A Scrum Master is a true leader who guides the Developers to make better products and solves the impediments that the Scrum team is facing. Any individual who is interested in the processing part of software development or any product development would be an ideal candidate for the Scrum Master’s role. However, any beginner would be overwhelmed with the steps on how they could become the best Scrum Master in the organization. The role of the Scrum Master is exciting, fun, and very rewarding as they get to manage a group of highly enthusiastic individuals who brainstorm creative ideas to build a specific product. Working and managing challenges in such an environment would be a major task for beginners, but high interest and sufficient training would make any professional qualified for the job. But the real question for any beginner is how to find the first job as a Scrum Master such that they get the first-hand experience of the concepts they are learning and become a better Scrum expert? This article lists out a few tips that beginners can follow to land their first Scrum Master job without experience in this highly competitive Agile world.
Stratagies To Become a Scrum Master With No Experience
1. Show Up Any relevant experience
As you do not have any experience as a Scrum Master per se, but if you have any relevant experience of working in a Scrum environment or an Agile environment, it is always better to highlight it in your resume or on your LinkedIn profile. This shows that you have experience working in an Agile culture and can induce similar culture in your employer’s organization. The experience could also be working in an environment that is not Agile but may use similar techniques and tools in the organization such as conducting daily stand-ups meetings in traditional project management. Other practices such as working within a fixed schedule, working towards a goal, and having a to-do list to complete tasks are all similar practices that are used in Scrum. These kinds of experiences show that you are capable of handling the Scrum team and help them meet the ends of a particular project.
2. Gain Relevant Experience
However, if you do not have any relevant experience, and you are stuck in the cycle of not getting a job due to no experience, think about working in a Scrum team as a developer. You have to look at it this way, having any experience in Scrum is always better than having no experience at all. You can join as an analyst, a designer, tester, or developer. It is all about gaining that experience of handling the team and the project. Also, use this time to shadow the Scrum Master and understand what are the difficulties they face and how do they overcome them.
Another method of gaining experience in Scrum when you do not want to quit your full-time job is by volunteering and applying Scrum in local communities such as non-profit organizations. Using Scrum to achieve their goals will give you sufficient exposure to how to implement Scrum in a team. Also, this would look good on your resume under relevant experiences. The volunteer opportunities could be national, regional, or international, whichever you care about or convenient for you. The aim here is to gain knowledge about how Scrum works and how you can tackle the problems faced. If you are struggling to find the first job as a Scrum Master, try volunteering in any non-profit organization and simultaneously look for Scrum Master jobs.
3. Find Opportunities with your Current Employer
Often, the best way to gain experience in the Agile world is to work on small projects with your current employer. Ask your current employer if certain aspects of Scrum could be implemented in a few projects, such as the idea of Sprints and Iterations, or conducting Daily Scrums. All of these would be new experiences for you and the organization; hence, try taking it very slowly in the beginning and learn as much as possible from every new idea implemented. Other ideas that you can incorporate are Conducting Sprint Retrospectives, demonstrating finished products to stakeholders, improving ways to communicate and collaborate in a team, adding Kanban boards to the team’s workspace, and checking the progress of the team through burndown charts. These changes give an idea to you about the work that has to be done in a Scrum environment, and if your current employer likes your work then they may even hire you for adopting Agile in the organization.
4. Understand that most resumes are screened by a computer
This is a point which many people neglect or ignore as they believe that the recruiter reads all the resumes that are applied for a particular job. But, on the contrary, most resumes are automatically screened by a computer based on the criteria given by the recruiter. You have to make a resume that would go past all these filters such that it catches the eye of the recruiter. This means that your resume should contain all the reasonable phrases and variations of words that would make it stand out in the crowd. While applying for the job, use the words “Scrum Master” with space and also without space (ScrumMaster). This may ensure that your resume is not filtered during the computer screening. In experiences use words such as Daily Scrums, Daily Standups such that there are more chances that your profile is selected while looking for experiences related to Daily Scrum. Similarly, words such as Burn Down, Burn Up, Sprint, Iterations, etc should also be used during resume writing. The trick is to make your resume look consistent and also get it passed through the resume software filters.
