Scrum Master without experience

Last post 04:49 pm February 18, 2020
by Stephen Sykes
17 replies
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01:32 pm February 13, 2020

Hi Everyone,

I have completed my scrum certification in December, now that I am looking out for job I couldn't get any because I don't have any experience. I couldn't see any junior scrum roles in dublin Ireland.

Please advise on how to get any internship role so that I can get hands on experience as scrum master.

Thanks & Regards,

Deepa 

05:39 am February 14, 2020

This has been an issue ever since... most of the companies that hire scrum master not only want certifications but also experience... Why not hire them and coach/guide them? I always assume that they want to hire someone with experience so they can leave him/here on that team... you still need to guide the new hire in a way.... 

07:47 am February 14, 2020

@DEEPA DAMODARAN NAIR, what is your current background? Are you working on a scrum team?

One good way to start would be by being or finding opportunities to be part of a scrum team and progressing to the role of a scrum master.

12:33 pm February 14, 2020

Scrum Master without experience

I agree its little tough to start your career as SM with just a certification. Real experience comes when you work as SM and may be then you would also know whether you fit in this role or not. Its like a journey which evolves on its way.

I actually started my career like @Steve mentioned. I joined as QA in an organization and found my way to become Scrum master. This is one of the way and as per me is not so simple. You might have wear 2 caps initially SM and Dev team member which can be overwhelming at times.

I will also suggest you to participate in the agile meetups where you can learn and share. This will help you to know more about the role and experiences. 

At last , I wish you good luck !!

06:43 pm February 14, 2020

Why not hire them and coach/guide them? I always assume that they want to hire someone with experience so they can leave him/here on that team... you still need to guide the new hire in a way.... 

Contrary to what some people may choose to believe, a Scrum Master is NOT an entry level position, therefore we can't expect companies to hire someone fresh off the street with no experience. There are companies that will hire Junior SM's that have the knowledge and no experience but those companies are hard to find. Plus, those companies are likely going to look to grow their current employees for that role before an external hire. 

 

08:09 pm February 14, 2020

My journey was similar to what's already been mentioned. I was a web developer in a Scrum Team. I initially helped the Scrum Master with some of his responsibilities, before eventually taking over from him in a combined Developer-Scrum Master role.

Even so, I relate to your struggles, as I initially struggled to gain a fulltime Scrum Master position. One thing that I'm sure did eventually count in my favour was my obvious enthusiasm. I regularly attended Scrum/Agile meetups, participated frequently on this forum, and studied for additional Scrum.org certificates.

It all contributed to me having evidence of experience beyond my years, and a desire to keep getting better.

10:50 pm February 14, 2020

Start with local agile and Scrum meetups.  Make connections in that discipline in your area.  That way you can start to learn of opportunities and the people can start to learn your abilities.  

Like everyone else said, I have never been hired as a Scrum Master. I have spent the last 20 years of my career being hired as a QA Engineer or Manager and then found my way into agile coaching/Scrum Master for the company giving me a pay check.  @Curtis Slough is correct that a Scrum Master is not an entry level position.  Certifications will not get you a job, no matter how many you have.  They might get you an interview but you will still have to prove that you are worthy of them hiring you.  Getting experience as a Scrum Master is not easy so take anything you can.  Find a job at a company that uses Scrum and start cooperating with the Scrum Masters there to gain some experience.  Let them know your ambitions and ask them to help mentor you.  Also, learn from @Simon Mayer's journey.  Showing ambition and enthusiasm for Scrum will go a long way if you can make it visible to others. 

03:57 am February 15, 2020

Most of the Scrum Master I've worked with came from a Project Management background. You are more likely to find a role as a junior Project Manager or Project Management Analyst than you are as a junior Scrum Master. So start with a PMO and after four years of maintaining your Scrum Master certifications (get all of them with the various Agile certification bodies including Scrum.org) start applying to Scrum Master roles. Be open to contract work as opposed to full-time staff.

