STEP #3: How To Make Yourself Stand Out: Certification and Experience
Hello and welcome "Getting Ready to Work Agile in Three Easy Steps". I am your host Kevin and I will help you understand the importance of certification in agile and how to gain experience, which is one of the most important things you need to start working in this area.
Certifications are not the most important thing if you want to start working in agile. Experience is more important. So find out where you can get experience without certification. However, if certification is the only way to attend workshops or get an internship, here are your options.
Certifications where to begin and what is best
There are a lot of certifications out there and it can be hard to decide which one is right for you. For example, there is the professional scrum master certification from SCRUM.org. One of the founders of scrum, Ken Schwaber, cofounded SCRUM.org. Next to the Scrum Alliance it has a good reputation for supporting Scrum and giving valuable Scrum certifications. I myself have done the Professional Scrum Master from SCRUM.org and would recommend it to beginners. The first level of the certificate is of medium complexity and for the certification you have to go through a multiple choice test with 80 questions. It is not the easiest course you can do, but you will get a really good understanding of working agile. Self-study is one way to get the knowledge you need and you can do this by working through the Scrum Guide and reading lots of good industry examples of people working in Scrum. You also have the Scrum Alliance Certified Scrum Master certification. As I said, this is quite easy compared to the PSM because you have no time limit to take the 35 question test. But unfortunately you have to renew this certificate every two years, which costs some money and is quite expensive compared to the PSM. So from my point of view I wouldn't recommend it. No matter which course you apply for and which certification you get, there are many certificates and learning paths that all provide the basic knowledge to work in an agile way. Whether you take the Scrum Master, Product Owner or Developer learning path. All of these certifications provide a good understanding of the theory behind agile.
Working experience and where do you find it
The more important thing is how you can gain working experience in agile. So from my point of view there are two ways: first-hand and second-hand experience. For first hand experience, there are companies that offer workshops that you can attend to get some working experience. Most of the time these are simulations of working agile Lego4Scrum. This means that you are not actually involved in a real project. The simulation lasts from a few hours to 1 or 2 days. They also use creative tools like Lego and some provide real use cases that you have to work through in a team of people like the Connectingscience workshops we provide. The second way to get some insights is through secondhand experience, which can be provided at Scrum or Agile conferences, or in podcasts like Scrum Master Toolbox. But there is another really good way to dive into this topic. Make your own project agile. Whenever you start something with a small team of people at university or outside work and you have a complex or creative problem to solve, explore agile ways of working. You can try applying roles in your team, setting up events like weekly meetings or retrospectives that apply to your process or you try working in iterations and try to get better every time you go through an iteration. What you can see here is that it is more important to apply agile technologies to your own projects than to have the theoretical knowledge. Working agile yourself is the best way to gain experience and develop an agile mindset.
Hopefully you have enjoyed this course and are now curious to learn more about agile in industry. We offer several courses for you to get a deeper understanding of agile, how industry applies agile methodologies and what is really important when diving into different fields such as data science, UX design or other fields of technology oriented work. Love to see you in my other courses.