Durham University. The Scrum master training offered by University partners is meant for current students of the partner universities wanting to earn a professional Scrum certification.

Getting a university Scrum certification is ideal for students looking to enhance their professional portfolio in Agile project management, regardless of the industry. You can even use the Scrum certification to pursue career opportunities in software development or data science.

Scrum Master Coding Bootcamps

Coding bootcamps are short-term training institutions that prepare you for an entry-level job within a few months. Bootcamps are a great option for anyone looking for extensive job placement services and in-demand skills training.

Some of the best Scrum coding bootcamps include BrainStation, Codesmith, The Tech Academy, and Tech Elevator. These bootcamp options are ideal for anyone wanting to enter the project management, full stack development, or Scrum master field.

Scrum Master Online Courses

There are tons of massive open online courses (MOOCs) that offer online Scrum master courses to teach you fundamental to advanced Agile and Scrum skills. This option is ideal for established professionals who want to earn a certification in Scrum and advance in Scrum management.

Two hands holding notes that say “To do”, “Doing”, and “Done”. How to Become a Scrum Master: A Step-by-Step Guide

How to Become a Scrum Master: A Step-by-Step Guide

There are simple steps that can be followed to become a Scrum master. However, this process will vary from person to person, depending on educational background, professional experience, and industry of interest. Below is a general step-by-step guide for becoming a Scrum master. You can personalize the steps according to your career goals.

Get a specialized education in your industry of choice

The first step to becoming a professional Scrum master is to get an education that will allow you to gain professional experience. You can study software development, data analysis, or business analysis.

Gain three or more years of industry experience

The second step entails gaining relevant professional experience to be eligible for a Scrum master job. You can apply for jobs that use Agile practices, project management, or cloud-based project management software.

Enroll in CSM courses

Once you have acquired industry-related experience, you can enroll in online CSM courses to prepare for the certification exam. Be sure to gain in-depth practice of Scrum processes, including components of daily Scrum meetings.

Pass the CSM certification exam

Once you’ve developed the relevant Scrum knowledge and skills, you’re ready to sit for the CSM certification exam. There are 50 multiple choice questions on the CSM exam and you need to get a minimum of 74 percent to earn the certification.

Apply for jobs

Upon successful completion of the CSM certification course, you are now ready to apply for a Scrum master position. There are plenty of online job boards that can assist you in your job hunt. Some of the most popular ones include Indeed, LinkedIn, Glassdoor, and CareerBuilder.

Entry-Level Scrum Master Job Requirements

The job requirements for an entry-level Scrum master is three or more years of professional relevant experience and a Scrum certification. Although you do not need a four-year degree to become a Scrum master, it does significantly boost your appeal.

You can get a bachelor’s degree in computer science or software engineering. In addition to the educational qualifications, you should learn other frameworks including Crystal, Kanban, and XP to enhance your candidacy. Moreover, you can work as an Agile practitioner, software developer, or technical analyst to get the required experience.

Scrum Master Salary and Job Outlook

Although Scrum masters work across several non-technical industries, the US Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) lumps the position with computer and information systems managers. According to BLS, the number of Scrum master-related jobs is projected to grow by 11 percent between 2020 to 2030. According to PayScale, the average annual salary for Scrum masters is $89,942.

Example Scrum Master Job Interview Questions

  • What experience do you have with Scrum teams, Scrum daily meetings, and other Scrum processes?
  • What is the job role of a Scrum master?
  • What’s the difference between a Scrum team and an Agile team?
  • How are Agile coaches different from Scrum coaches?

What Does a Scrum Master Do?

Scrum masters have a deep understanding of Scrum to ensure the Scrum framework is closely followed by the Scrum team. This entails coaching, implementing, and overseeing Scrum and Agile processes, and facilitating the daily meeting and daily standup. Below are some of the Scrum master-related job duties in detail.

Help product teams apply Scrum principles

One of the primary duties of Scrum masters is to ensure products meet deadlines efficiently by implementing Scrum principles. Scrum masters act as a coach and provide the needed support to product teams for optimal productivity.

Monitor team performance

Scrum masters also monitor productivity by evaluating projects, progress, and performance through conducting daily Scrums. The topics covered during the meetings include inspection of the cause behind the product backlog, sprint review, and finding efficient Agile planning strategies to meet the sprint goal.

Resolve team issues

Scrum masters help resolve any internal team issues that have caused project delays. This requires Scrum masters to have excellent communication and interpersonal skills.

Essential Scrum Master Skills and Certifications

Essential Scrum Master Skills and Certifications

In order to succeed and stay relevant as a Scrum master, you need to develop the necessary technical and soft skills. Listed below are some of the most important Scrum master skills and certifications required for this profession.

Scrum Master Skills

Agile Skills

Because Scrum uses Agile principles, it is crucial to have an understanding of Agile practices. You can pursue an Agile career prior to applying for a Scrum master position to better understand and implement the Agile framework.

Project Facilitation Skills

As a Scrum master, your job revolves around coaching, supporting, monitoring, and coordinating projects. Therefore, you must master project facilitation to succeed in this position. You should be able to lead project planning and execution.

Organizational Skills

In order to efficiently monitor project statuses, apply basic principles, and support an entire product team, you must have great organizational skills. Organizational skills enable you to efficiently oversee multiple operations at once.

Scrum Master Certifications

Professional Scrum Master (PSM) Certifications by Scrum.org

The PSM one, two, and three certifications offered by Scrum.org are suitable for showcasing a fundamental to advanced understanding of Scrum principles. These PSM certifications are for established professionals looking to add Scrum qualifications to their portfolios and move into project management positions.

Certified Scrum Master Certification Training by Learning Tree International

This foundational CSM training is 13 hours long. It is taught by a professional scrum trainer and covers the essential skills needed to become a Scrum master. Although the training is in-person, you will take an online exam and get the certification by email.

Certified Scrum Master Certification Training by Star Agile

The CSM by Star Agile is a two-day training that covers the Scrum process for the entire product development process. This certification is best for project managers, product owners, and team leads looking to enhance their skills. You will get 16 professional development units on completion and receive the certification via email.

Reasons to Become a Scrum Master in 2022

There are a multitude of reasons to become a Scrum master in 2021. This includes an attractive compensation and job outlook. If you are looking for a career that allows you to become a hands-on practitioner, providing support for project facilitation and efficiency, then becoming a Scrum master is a good career choice for you.

Scrum Master FAQ

Do I need a bachelor’s degree to become a Scrum master?

No, getting a bachelor’s degree is not mandatory to become a Scrum master. However, a bachelor’s degree will help you acquire relevant job experience needed for a Scrum master position.

What are the essential Scrum master skills?

Essential Scrum master skills include interpersonal, project management, Agile, organizational, and communication skills.

Is it easy to get a certified Scrum master certification?

Yes, it is easy to get a certified Scrum master certification. The training courses last one to two days and fully prepare you to sit for the associated exam.

Do Scrum masters need to know Agile?

Yes, Scrum masters need to be familiar with Agile as Scrum is an Agile methodology.

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