While learning and applying Agile principles – including the Scrum methodology – can be rewarding in themselves, many people want to take their training and experience a step further by becoming formally certified in additional Agile disciplines.
This makes a lot of sense from a career standpoint as these certifications serve like degrees or diplomas from highly respected schools: they provide outside confirmation that you know your stuff and you’re up-to-date on best practices in Agile.
There are several different certifications available, but one of the most sought-after is the Certified Scrum Professional (CSP) certification. Here’s how The Scrum Alliance – an organization who provides industry-recognized Scrum certifications – describes the benefits of CSP certification:
• Validate your practical experience and competency in Scrum.
• Demonstrate to employers and peers your attainment of a deeper knowledge and ability to execute Scrum successfully.
• Expand your career opportunities by staying relevant and marketable across all industry sectors adopting Agile practices.
• Engage with a community of recognized Scrum experts who are committed to continuous improvement.
To become a CSP, you must take three simple but important steps:
STEP ONE: Adequate foundational credentials
The CSP is an advanced certification that indicates the recipient is both knowledgeable and experienced in the practical and theoretical use of Scrum. Therefore, you must already have obtained one or more of the foundational Scrum certifications:
•Certified Scrum Master (CSM) – CSMs are fluent in Scrum basics, has learned the Scrum framework, knows how to apply Scrum to their projects, and how to navigate the cultural changes necessary to implement Scrum. Recipients are qualified to lead Agile teams in the role of Scrum Master. (Training for the CSM certification is available through cPrime in both a foundational and more advanced “accelerated” curriculum.)
•Certified Scrum Product Owner (CSPO) – CSPOs are fluent in Scrum basics with a specific focus on the Product Owner role, have learned about managing stakeholders, have experience creating and grooming the Product Backlog, emerging detail with Product Backlog Items and managing User Stories including Acceptance Criteria and the Definition of Done. Recipients are qualified to take on the role of Product Owner in a Scrum environment. (Training in preparation for the CSPO certification is available from cPrime.)
•Certified Scrum Developer (CSD) – CSDs have demonstrated a working understanding of Scrum principles and have learned specialized Agile engineering skills. (For training options, see The Agile Alliance course list.)
STEP TWO: Adequate work experience
To qualify for certification as a CSP, you’ll need to demonstrate “a minimum of 36 months of successful Agile/Scrum work experience gained within the past 5 years implementing Scrum inside organizations as team member, product owner, ScrumMaster, or ‘Other.’”
Becoming a CSP is not just a matter of book knowledge crammed before a test. Rather, it’s a formal acknowledgment of both the knowledge and the experience you have applying that knowledge in real-world Agile environments.
STEP THREE: Adequate Scrum Education Units (SEUs)
Like most ever-evolving disciplines, Scrum is constantly being refined. There is a rich body of research, reporting, and opinion published regularly by professionals the world over, and ongoing training classes and workshops available to help practitioners keep their skills sharp and up-to-date.
To help professionals track their ongoing education in the art and science of Scrum, Scrum Education Units (SEUs) were developed by The Scrum Alliance.
To qualify as a CSP, you’ll need to pull together a minimum of 70 SEUs during a three-year period prior to your certification. The units can be tracked online and include recognition of both formal and informal training, event participation, volunteer activity, and independent learning (subject to Alliance approval, of course.) For more details on how to earn SEUs, see The Alliance website.
SEUs can be earned via formal training programs for the CSM and CSPO certifications provided by cPrime.