Hello everyone! Welcome back to the Cognixia podcast. Every week, we pick up a topic around one of the emerging digital technologies and discuss it in a little more depth, aiming to help our countless listeners from around the world set on a path to learn something new. From DevOps to Kubernetes, Cloud Computing to ITIL, we cover a wide range of topics on our podcast. We also take up topics suggested & requested by our audience in the podcast too, after you, our listeners are very, very important to us.
In this week’s episode of the Cognixia podcast, we are again taking up a topic that was requested by one of our listeners. Thank you Priya for giving us such amazing feedback, we are so happy to help you on your learning journey. And today, we are taking up a topic you requested – What are the career growth options for Certified Scrum Masters? We have the list of questions you had and we are going to do our best to answer your questions, Priya.
To answer your questions, we have our in-house Scrum Expert – Chitra with us today. Chitra has over 7 years of experience as a Certified Scrum Master and has worked with some of the best brands in the world leading their Scrum teams, playing a critical role in building effective strategies and delivering outstanding results.
Welcome Chitra to the Cognixia podcast, we are so glad to have you here today.
Chitra: Thank you for having me on the podcast, it’s good to be here.
Rohan: In today’s episode we will try to answer the questions we have about the career options for Certified Scrum Masters, and Chitra will help us with this. So, let’s get started. First, let us try to answer some basic questions, just to set up a foundation.
Chitra, tell us, what is Scrum, really? Everybody keeps talking about it, but what does Scrum really mean?
Chitra: Literally speaking, Scrum is an ordered formation of players, it is a rugby term generally. But in the IT space, Scrum has a deeper meaning. If I had to put it in layman’s terms, I would say Scrum is a framework that helps teams work together. Just as in rugby where the term is very commonly used, Scrum in IT also encourages teams to learn through experiences, organize effectively when working on solving problems, and introspect on what went well & what could be done better. The main aim of Scrum, in the IT context, is to help people, teams, and organizations create value through adaptive solutions for their problems.
Rohan: That’s cool, I didn’t know it was a rugby term. That’s something new I learned today. Chitra, could you tell us, according to you, who is a Scrum Master?
Chitra: I would say, a Scrum Master is somebody who leads and guides the Scrum Team in using Scrum practices for managing agile projects. The Scrum Master would be accountable for the Scrum Team’s effectiveness and would be responsible for handling all the communication and collaboration among the leadership as well as the team members for delivering successful outcomes. The Scrum Master takes the initiative and works to ensure positive outcomes for the team as a whole as well as individual team members. Their role involves many different tasks, such as heading daily Sprint meetings, team reviews, demonstrations, supporting the team members in their respective roles, guiding the team about the principles and methodologies they need to follow, facilitating open discussions, handling conflicts and conflict resolution, identifying issues and working with the team to resolve them, maintaining and updating trackers for the projects the team is working on, etc.
Rohan: Got it, got it. So, Chitra, tell us, why should a Scrum Master get certified?
Chitra: There is always a difference between knowing something, and having a certificate from a recognized body that says you know something. For instance, an organization can keep claiming that they follow quality standards of the highest order, but their claims will carry so much more weight once they get an ISO certification that validates those claims. In the same way, a Scrum Master should consider getting certified not just to further their skills and get international validation for the same, but also to learn new things on the way, and open up new promising prospects for themselves. The Certified Scrum Master credentials from the Scrum Alliance or CSM as it is popularly called, give a Scrum Master an opportunity to demonstrate their knowledge, gain a deeper understanding of different concepts & methodologies, expand their career opportunities, get a chance to network with the Scrum Masters’ community spread all over the globe, as well as improve their leadership skills while also playing a more important role in bringing about organizational change. Certified Scrum Masters not only have much more exciting prospects but are also bigger and more valuable assets for their organizations.
Rohan: I think that makes for a brilliant case for Scrum Masters everywhere to get certified…
Chitra: Absolutely, there is no doubt about that.
Rohan: So, suppose we have a Scrum Master who is now a Certified Scrum Master, what would you say are their career options now? They’ve proved their mettle as a Scrum Master and are continuing to do so. But what’s next? Nobody wants to be stuck in the same role for the rest of their lives usually, so what can they do next?
