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How to Become a Scrum Master

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Scrum Alliance CSM Certified

To produce and deliver products of the highest possible value, you must be able to help teams deliver products in short cycles, enabling fast feedback, continual improvement, and rapid adaption to change. If that sounds a lot like the definition of how to become a Scrum Master to you, then you’re already on the right track to becoming a Certified Scrum Master (CSM).

Becoming a Scrum Master isn’t hard, but successfully leading your team under the principles of Scrum takes commitment, courage, and focus. The requirements to become a CSM give you the ability to do exactly that.

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What is a Certified Scrum Master?

Every agile development team needs a ScrumMaster in order to be successful. As a Certified Scrum Master, you will be properly prepared to facilitate your team and increase the chances of your team’s success. A Scrum Master is not a project manager or a project leader but rather a “servant leader” who’s dedicated to helping the team succeed within the Scrum framework. A Scrum Master has many responsibilities including helping the teamwork together and protecting the team from distractions that can derail your productivity. There are also a lot of benefits to being a CSM such as expanding your career opportunities and engaging with other Scrum experts.

What are the requirements to become a Certified Scrum Master?

There are three steps you must complete to become a Certified ScrumMaster:

Step 1

Familiarize yourself with Scrum and
complete the pre-requisites for
attending a CSM course.

Certified Scrum Master Pre-Requisites

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Step 2

Attend a Certified Scrum
Master course taught by a
Certified Scrum Trainer.

Certified Scrum Master Training

Step 3

Pass the CSM exam by correctly
answering at least 37 of
50 questions.

Certified Scrum Master Exam

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What do I need to do before taking a CSM course?

Before attending a CSM course, it’s necessary to properly prepare by fully familiarizing yourself with Scrum theory and principles. A Certified Scrum Master course typically begins with a short quiz to validate that you are ready to begin the CSM training process. To pass this quiz, you need to complete the Scrum Foundations eLearning Series, a series of videos that introduces you to Scrum Theory, Scrum Roles, Scrum Events, and Scrum Artifacts. You also should download and read the official Scrum Guide and be familiar with the Agile Manifesto. Completing these prerequisites is essential if you want to succeed in your CSM course.

What is a Certified Scrum Master Course?

CSM certification requires an in-person, two-day course taught by a Certified Scrum Trainer. The course provides an overview of the Scrum framework and prepares you to take on the Scrum Master role. You will learn about Agile, Scrum Events, Scrum Artifacts, and Scrum Roles through exercises, discussions, and case studies based on real-world experience.

After completing the course, you will be eligible for Scrum Master certification with the Scrum Alliance pending your CSM exam results. Certified Scrum Master courses also include a two-year membership with the Scrum Alliance where you will have exclusive access to valuable materials and resources.

What is the Certified Scrum Master Exam?

The CSM exam is an online test consisting of 35 multiple-choice questions. You must get at least 24 questions correct in order to pass and earn your certification. When you take the test is up to you, but it must be after you’ve completed your CSM course. The Scrum Alliance allows you to take the test at no cost up to two times. If you do not pass the second time, you will be charged a small fee for each subsequent attempt. You will be able to see which questions you answer incorrectly, but you will not be given the answers. It’s important for you not only to research any questions missed but also to make sure that your study habits are sound. Research will help ensure the best possible outcome on the Scrum Master Certification exam!

How long does it take to become a Certified Scrum Master?

The required CSM course lasts 16 hours. However, many people need to spend time studying in addition to the two days spent in training. You’ll most likely want to invest time studying and reviewing the pre-requisite materials to ensure you’re well prepared for the class. After you’ve completed the course, you’ll need to take the CSM exam online. Although the course will give you the tools and knowledge required to pass the exam, you may want to spend additional time reviewing the course materials and your notes before taking the test. Based on course availability, it may take weeks or months before you become certified, so be sure to plan accordingly. Becoming a Scrum Master will take time and effort, but the journey is worth it!

How much does a Certified ScrumMaster make?

The demand for Scrum Masters is definitely on the rise! Glassdoor’s recent report revealed that the average salary for a Certified Scrum Master in America is $98,000. LinkedIn ranked being a Scrum Master as one of their top 10 promising jobs with 67% growth from 2016 to 2017. It looks like this industry offers some great opportunities and it’s worth looking into

What is the cost of a CSM Certification?

After you enroll in our 2-day course, you will receive an introduction email to the Scrum Alliance program with two free opportunities to take your CSM exam within 90 days. You’ll become a Certified Scrum Master once you pass the CSM exam. If for some reason that doesn’t work out and you fail both attempts in this time frame, there’s a $25 charge per additional attempt. Professional certifications need to be renewed every 2 years. To renew, CSMs must complete 20 SEUs and pay a $100 fee to Scrum Alliance. You can find additional information about the cost for our CSM courses and availability here.

Are you ready to become a Certified ScrumMaster?

