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Best Agile Certifications in 2017

Top 5 Agile Certifications in 2017

In this era where traditional ways of Project Development is no more enough, agile is the need of the hour. Demand for agile professionals has increased in the IT industry and also picking up in other areas of engineering as well. This demand triggers the need for certifications which recruiting organization can bank with.

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In this article, we shall discuss some of the top-ranked agile certifications among many available in the market.

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Why Agile certifications?

Agile has matured now and similar to other domains like Project Management & service management, organizations look for agile experience and certification from the candidates. This is the reason why agile professionals aspire for certifications so that they can gain all the benefits when they plan to switch jobs or aspire to a career in the Agile domain.

Overall Certificates provide these benefits:

Agile Certifications Benefits

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Top 5 Agile Certifications

There is a big pool of certifications available in the market to choose for gaining credentials in the Agile domain. Sometimes when you have a huge pool you get confused which certification to be taken at what point of time.

Here is the diagram that shows the various diagrams available in the market. We have to choose one of the best certification that is good for you.

List of Agile Certifications

No doubt that when it comes to investing money and time, an individual will do a lot of research on which certification is apt for one to invest so that s/he can get maximum ROI.

As per different researchers on the internet from different bodies, “Scrum” as the agile methodology is most popular.

agile offer

That’s the reason there are multiple certifications based on Scrum. Scrum is easy to understand the methodology of agile due to which it becomes the obvious choice. Also as its widely used methodology, there are many case studies available for it by now. In our discussion, we shall be concentrating on below agile certifications and shall discuss why it’s important to target for these certifications.

You can consider these 5 certifications as the best one for the Agile professionals who want to build their career with Agile methodology.

  1. PMI-ACP (Agile Certified Professional)
  2. Scrum Alliance (Certified Scrum Master/Certified Scrum Product Owner/Certified Scrum Developer)
  3. Scrum Alliance (Certified Scrum Professional)
  4. (Professional Scrum Master/Professional Scrum Product Owner/Professional Scrum Developer -1)
  5. SAFe Scaled Agilists

Let’s have a comparison of all these five and then move on to discuss criteria to choose and prioritize.

Which is best agile certifications in 2017?

How to choose a best Agile Certification?

Above comparison shows multiple faces of the 5 certifications we have taken. One important point to note is the majority of the certifications are Scrum based. Reason for that is very simple. Scrum is the most used form of agile.

Even after knowing all the particulars above certifications, the dilemma is which one to choose one. Let’s have a clear picture of the same.

How to choose agile certifications?

We feel it’s a three-step approach. Anyone looking to gain knowledge about agile should start from basics of Agile/Scrum. Once basics are developed, advance knowledge should be developed. Scaling is third step as this is about scaling agile competency at organization level which is definitely the final step.

Let’s relate this three-step approach to the identified certifications we compared in the last section:


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Also Read: Do we need Project Managers in Agile?

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Basic Knowledge

  • Scrum alliance cradle and cradle of three certifications for three different roles in scrum i.e. Scrum Master, Product Owner and developer are the basics which one can target to start with.
  • CSM/CSPO/CSD is definitely easier to crack than PSM/PSPO/PSD I certifications but the knowledge gained in CSM is also interesting. As Scrum alliance mandate training for CSM/CSPO/CSD, it gives good exposure to basics of Scrum. Though has the foundation and advanced courses for PSM/PSPO/PSD, it’s not mandated and from knowledge parse, professionals until mandated generally don’t go for it.
  • Both these certificates cover high-level basics of Agile and focus more on scrum. Out of these two CSM is more popular in the market. Definitely, the objective of certification is met if professional gets benefits out of it. Also, PSM being little harder than CSM makes CSM even more approachable

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Preparing for Agile and Scrum Interview? Here’re Top 40 Agile Scrum Interview Questions and Answers to help you crack the interview!

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Advanced Knowledge

  • After basics, its time take little deep dive approach. Definitely, if you are CSM/CSPO/CSD, you will go for the next step in scrum alliance provided CSP. However, the spectrum of knowledge given by PMI-ACP is not comparable.
  • CSP doesn’t mandate any training, it just needs some Scrum Education units to apply for certification. Though the application tests the knowledge, it’s not tested. No test is there for CSP.
  • PMI-ACP is hard from entry to exit i.e. its prerequisites itself is little tough. It ensures and expects prior agile experience and project management experience along with training PDUs. Exam as well covers a wide spectrum of agile flavors and not only limited to Scrum. It covers Lean, Kanban, XP, TDD etc. which gives more in-depth of agile overall. The exam is conducted in a closed/secure environment like any other PMI certification. That’s the reason why PMI-ACP holds a lot of value and gained credibility in the market.
  • There are advanced certifications by as level II and III for PSM/PSPO as well which can be targeted for but again that is the only scrum based and becomes even harder as compared to the level I of it.


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Scaled Agile

  • This is something different to normal agile knowledge. This we can refer to a special skill at which is required for executives, managers and Agile change agents responsible for leading a Lean/Agile change initiative in a large software enterprise. This is required for those executives who have already implemented agile at a small scale in the organization and now aspire for taking it to the next scaled framework level.
  • SAFe SA certification validates knowledge in applying the Scaled Agile Framework, lean, and product development flow principles in an enterprise context so they can lead the adoption of the Scaled Agile Framework.

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There are many more certification available in the market in addition to the five discussed ones. Professionals have to make a wise call based on what they are looking for. If the target is to get benefits in career or changing a job, CSM & PMI-ACP has more market value and popularity. If the target is to gain pure knowledge PSM-I is best to start with then going higher in its levels.

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    • Thank you, you would think that would be case, but not always true. There are a lot of people in the IT industry that have not adapted to Agile framework or understand the methodologies or practices.

  1. Good article that clarifies in detail about the commonly asked question on Scrum Master Certificaiton.
    In my experience, PSM wins hands down for following reasons:
    – No renewal fees every year
    – The certification requires a true understanding of Scrum
    – No mandatory class room training
    – There are excellent preparatory material such as Scrum Narrative and PSM Exam Guide –


  2. In the basic level, SAFe also offers SSM. CSM training is not a great learning. Following are best in my view:
    – PSM for teams
    – CSP for team leaders
    – SPC for consultants

  3. Iam working as a scrum lead for 2 years.I would like to take a certificate to build a career in agile.which one I need to take.pls advice


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