Guide to a Successful Career Path with the Scrum Alliance Certifications

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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 goals at encouraging the Scrum adoption worldwide by transforming the work culture through inspiring and guiding “individuals, leaders, and organizations with practices, values, and principles that create workplaces that are prosperous, joyful, and sustainable.” 

Scrum Alliance accomplishes its mission by adhering to three primary principles:

  • Inspire: Support leaders, organizations, and individuals on their transformation journey to agile adoption through sharing stories, innovations, and providing training.
  • Enable: Enable success through developing learning and support systems along with a global network of practitioners, coaches, and trainers.
  • Guide: Provide certification programs to meet the career wants of agile practitioners that promote agile values, practices, and principles and provide ongoing support for agile transformation.

Roles-based certifications

  • Scrum Master track:
    • Certified Scrum Master®
    • Advanced Certified Scrum Master
    • Certified Scrum Professional® -Scrum Master
  • 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®

Guide level certifications

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

Agile Leadership certifications

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

Foundation Certifications

There are three Foundation certifications. Each one focuses on a different role within an agile environment. These Foundation certifications include:

  • Certified Scrum Master (CSM): This foundation-level cert covers the basics of Scrum methodology. A CSM is part of a project team, providing input about Scrum and helping members apply Scrum practices. To obtain the credential, candidates must complete a two-day training course (approximately $1,295), pass the exam and accept the license agreement.
  • Certified Scrum Product Owner (CSPO): This foundation-level certification targets agile professionals close to the business end of projects. Typical product owners work with project stakeholders, manage project vision, create user stories and define assumptions for completion. Candidates must attend a two-day course to obtain the designation.
  • Certified Scrum Developer (CSD): This credential aims at software developers and programmers who work in an agile environment. Candidates should already have technical coding skills earlier to attempting the credential. Earning the credential needs a significant commitment in terms of time and financial resources. Upon completion, candidates will have an understanding of Agile engineering practices as they relate to Scrum principles in a software development environment. Two tracks are available to certification:
    • Track 1: Complete the CSM course plus the three-day CSD technical course (including coding).
    • Track 2: Complete the CSD Scrum Intro course, the CSD technical course, including coding (three days), plus one CSD technical elective course. Prices differ depending on whether courses are purchases separately or as part of a bundle. Candidates can expect to pay around $3,250.

Agile Leadership certifications

As the world of work is changing continuously and becomes complex, enterprises and leaders are asked to continuously deliver more new 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 results 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 competency. The CAL certifications provide a platform to enhance your leadership skills and will make you a better leader, irrespective of your present role in the organization. We will see them in detail later on.

Advanced Certifications

Advanced certifications are the next row in the Scrum Alliance certification ladder, including both Advanced and Professional credentials. Currently, Scrum Alliance only offers Advanced and Professional-level certifications for the Scrum Master and Product Owner paths. While there are no Advanced or Professional certifications available for the Developer track at present, they are part of future plans for the 2019 time frame.

To earn an advanced credential, candidates must possess the related CSM, have one year of directly related work experience, and complete the need education.

  • Advanced Certified Scrum Master (A-CSM): Successful candidates demonstrate in-depth understanding of agile coaching, facilitation, along with team interactions and dynamics. Training costs around $1,495.
  • Advanced Certified Product Owner (A-CSPO): Advanced CSPO cert holders possess advanced skills in working with product discovery, backlogs, stakeholder relationships, and product strategy. Candidates can expect to pay around $1,295 for an online training course.
  • Certified Scrum Professional (CSP): The CSP is for experienced, senior-level Scrum practitioners. CSP certifications are currently available for the Scrum Master (CSP-SM) and Product Owner (CSP-PO) certification paths. To obtain a CSP credential, candidates must possess an active A-CSM or ACSPO credential, plus at least 24 months of hands-on experience as a Scrum Master or product owner experience must have been obtained within the past five years. Candidates can expect to pay approximately $1,500 to $1,600 for the training course. A CSP for the Developer path is targeted for 2019.

Elevated/Guide Certifications

Elevated or Guide certifications focus on professionals who possess advanced knowledge and who mentor, coach, train and educate professionals about Scrum practices and frameworks. Scrum Alliance provides a single cert focused on trainers and two credentials that target professionals interesting in coaching individuals or teams.

Certified Scrum Trainer (CST)Scrum Alliance has a single certification focused on trainers. This certification is for individuals who possess in-depth knowledge and expertise of Agile practices and wishes to train others. Successful completion of CST requirements allows credential holders to teach CSM or CSPO courses.

Certified Enterprise Coach (CEC): The CEC is for agile professionals seeking to guide organizations through the process to change to a Scrum framework. A CTC works directly with individuals to assist adoption of Scrum practices.

Certified Team Coach (CTC): The Certified Team Coach (CTC) is specifically geared to the Scrum evangelist interested in coaching at a more granular level. CTCs typically engage at the team level, working with managers, individual team members and project stakeholders. Successful CTCs are able to work with multiple teams, programs or projects concurrently.


As the adoption of Agile and Scrum frameworks continues to grow in popularity, so does the demand for qualified Agile/Scrum professionals. Some common job roles include transformational leads, transformation coaches, Scrum Masters, developers, managers, engineers, testers, technical writers and architects. Scrum Alliance also maintains its own job board for community members. In the Agile Careers section of the Scrum Alliance website you’ll find job postings, blogs, career news and more.


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