CSM® - Certified Scrum Master

Before beginning to know about any of the scrum certifications, it is important for anybody to know and understand the most basic elements and constituents involved. For instance, one should be very clear about what is a scrum. To begin with, Scrum can be termed as a very agile framework that is designed and meant to complete difficult and complex projects. Although this design was originally formalized for projects in the field of software development, it is very useful for any complex and innovative projects. The best part about all these certifications is that they are very simply designed and tailor made to be effectively implemented. There are endless possibilities that a person can enjoy with all the scrum certifications. When one is faced with a difficult and complex project, using scrum to improve communications, speed and teamwork are the best possible resort that he is left with.

The scrum process was created by Jeff Sutherland in 1993. When he did so, he had borrowed the term “scrum” from some analogy that was actually put forward in a “1986 study by Takeuchi and Nonaka” and published in the Harvard Business review. Since scrum was originally the name of a formation of a Rugby team. It is an ordered formation of players which is used to restart play. In this formation, the forwards of a team from up with arms interlocked and heads down and then all of them try to move forward against a similar group from the opposing team. So, since the word was associated with a formation of a rugby team, Takeuchi and Nonaka compared the highly efficient and cross functional teams to this scrum formation used by Rugby teams.

Today, scrum is used by the top companies in the world and is the best agile development methodology in the world. Because of the scrum framework, the way different companies and project teams tackle complex tasks and projects have been transformed. The scrum alliance has started bringing the scrum framework and also the agile principle into an even broader world of work and beyond just software development.

Now, coming to the Certified Scrum Master certification… it is a certification that is globally acknowledged and is widely regarded for its quality. It is offered by the very highly reputed Scrum Alliance. The Certified Scrum Master is a very valuable and coveted credential. One who gets this credential is preferred over all the others who do not have it. This very valuable credential is offered to only those professionals who prove themselves in terms of skills in scrum technology and principles by passing the CSM exam. As mentioned above, this certification is offered by the Scrum Alliance. But a Certified Scrum Master can only be imparted by a Certified Scrum Trainer (CST). A CST is a scrum professional with a very extensive experience in using scrum and becomes certified scrum trainer after a very difficult evaluation process.

Who should go for a Certified Scrum Master Certification?

The world is rapidly moving and trending towards agile software environments. Due to this, the demand for professionals who have expertise in agile methodologies has grown rapidly. Most of the organizations in the world look out for professionals who are able to successfully manage and efficiently execute complex agile projects. And the Scrum master certification trains a professional especially for this. So, anybody who wishes to improve his skills in terms of managing and completing agile projects and tasks should do this certification. If you wish to enjoy great preference above all your peer, you should get this certification. Moreover, this certification is very useful for the professionals as it serves as a proof of the proficiency that the professional holds in the skillset that the employer is seeking.

How is this certification helpful?

There are thousands of benefits that the professionals with this certification enjoy. The demand for the professionals who have expertise in agile methodologies is increasing with each passing day… and so are the benefits that come with this certification. Some of these benefits are as follows:

1. Preference over others

As already mentioned a couple of times, the demand for the professionals who have an expertise in agile methodologies is increasing with each passing day. Today, almost every organization in the world looks out for certified and expert professionals for even the smallest of jobs. Thus, every professional who has such a coveted certification in his bag is bound to enjoy preference over all the others who do not have it.

2. Better employment prospects

When you have a certification like Certified Scrum Master mentioned in your CV, it improves your employment prospects to a great extent. This certification doesn’t just train you to be perfect in all the agile skills and techniques, but it also serves as a proof to the employers. When an employer sees this certification mentioned in the CV of a candidate, it makes a special impact. If you have this certification, you are highly likely to be hired than any other peer f yours without this certification.

3. Better salary than all the Non-CSMs

The benefits do not just stop at increasing your chances of getting hired, but you are also bound to enjoy a higher salary than all the professionals who do not have this certification. The median salary of the Certified Scrum Master professionals is $87,579. On the other hand, the median salary of the uncertified professionals is just $78,139. So, it is a difference of almost $10,000. Also, the Certified Scrum Masters do not earn more than just those who do not have a scrum certification, but they also earn more than the project managers. If you look at the salary of the CSMs per hour and that of the project managers, you will notice a huge difference.