5. Networking is the Key
Networking is the key to finding new jobs in fields you are relatively new to. Most jobs are found when some are referred or hired based on recommendations and networking. Job hunting could be tiring as it involves a good dose of luck for you to be at the right place and right time. Always make sure that your friends and colleagues know the type of position you are looking for so that you may end up getting referred by one of your former colleagues. Involving in local groups on social media such as LinkedIn and engaging with people with similar mindsets could also help you land the Scrum Master’s role. Attending meetings with members who are working in your dream company or having a conversation with them would help you gain more opportunities in Scrum. There is a quote that says that as long as you ask something from someone, the answer would always be no. So while hunting the job, ask questions, lookout for opportunities in local groups, and network among people who work as a Scrum Master or have similar job titles.
6. Getting Certified
Getting a certification could serve as a credential that the individual has a basic level of knowledge about Scrum and how Scrum works. The Certified Scrum Master course also shows the employers the candidate is willing to invest in themselves and has the enthusiasm to learn and grow themselves. Always be sure that you are taking up the Scrum Master course with a registered education provider who is affiliated with either Scrum Alliance (CSM course) or Scrum.org (PSM). These are the accreditation bodies that are the oldest institutions that certify most Scrum Masters. Do not take up courses if these two institutions do not accredit the course as they do not have any value in your resume. If any candidate has a diploma in an Agile equivalent course, the recruiters may look at it as a warning sign because it shows the candidate’s lack of judgment. This is because the candidate should have known better when they were enrolling for a course claiming to be Agile but has no accreditation body. Hence, certification from accredited bodies ensures the employers that the candidate is keen on learning also unaccredited courses make the resume worse and does more harm than good.
7. Apply Scrum Wherever applicable
When applying for the role of Scrum Master, it is important to first understand how a Scrum Master thinks and processes. Applying Scrum practices in a team, or a pair of people, on any occasion would help the candidate to expose themselves to all the impediments that they might face during the actual project. Applying Scrum in your personal life would help you to gain the knowledge and significant practices used in Scrum. This would embed a deeper understanding which would help the person enhance their career and change their perspective about Scrum. Always be open about implementing Scrum in a flexible manner such that you learn new skills and knowledge required to land a Scrum Master’s role.
8. Never Stop Learning
Knowledge is always abundant as the more you learn, the more you realize that you know very little. This does not mean that you have to start taking advanced classes right after finishing the basic course. It just means that there are many blogs, journals, and articles on Scrum and how they work that you have to read and be updated about the current trends. This would help you immensely with your interview with a leading company as the recruiter often tests how much current knowledge you possess about the field. Attend conferences, watch presentations, look at case studies, join the Agile alliance community, etc. There is a wide range of sources that one could get abundant knowledge from. You have to find the ones relevant for your growth as a Scrum Master and gain ahead in that subject.
Landing a Scrum Master’s role in this highly competitive world could be a challenging task as many candidates are competing for a few positions. These tips would make you ready for the competition as it helps you understand the steps you have to follow to land a Scrum Master’s position. Volunteering in a non-profit organization, applying Scrum in your personal life, visualizing most of the events and processes are great ways to start off thinking as a Scrum Master. You can always start as a Scrum developer and understand the group dynamics and how the process works. During this time, you can shadow your current Scrum Master and know the roles and responsibilities they fulfill and how they tackle impediments. Writing an appropriate resume such that it passes through the resume filters is one of the most important takeaways from this article. Learn more on writing a resume such that it catches the eyes of the recruiters. And also keep learning and gain as much relevant experience as possible so that you can prove to your employer about your interests in the field and your keenness to learn.