One of the most common questions I receive via the Contact Us page on TheScrumMaster.co.uk is – How can I get my first job as a Scrum Master?
I always reply to anyone that inquires. Here are my thoughts on how to do it and some answers to common related questions. I have also added an experience report from one of our wonderful clients who has recently been on this journey.
I don’t have any Scrum/IT/software experience, can I still become a Scrum Master?
Yes. The more relevant experience you have, the more opportunities will be open to you straight away. However, everyone must start somewhere. If you are committed and persevere you will be able to learn what you need as you go. Some of the best Scrum Masters I have worked with did not have a technical background and came to Scrum after trying other career paths.
TheScrumMaster.co.uk’s Scrum.org Professional Scrum Master course does not require you to have a software or IT background. No prior knowledge of Scrum is required. It’s wonderful if you do know something already of course, but is not essential. All our courses contain a mix of people from a variety of backgrounds and experience levels so there will be someone in a similar situation to you. We will cover all you need to know about Scrum to get you started successfully.
Will Scrum training make a difference?
Yes. Training from Scrum.org will help you learn and understand the basics of Scrum and the Scrum Master accountability. You can of course learn this in other ways (books, videos etc) but there is something powerful about learning with other like-minded people in a group. You may also make some new useful connections and meet others in a similar position.
Do I need a Scrum certification?
In theory no, but in practice yes. Many employers require certification from Scrum.org or another authority to demonstrate your basic understanding of Scrum. Without it, most employers will not even shortlist you for an interview. There are of course exceptions, but without it, your opportunities will be much more limited.
Can you guarantee I will get a job?
No. Training and certification will help you to learn and demonstrate what you have learned. Finding your first role in a new industry will take more than this and there is of course risk and no guarantees.
The good news is that many have been in your position before and gone on to make the transition. At some point, everyone who now uses Scrum had to get their first role. Demand for people with Scrum & Agile experience is growing rapidly. More organisation are becoming agile including many outside of software and I.T.
Patience and perseverance will be essential. Expect it to take some time. Get started, keep going and inspect, learn and adapt as you go.
Still not sure? Want to hear how it can be done? Amba attended Scrum training with TheScrumMaster.co.uk in 2018. She was new to Scrum and has gone on to build a successful career as a Scrum Master. Here is her story and some tips on what worked for her along the way:
“I did not have an IT/software background so I knew it would be a challenge moving into the world of Agile and finding my first Scrum Master job! However, it can be done and I am proof of that. Here are some things that helped me along the way.
Attending a Scrum.org Professional Scrum Master course with TheScrumMaster.co.uk really helped me to learn what Scrum is and what being Scrum Master is all about.
Gaining the Scrum.org certification confirms your understanding, builds confidence and is really important to demonstrate your knowledge. Nearly all Scrum jobs require certification and without it, you will be at a significant disadvantage to others that have it. The training and certification together gave me the confidence to talk about Scrum effectively in interviews.
Just because your previous role wasn’t as a Scrum Master, doesn’t mean you haven’t used elements of the required skill set before. Good employers will value you and your skills and not only look for direct experience. Be creative and think of examples where you have used the skills in a different setting. Have you supported a team before or facilitated a meeting? Have you helped make a team successful?
Network! There are so many Scrum & Agile meetups that there really is no excuse for not attending some. Meetup.com is great to find such groups. At these events, you get to meet some great people and learn new things. Some of the people you meet might even be recruiting. The “hidden” job market is where many of the best jobs are. You can also join TheScrumMaster.co.uk’s Slack community and make connections there.
Contact businesses and introduce yourself. Offer your services at a discounted rate (or even for free if you can afford to) in order to gain some industry experience for your C.V. Once you have some experience, finding the next role will be much easier. In the long run, you will often earn much more.
Apply for jobs even if you think you do not have all the experience required. You will receive plenty of rejections, but eventually, you will get a ‘Yes!’. Recruiters often ask for more skills and experience than a role requires and will be willing to compromise to find someone.
Don’t give up! I had plenty of rejections, bizarre interviews and a low paid first role. However, 8 months into my agile journey I was receiving permanent employment offers and recruiters were seeing the value I could offer.
Now with 2 years of experience, I am able to move into more demanding Scrum Master roles. I am enjoying sharing my passion for agile and helping turn groups of people into great teams. It wasn’t an easy journey, but it is one I am glad I made!”
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