Being a “scrum master” may sound like something a rugby player does, or a job that doesn’t sound all that inviting to many. But for people who know how to run software projects according to certain quick-changing, small-group management principles, it’s one of the 25 highest paying jobs in America, and there are more than 2,000 openings for it. (Jena McGregor, “The five best-paying jobs in America aren’t in the tech industry”, The Washington Post, March 8, 2017)
The new finding comes from Glassdoor, the jobs and recruiting web site, in its annual list of the best-paying jobs in America. The Post continues:
In addition to the obscure-sounding “scrum master,” the list includes 10 other technology-related jobs, as well as six health-care job titles and three finance industry careers.
Excuuuse us, “obscure-sounding”?
Scrum Master is a critical and well-established component of product development at the world’s most important companies – AND is well-paying!
“What this article says is that Agile is here to stay, as companies strive for agility,” said Kreisler Ng, Agile Practice Lead at Cprime. “That’s why companies are willing to pay the good salaries for a Scrum Master.
“These days agility is very important for business, and a Scrum Master brings that to an organization trying to compete and stay ahead of the competition,” said Kreisler. “In the past businesses were concerned with efficiency and effectiveness. Now their big concern is agility, which we deliver. It’s the Uber effect, the Airbnb effect – stay agile, don’t get disrupted. How do we avoid disruption?”
Eric Aiyathurai, Enterprise Agile Coach at Cprime, said: “Agile can be applied anywhere – incorporating the values and putting those values into practice at an organization. Agile and the Scrum Master role are more accepted in Silicon Valley than outside it. However, companies and industries outside the Silicon Valley area and technology are realizing that Agile and Scrum can be applied beyond Tech.
“I have consulted to non-technology companies and departments, such as Marketing and Sales, that want to implement Scrum and Agile principles. They have no inherent knowledge of the Scrum Master role. We have to educate them about Agile, then about the role.”
The Post also says:
“High pay continues to be tied to demand skills, higher education and working in jobs that are protected from competition or automation,” Glassdoor chief economist Andrew Chamberlain said in an emailed statement.
Correct. Look for higher-paying roles in IT and software development teams, which take specialized skills and education to tackle.
“Scrum Master is a role, not a job title,” said Kevin Thompson, Ph.D., Chief Scientist at Cprime. “Usually the actual job title is Project Manager, or Engineering Team Lead. The Washington Post article is fascinating, because ‘scrum master’ turned up as a title, not just someone’s role in an organization.”
Kreisler Ng commented, “Scrum Masters are usually engineers, QA engineers, and team leaders who want to build a new team or improve the performance of a technical team. They take training and become a Scrum Master at their usual salary.”
“The salaries may look unusual because a Scrum Master is usually not a direct contributor to delivering software products, like a developer,” said Eric Aiyathurai.
“But it’s holistic: they’re helping the company succeed – they are key to implementing cultural change for the company. If you implement the Agile framework, you can help the organization significantly reduce development costs, increase revenues, and have a positive impact for the customer.”
The Glassdoor study excluded C-level jobs, and only examined base pay, according to the Post:
To create its list, Glassdoor relies on salary reports from U.S. employees who filled out information on its site over the past year, and only considers job titles that have at least 100 salary reports for the list. Therefore, the list is limited in scope by who submits reports, and to some extent, by how they choose to describe or categorize their jobs. As a result, the list is meant to be more of a general snapshot than a comprehensive study.
Please contact Cprime Agile experts:Kreisler Ng at [email protected]
Kevin Thompson at [email protected]
Eric Aiyathurai at [email protected]