What is CSM and do I need it?

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According to the Scrum Alliance, the CSM certification is foundation level certification for project managers. However, the for some traditional PMs the Certified Scrum Master certification is a new-fangled idea.So how do you decide if it will benefit your career?

The Scrum Alliance offers courses in CSM certification where project managers who want to be Scrum leaders can learn “the basics of the Scrum framework, including team roles, activities, and artifacts, so that you can be an effective member of a Scrum team.” (http://www.scrumalliance.org/CSM)

But what does this mean for your business?

When you go to the internet to look up CSM certification, what it is, and what people think about it, there are a lot of Agile blogs and Project management websites that seem to think the CSM is a waste of time. Now their arguments to this end tend to lean towards a purist sort of mindset where they say that in order to be a good project manager you shouldn’t need CSM because it is just a 2-day certification course and there are a lot of people who complete the program without really being good at implementing scrum.

However, the articles also admit that regardless of whether or not employers really should give preference to CSM, the reality is that they do. Having that certification gives confidence to an employer and when someone is evaluating two project managers they are more likely to hire—and give more money to—the PM with the CSM because it makes them look better and more qualified on paper. Which, essentially, looking good on paper is half the battle when job hunting, so it seems to me that getting the CSM is worth it in that regard even if holding a CSM might not prove anything to a fellow PM. When you are looking to take steps to get a job you want to do whatever you can to edge out the other guy that is also up for the job. So if holding a CSM does that and you can make $80,000 a year instead of $70,000, I’d say the $1500 you put in to get a CSM after your name was a solid business investment.

Here are some of the arguments you can review for yourself:

http://leadinganswers.typepad.com/leading_answers/2007/01/the_certificati.html

http://www.onemoreagileblog.com/2009/02/certified-scrum-master-big-lie.html

http://www.infoq.com/news/2007/02/agile-certification-debate

http://www.infoq.com/news/agile-certification-program

Now, whether or not the debate between the Project management community’s version of Hatfield’s and McCoy’s ever comes to a completed end, we may never know, but the reality remains that when it comes to making money, employers will pay for for a project manager with CSM.

Check out the courses, and details on whether the courses are right for you here.