If you’re ready to help your team and advance your career, then it’s time to become a Certified ScrumMaster. Register for your CSM certification course today and start preparing for success.

Have additional questions about the Certified ScrumMaster certification? Read Q&As from a recent CSM course, or leave a comment below.

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33 thoughts on “How to Become a Scrum Master

  1. I’m interested in the CSM program. I understand very well it’s different from project management but I studied project management and specialized in monitoring and evaluation of projects will like to add the CSM certification, thx for sharing this.

  2. Hi,
    I’m an e&tc engineer and I need help regarding understanding of the scrum master program or agile certification program which will help me in my professional development., I am new to this so dnt have that much information.

    • You do not need technical skills, but you do need project experience. I’m of the opinion that it would be difficult to be a successful CSM without having experience facilitating teams, handling conflict, negotiating, understanding performance reporting and how it’s derived, understanding the political landscape enough to remove impediments, and much more.

  3. Is it possible to complete this course with no IT background and be marketable? I’ve been thinking about this but I have a sales background. I have managed projects before and have degrees in Sociology and Psychology. At 43 I need to make a change.

  4. Hi Ryan,
    You do not need an IT background to become a CSM or to take the course. I do think having one makes it a bit easier, but it’s not necessary. I also think managing projects is more important. Managing an IT project would be even better, but again, not necessary. Check out our course outline and see what you think and feel free to contact one of Watermark’s training consultants who will take the time with you to see if the course is a good fit for you.

  5. Hi
    I have 7years experience in ETL development Tool and now I want to Become a Scrum Master but I dont have any experience working in Agile Project.So taking the course of CSM will that help me to become a Scrum Master?

    • Taking our course will definitely help become a CSM. The trick, however, is whether or not it will help you on the job as a CSM. The technical knowledge is less important than the ability to facilitate the team, negotiate, communicate with the team and others in the organization, and resolve conflict. If you have experience in those “soft skills,” you will have more success once you complete the course. Please feel free to contact one of our sales consultants if you have any more questions at info@watermarklearning.com or 1-952-921-0900. Thank you!

    • Hi Priya.
      Yes, I think you would find the CSM class to be very helpful, and the CSM is a good addition to any resume if you are working in an agile environment or seeking opportunities to work in an agile environment. Testing is a core skill needed on any agile team. A good agile course like CSM will help you see yourself as a part of a cross-functional team in which team members can do more than one thing. So you will get a sense of how the role of testing ideally gets filled by more than one team member. Good luck and let us know if we can help you further.

  6. Thanks for sharing such type of blog about Scrum Master & I think this will be informative for them who want to be a top Certified Scrum Master.

  7. I 5 years of experience in Testing (Automation cum Manual QA). Should I go for CSM, will this help me to change my profile to BA or Scrum Master?

  8. Please I want to obtain the CSM certification, is there anywhere I can get the training online . I am in Nigeria, I dont know if my Masters Degree in Computer Science will suffice with strong emphasis on software development using agile methods.

  9. Hello, I’m a college student and this is my second year. I’m just taking my first coding class this semester I wanna know, do I need college hours to become a scrum master and also I’ve not participated in any project yet. So I want to know what the right path is for me.

    • Good news: You do not need college hours or any experience to become a Certified ScrumMaster®. You get everything you need in the CSM certification class to pass the test and become a ScrumMaster. I think that is a great place for you as you start your career.

      If you are looking for other skills development to consider, you might think about basic project management training to give you some perspective should you end up working on projects in organizations using both agile and traditional (waterfall) approaches or that are combining those approaches in various ways. Our PM training, for example, covers the basics that can be applied in all types of organizations. Later, once you get some experience under your belt, you also might consider the PMI-ACP certification, another agile certification. A business analysis class would also be really great to complement any agile training and experience you get.

      Sounds like you already have a full plate being in college! These are just a couple of thoughts about directions you can go in addition to the CSM certification. It’s an exciting time to be getting started and there are many options.

      Don’t hesitate to check in with us again on your journey. Good luck with your CSM certification and beyond!

  10. Hello,

    I have overall 9+ years of experience and would like to have Scrum Certification done besides my deliverables. I would like to know more insights on this certification and trainings standpoint followed by cost incurred for get training along with certification, cCan you please advise me regarding same.

    Thank you,

  11. Though CSM is popular Scrum certification ,PSM certifications from Scrum.org is gaining more popularity these days.

    PSM certifications from Scrum.org looks better in comparison if we see on all the parameters.

    No consistent course material(Trainers quality)and renewal required every 2 years are big negative for CSM.

  12. Hi

    Right now I’ve been on an IT project moving machines from Windows 7 to Windows 10. I currently work as an IT Administrator for seven different offices under one umbrella. I have 6 IT certifications like A+ and some Microsoft certs. Right now I’m working on getting a Project Manager certificate from the University of Washington. When I’m finished with the certification, will that enough to become a Scrum master?

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