Chitra: There are many career options open for Certified Scrum Masters. First of all, let me tell you, Certified Scrum Masters definitely have huge respect among the IT community, they are already the best of the best professionals in the Scrum world after all. So, getting the certificate itself is a huge step. And I understand, that people want to know what’s next, what’s the next step on the ladder for them, and what are they climbing towards. The good thing is, that there is no defined or fixed ladder for Certified Scrum Masters. CSM professionals have multiple options available to them, and they can choose what they would like to do next based on their interest and their goals.
For instance, if a Certified Scrum Master is interested in the business side of things, they can consider becoming a Product Owner. They can gradually grow towards the role, and then get certified as a Certified Scrum Product Owner to earn the reputed CSPO credentials. A Product Owner’s role is more on the business side – managing budgets, planning product releases, bridging communications between the customers and the product development functions, etc.
Most Certified Scrum Masters choose to go up their existing ladder – the Scrum Master ladder, where the logical next step is to be the Senior Scrum Master, which is a step up from their current role usually. For this, you also have an advanced certification from Scrum Alliance – the Advanced Certified Scrum Master which empowers Certified Scrum Master to continue learning and growing their skills.
Another very good career option for Certified Scrum Masters is to become an Agile Coach. An Agile Coach steers an enterprise through challenges while also helping maximize the ROI through enterprise coaching. So, if you are a Certified Scrum Master who feels you are great at or are keenly interested in motivating, teaching, and nurturing Agile adoption should definitely consider taking up this career path. There are also certification options for this path from Scrum Alliance – you can pursue the Advanced Certified ScrumMaster credentials, followed by the Certified Scrum Professional – ScrumMaster credentials, and finally taking up the Certified Agile Coach & Certified Scrum Trainer credentials.
Rohan: Oh, that seems very interesting. Are there more options for the Scrum Masters outside the Scrum arena?
Chitra: Absolutely. Certified Scrum Masters can be great fits for taking up the role of project manager. Thanks to their work experience and credentials, Certified Scrum Masters can work as project managers for both Agile as well as non-Agile projects. Good project managers are adept at motivating teams to actively work towards particular goals, something Scrum Masters are already good at and have experience doing. Certified Scrum Masters can actually draw on their knowledge and experience of Scrum to be better project managers, being better at effectively guiding and supporting the project teams to deliver successful outcomes for everybody.
One more path that opens up for Certified Scrum Masters with considerable experience and the right skills would be the path to being a CIO – the Chief Information Officer. It might seem far-fetched for many, but trust me when I say this, Certified Scrum Masters make great CIOs. Scrum Masters have just the experience one needs to be passionate about and to be committed to be successful, to improve constantly and relentlessly, and to motivate others to always put their best foot forward in everything they do. It might need considerable experience and time before this could happen for them, but realistically speaking, this could be an achievable ambition and goal for Certified Scrum Masters.
Rohan: Wow, now that’s a goal so many of us would want to work for, isn’t it? This one is quite a revelation, Chitra. So, it would be an overstatement to say that Certified Scrum Masters do have a promising future ahead of them.
Chitra: No doubts about that at all. Certified Scrum Masters have a promising future full of lucrative opportunities ahead of them – they would need to put in the work for it, just like you would for any other role or any other field. There are so many career options opening up for Certified Scrum Masters and I feel their demand will continue to grow in the future. Their pay prospects are already quite promising and that too, I would say would grow with time. If you are on the fence about pursuing a Scrum Master role, take it from me, now is your time to take the plunge.
Rohan: Absolutely. So, people, you heard Chitra, there couldn’t be a better time to be a Certified Scrum Master. Cognixia is offering some very attractive offers on our live online instructor-led Certified Scrum Master training and certification course, and if you would like to get started hit us up in our DMs, drop us a line via email, call us, send us a WhatsApp, get in touch with us on the chat on our website, anywhere you prefer, and our career development team will reach out to you and guide you ahead.
With that, we come to the end of this week’s episode of the Cognixia podcast. We hope you enjoyed listening to us, and we are super thankful that you took time out to listen to us. Thank you, Chitra for joining us for this week’s episode, we are sure our listeners were able to get some valuable insights that would help them make the right choice and build a successful career in Scrum.
Until next week then, happy learning everyone!