How Bright Career Path of ScrumMaster and Agile Coach?

This series includes three posts:

  1. How Bright Career Path of ScrumMaster and Agile Coach?
  2. Jacky Shen’s Agile Coach Journey
  3. Tips to Certified Team Coach application

Don’t worried about the carrer development of agile coach

Agile Coach is a new role, there are some people playing that role in all the company transforming to agile but still staying on their current position. So it is inevitable to produce concerns and doubts.

Some people may doubt: The company ask me do play as agile coach or ScrumMaster, what 's the prospect and How can I develop my career?

Nowadays, more and more companies started agile transformation. Agile has boosted to be a trend since 2013, more than that, I believe that it will be the destination of IT and product management.

As far as I know, many famous enterprises are practicing agile such as Cisco, China Mobile, Industrial and Commercial Bank of China, Ping An Insurance, Huawei, Nokia, GE Medical, Jingdong, Baidu. Some of them further setup job position of Agile Coach, and treat Agile Coach and ScrumMaster experience as significant reference for promotion to management level. There’s an popular concept in the world, Manager as a Coach, the coaching style leadership has already become an irresistible tendency of management development in the future. It’s more efficient to lead people and solve problem so as company performance with coaching technology to inspire.

So far most companies can not train the Agile Coach byself because they are not familiar with that profession, so it caused the shortage of Agile Coach in job market. Some friends asked me to recommend Agile Coach or ScrumMaster join their company, Unfortunately I can’t recommend because the qualified Agile Coach is quite rare.

Coach is a person who is experiencial and able to educate in some area. He provide paid service to helps and supports the coachee to study and practice in order to train the “muscle “ and improve performance. Agile coach shoud have a more deep and focused development when we treat it as a profession such as fitness coach, parenting coach, executive coach etc. The technology evangelist, ScrumMaster, engineer, quality assurance, manager, director in company all can bring coaching style leadership, and even change to a professional Agile Coach. Readers who want to develop in the future can refer to the competency model (teaching, mentoring, facilitating, coaching) from Deep Into Awareness - Advanced Agile Coach courses for self assessment. Particularly, soft skills matters, team performance of adults depends much on emotion, awareness, collaboration, culture and other soft things.

Agile Coach can establish a broader leadership in the organizational level stepping out of a single team in the future, even dedicate to provide services to other companie. Some Agile Coaches are invited into partnership of startup because of they are T-shape talents with good capability to crossover connection, learning collabration. You can gain higher influence, more free choice, and more considerable incoming.

Why you need a higher level of certification?

Getting a certification is not an end, but just a beginning to encourage self continuous learning and keeping improvement.

Certification is a kind of social acceptance. However, any certification hold the truth: The earlier you get, the more valuable, when everyone got the certification it becomes common thing. Under the circumstances that the number of expert and guide level are very few, I encourage the large number of domestic CSM holders apply the CSP as soon as possible, so to obtain the recognition in the community and within the company and to open up a new career, instead of struggling in the red sea in the traditional career system. To those Agile Coaches and people who are already holding CSP, CTC is a very practical certification, I believe its commercial value will be soon recognized, for example, coaching service by CTC worths SEU.

The latest 2016 Scrum Alliance certification system includes 3 levels: foundation, profession and guide, all of them are for personal applications.

The foundation level includes CSM/CSPO/CSD which respectively for the basic skills and knowledge required for the three roles in Scrum framework. Those three certifications can be obtained by participating in authorized open class.

The profession level includes Certified Scrum Professional (CSP), for people who understand agile knowledge and have some experience, they are the active and practical models of Agile communities, they are willing to create, share and spread of good content and practice experience to others. It is not through any examination to get the CSP certification but by paticipating in advanced courses and community activities to accumulate SEU credits (like PDUs in PMP) and then apply for it. Only 100+ CSP certificate holders in China, it is quite a small numbers by comparing to so many IT companies and people.

The guide level includes CST/CEC/CTC, They are the trainers and coachs who can provide professional knowledge and practical guidance for enterprises and the large-scale organization. Currently only 8 people holding such level of certification working in China and be able to provide service in Chinese.

  • Certified Scrum Trainer (CST) is a Certified Scrum Trainer focusing on teaching ability.
  • Certified Enterprise Coach (CEC) is a certified Scrum enterprise coach focusing on enterprise transformation.
  • Certified Team Coach (CTC) is a Certified Scrum Team Coach designed to help client organization for Agile transformation, focusing more on organizational coaching and team practice day-to-day requiring facilitating, coaching and other soft skills. This is the latest Certification lauched by Scrum Alliance at the end of last year, Currently only 5 coachs hoding the CTC in the world while only 1 in China. Coaching by CTC holders can be used to apply “SEU”.

If you’re intested in how I became an Agile Coach, read next post: Jacky Shen’s Agile Coach Journey

(Thanks for translation by @王友强 @胡斯婷, reviewed by @Jacky Shen)