4. Most widely accepted

Although there are a number of scrum certifications, the Certified Scrum Master is one which is most widely accepted and regarded by the employers. The probable reason for this is that this was the first way for anybody to get certified in the field. Moreover, it is applicable to other areas as well.

How to prepare for this exam?

Preparing for an exam is never easy. It can be even more difficult if the preparation methods are not appropriate. There is no particular way that can be called the ideal one for everyone to prepare. Everybody prepares according to his learning capability and other skills and calibre. However, there are some things that every exam requires the candidate to do. In other words, for every exam, there are certain specific things that the candidate needs to do pass that particular exam with flying colours.

The Certified Scrum Master course is practical oriented. Thus, the two-days training is one of the most important parts of this course. The candidate must complete the training and after completing the training, the candidate must pass the Certified Scrum Master test within the next three months to become a certified scrum master. Some of the few things that the candidate can do to pass this exam with less preparation are as follows:

You need to understand all the rules and roles in the scrum. Also, you should also understand all of the artefacts of the scrum. Well, these are some things that go without even saying. If you are even thinking about preparing for an exam, the first thing that you should do is get aware of everything and anything that has the slightest of connection with the exam. You should also take a very good look at all the events and ceremonies in the scrum.

What is the exam format?

The Certified Scrum Master exam is an online test. It consists of 35 questions. These questions are MCQs. To pass the exam, one needs to answer at least 24 correctly out of the 35 in total. The candidate must have completed the two-days training and then only he can take up the exam. The test takes around sixty minutes to complete. There is no time limit as such for the candidates. The candidates are allowed to pause the test, take breaks and restart the times as many times as they wish to. Moreover, the candidates are also allowed to skip questions and even bookmark them for some later review that they might want to do. Once you complete the test, you can review these questions and then finally submit the answers for evaluation. As soon as you click the submit button, a warning message appears on the screen if you have left any questions unanswered. Once all this is done your score will immediately appear on the screen.

What are the eligibility requirements?

There are no set or fixed eligibility requirements for certified scrum master. However, all the candidates must have at least basic understanding of the scrum principles. They should possess some working knowledge of the scrum process.

How to score well?

There is no ideal set of introductions that can be set for the candidates to score well in not just in this exam, but for any other exam. There is no ideal set of rules or instructions as such. But there are some things that the professionals can do to score well in the exam of the Certified Scrum Master Certification. Some of these things are as follows:

1. Study the scrum guide thoroughly

This is something that goes without even mentioning. One should read the scrum guide as thoroughly as he can. This is one of the most important things that will contribute to the candidate getting a good score. The candidates should study the scrum guide thoroughly once before the class and also once before taking the actual exam. It will boost the chances of him getting a good score.

2. Take mock tests

Taking mock tests can help any candidate with any examination. Taking mock tests is bound to prove extremely helpful for every candidate irrespective of the calibre. The candidates who take up this exam should take as many mock tests as you can. These mock tests help you in getting aware of the rules and regulations of the exam. When you take up a mock test, it helps you in getting used to the atmosphere of the exam hall and also becoming mentally prepared for taking the actual examination.

3. Keep your cool during the exam

No matter how much you prepare, if you cannot keep your calm during the actual exam in the examination hall, all the effort and all the preparation goes waste. If you fail at keeping your calm when it matters the most (which is very common by the way) all the preparation of yours goes into absolute waste. So, it is imperative for all the candidates taking this exam to keep their exam during the exam. One should keep reminding himself that he has prepared a lot and there is no reason for him to worry about. Moreover, the candidates should stay focused during the examination.

4. Review the questions once you have completed

The candidates tend to commit careless mistakes during the exam. The candidates can commit as careless a mistake as solving down to the right answer and then marking some other. Therefore, if you want to score well in an important exam like this, it is imperative for you to avoid mistakes as these. For avoiding these mistakes, you can try and review all the questions before you submit them for final evaluation. If you have the slightest doubt about anything, then review that thing and only then, submit the answers for final evaluation.

5. Be careful and disciplined

Again, these are some things that g without even being mentioned. These are the most basic of things that are expected of a candidate preparing for any exam. But at the same time, these things are also the ones that the candidates tend to miss out on. So, make sure that you do not do any such things and you do not do anything stupid during the exam.