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Certifications vs Real Time Experience

Last post 09:44 am June 15, 2019 by Piotr Górajek
6 replies
12:40 pm June 11, 2019

Hi all 

Am currently working in scrum as in dev team. I want to upskill and do PSM1 certification and move as Scrum Master. 

In what level would certifications help if we dont have any experience as SM. 

Does employers look at certification?


04:03 pm June 11, 2019

In the United States it common that employers will list certifications as a "nice to have but not required".  If you have them, they will usually pay closer attention to your resume/CV.  But actual experience is preferred and asked about during interviews. Just having the certification is not enough to get you a job. Whether we like it or not, certifications really show that you are able to take a test and pass.  The certifications here at are better in my opinion because they do test your knowledge with no class required. The Scrum Alliance tests require classes where you are taught how to answer the questions on the test. (My opinion and may not represent that of others.) 

In what level would certifications help if we dont have any experience as SM.

I have multiple certifications from  I obtained them for my own edification because they help me to validate my views and interpretations of the Scrum Guide and Scrum practices in general.  I have yet to find any situation where they have helped me in other ways. 

01:08 pm June 12, 2019

Thanks Daniel for your input. 

03:38 pm June 12, 2019

Certifications from reputable sources, such as and Scrum Alliance, will get you to an interview. Your experience will get you the job. 

07:50 am June 13, 2019

I agree (in general) with Curtis

04:38 pm June 14, 2019

My limited experience with reading job offers for SMs usually says that some years of experience are required, while certificates are nice add-ons.

09:44 am June 15, 2019

I see this that way:

  • Most of the doors to interview will be open if you had previous experience - if you do not have any at this point in time, then:

    • some of the doors will be welcoming if you had certifications, and

      • few of the doors will be open always, regardless of the above.

That's it, more or less, for finding a (mostly first) job, it is not easy, but obtaining certification from a reputable organization can only help you get into the interview and the rest is in your hand and interviewer - for example:

  • You have no experience at all but during an interview performing by experienced SM / Agile Coach he or she saw a reflection of himself from his beginning in you and he or she is now convinced that among the others candidates, you are the best bet to go.

Let put this "job" thing aside for a while, and think about "what makes you professional, an expert in your field?". I believe that certainly, it is not by keep moving only inside your performing zone. If you truly want to grow and stay an expert, you have to move from time to time into your learning zone and there certifications steps in, it is a nice goal to obtain, that also helps you to go back on track, validate your progress, and maybe force you to change your viewpoint on things that you already experienced - at least if you do it with reputable organization, not only for sake of getting a cert.

Here is a nice TED that I can recommend to watch: