A.K.A. “How to get that first scrum master job.” I’ve answered this question twice in the past two weeks, and when it came up again today on a mailing list, I figured I’d cross post here.

Basically, it takes both certification and experience to get a job. No one was willing to hire me until I had both, and I probably held off much too long because I was offended that certification basically depended on my ability to cough up $1200 for a 2 day training and nothing else. In retrospect, my stubbornness probably cost me a year or two, so now my advice is if you already have the skills/experience to just suck it up and do it if you need to job-hunt. You see, all recruiters use search engines, and a resume without the right keywords will either be not found or eliminated before making it into the “worth talking to on the phone” bucket.

If you don’t have the requisite skills/experience, you are probably better off dealing with that first. Here’s how to go about it:

There are two basic paths:

Stay in your current role and go Agile – Most scrum masters/agilists got their experience by introducing Agile to their existing workplace. For example, I started using a KanBan board in 2005 or 2006 and daily standups a year later as attempts to improve our work process (which they did). Then later we adopted timeboxing, sprint reviews, etc. (again, because they worked). Lots of people got their experience this way. If you don’t currently have a job, look for an employer that wants whatever your current role is (PM, dev, QA, etc.) and is interested in Agile or at least offers the opportunity for you to try stuff. Startups are a good place for this.

How to become a scrum master