12:48 pm February 15, 2020

Co creator of scrum (Mr. Jeff Sutherland) coined the term scrum master. In one of his famous book, he has mentioned, someone with 30 years of relevant industry experience can effectively play the role PO+SM. Since that's very high demand, he split the role PO and SM. In majority of organizations, SM is a leadership role. That's very challenging and rewarding as well. If I were in your place, I would have first try to work in a scrum team in dev/qa capacity. That's good starting point. Then I would have try to move to SM role.

 

07:06 pm February 15, 2020

Hi everyone.

I probably hold a contrary position here but it wasnt that long ago that I became a Scrum Master after a short term internship to get hands on experience.

The question we should be asking ourselves is why arent there more positions like this and why shouldnt a scrum master be a starting position?

There is no reason why people can't learn the essentials of scrum on the job. What better way is there of inspection and adaptation?

I have advocated more internships on this thread:

https://www.scrum.org/forum/scrum-forum/33261/scrum-mentors-and-scrum-i…

If we want good Scrum Masters we have a responsibility in my opinion to train them. Show them what great Scrum looks like. 

I am a product of hands on training during an internship and starting out as a newbie Scrum Master in a Scrum Team and I am proud that my company continues to offer this still.

I used to be in banking and was a teacher for a large part of my life. I did a coding boot camp but you don't need to be a developer to be a good Scrum Master. You need experience and the only way to get that is to start. We need to give people more opportunities to start, learn, inspect and adapt.

 

07:21 pm February 16, 2020

Raja Das: Co creator of scrum (Mr. Jeff Sutherland) coined the term scrum master.

 

Correction. Dr. Jeff Sutherland.

10:39 pm February 16, 2020

Thanks everyone for suggestions.

@Steve...I have an IT background in both Sap development and manual testing in waterfall model,but I had a career gap about 5years.

I am doing a remote scrum master role right now for a team that is about to complete, however I am not finding a junior role in Ireland.

Regards,

Deepa 

11:10 pm February 16, 2020

@Deepa, that is really good that you have a technical background. Considering you have a background in testing, what do you think are some of the skills you could strengthen in the testing domain that are in-line with the principles of Agile?

One word of advice, Do not limit your chances to find a place within a Scrum Team only as a Scrum Master. Don’t get me wrong whilst that is the role you want, you could play a Dev Team Member/Scrum Master role until you can find that full time opportunity.

Hope that helps.

05:36 am February 17, 2020

I have to disagree that scrum master is not an entry level position... you do not start becoming scrum master after n years... you start on 0 years.... 

When you started out, someone guided you or at least mentored you, not necessarily means your job description by papers is not scrum master. 

I had no proper experience in scrum master (just doing back-up SM for some days) but one company risk on me and after 1.5 years, I am still with them. 

Gaining the experience is a plus, but should not be a basis if you have 0 experience of being a scrum master, does not mean you will not be good at it or bad at it.

02:53 pm February 17, 2020

Hi,

You will find it difficult.

Presuming you have some software development experience I recommend that you start there and make it obvious that you aspire to be a servant leader in the form of an Agile ScrumMaster, emphasize this in your resume and at the interviews.

In my experience companies are always looking for developers who have an eye on the bigger picture and can help out beyond coding.

If you have not software development experience then this is where you may need to focus for at least 3 years.

03:26 pm February 17, 2020

HI! I’m at the beginning of my journey to become a Certified ScrumMaster. When you have no experience it’s difficult to show your value to prospective employers. In addition to all the above, I can only give a piece of advice based on my own experience, maybe it would be helpful.

When I was looking for my first project management job I was in the same situation. As a matter, of course, most of the employers want to get an experienced worker, but some of them could give a chance to a newbie if you could show them your mix of hard and soft skills. Sometimes resume is not enough for that purpose. The solution that gave me a chance to get my first position was a cover letter. I used this template for a project manager position find this, but I suppose you can find there a sample for a scrum master job also. Maybe it'll work for you too.

Good luck, anyway! After a while, I will be in your place) 

04:22 pm February 18, 2020

Hi Deepa,

Testers make excellent Product Owners.

ScrumMaster will be a good start for you. With experience in software you will be fine.

04:49 pm February 18, 2020

Hi Niall,

I'm a Scrum Master with 0 experience of software prior to a coding bootcamp not long before I started.

Software is not necessarily a pre-requisite although I can see how it is super useful!