Main image of article Scrum Master Degree: Do You Need One for the Role?

In the rapidly evolving landscape of IT and project management, the role of a Scrum Master has emerged as a vital component of successful, Agile-driven teams. In essence, a Scrum Master is a facilitator and servant-leader who helps Agile teams adhere to the principles of the Scrum framework (an Agile methodology used for project management and software development) and achieve their goals efficiently.

But do you need a degree to become a Scrum Master? If you don’t need a degree, what kind of education and skills can help you land a job as one?

Do you need a degree to become a Scrum Master?

A formal degree in scrum does not exist at present; therefore, you don’t need a “Scrum Master degree” to become a Scrum Master. If you aspire to a Scrum-related position, take the time to master the skills and terms related to Scrum, such as the definition of ‘artifact’ and how to handle a backlog.

However, many organizations would like their Scrum Masters to have scrum certifications, and, depending on the industry, a degree in a relevant field such as computer science. If you want to land this role, consider pursuing certification programs offered by recognized organizations such as and the Scrum Alliance; these certification programs, such as Certified ScrumMaster (CSM) or Professional Scrum Master (PSM), provide training and assessments to validate an individual's knowledge and skills related to Scrum practices.

What degrees can help me become a Scrum Master?

While there are no degrees specific to Scrum Master, many universities and institutions offer degrees or courses in related fields like project management, Agile methodologies, or software development, which can be valuable for professionals interested in pursuing this career path.

Jenna Resnick, senior unit manager, technology services at LaSalle Network, points out that an IT or computer systems degree opens the door to roles in the technology space, and therefore, a Scrum Master role. From her perspective, the most relevant degrees to open those doors are information technology, information or computer systems, business systems, or computer science.

“Business operations, project leadership and management degrees may also be useful to leverage if you are looking to become a Scrum Master,” she adds. “Scrum Masters play a large part in ensuring productive project and software delivery and managing teams effectively, so an understanding of business as a whole and project leadership can help to lay the foundation to becoming a Scrum Master.”

Starr Ojeikere, Agile transformation coach at Altimetrik, agrees there are several degrees that would support a career path to Scrum Master. “Computer science or software engineering are helpful degrees for IT professionals as they have technical knowledge in software development,” she says. “Project management is useful as the degree provides relevant skills for managing projects and teams.”

She adds that a degree in psychology and communication would also provide the relevant soft skills required to effectively manage the "people" aspect of any project. “A business management degree would inform leadership skills as the Scrum Master is a Servant Leader.”

In addition, a degree in information technology would provide a variety of IT skills such as project management, database administration, systems administration and a comprehensive understanding of software.

What certifications can help me become a Scrum Master?

Ojeikere says that certification can be regarded as a prerequisite to begin a career as a Scrum Master. Here are three different training paths/certifications widely recognized by the industry:

  • Scrum Alliance, which offers a two-day training to obtain the Certified Scrum Master (CSM) credential, which is recognized globally.

  • Scrum.Org provides Professional Scrum Master certificates (PSM). This certification has three levels: PSM I, PSM II, and PSM III. PSM covers a wide range of Scrum topics.

  • Scaled Agile provides the widely recognized SAFe Scrum Master Certification.

Resnick says the PMP certification from the Project Management Institute is also helpful in laying the foundation in becoming a Scrum Master, as are the Lean Six Sigma certifications.

"The SAFe certification may also be helpful to have earned in the quest to becoming a Scrum Master as it is another Agile framework," she says.

From her perspective, the Certified Scrum Master (CSM), Certified Scrum Product Owner (CSPO), and Certified Scrum Professional (CSP) certifications are relevant certifications to pursue and earn. “The Scrum Alliance and the PMI are two of the most reputable organizations that offer certification and training to become a Scrum Master or Agile practitioner,” she adds. “There are also resources through Coursera.”

Will there eventually be Scrum Master degrees?

Resnick notes also has free, public courses to begin familiarizing yourself with Scrum concepts. “As more workplaces continue to adopt Agile methodologies when it comes to development, product ownership, and practices in general, more degree offerings may emerge as they relate to the Agile framework,” she explains.

While practical and hands-on experience will always strengthen your resume, we may also see the rise of more formal degrees and certifications for Scrum in the next five to 10 years. Ojeikere agrees the landscape for Scrum degrees may soon change, given the rising demand for Agile methodology and scrum's dominance as the most popular Agile framework.

“Specialized programs, integration into academic curricula, advanced roles and specializations, hybrid degree programs, business partnerships, and regional variations will be part of this growth,” she says.

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