Which is the best Agile certification for you? (article)

In this age of rapid business acceleration, Agile is an answer for organizations struggling with how their traditional methods of Project Management are responding to change. Since, many organizations are looking for agile knowledge and experience to help them adapt their traditional methods, Agile certifications are an important way professionals can enhance their career opportunities so they can be part of this rapidly growing area.  Agile certifications provide career advancement, salary and promotion opportunities so they’re a great way to invest in your future.

There are a lot of Agile certifications available and it’s important to pick the right one so you can get the most for your time and money.  Here is a short overview of the top 3 Agile certifications so you can pick the one that will help you the most:

PMI Agile Certified Practitioner (PMI-ACP): This certification is designed for project management professionals who are using or planning to use agile methodologies and practices in their projects. The PMI Agile Certified Practitioner (PMI-ACP)® certification validates your skills in agile principles and core practices.  The PMI is the largest global accreditation body in Project Management and its certifications are widely regarded due to the rigorous certification process they follow.  The PMI-ACP is a great certification for professionals working in larger organizations that have formal project management offices.

This certification also covers subdomains of agile such as Kanban, Scrum, Lean, and others. As a result, the PMI-ACP offers one of the more rounded Agile certifications and places more emphasis on establishing an Agile mindset. 

The PMI-ACP candidates must pass a comprehensive 3 hour multiple choice exam plus take 21 hours of training and have 2,000 hours of project experience and 1,500 hours working on Agile teams.  The PMI will randomly audit certification candidates so it is important to ensure you satisfy the requirements before taking the exam.

Candidates who achieve the PMI Agile Certified Practitioner certification must earn 30 professional development units (PDUs) every year to renew their PMI-ACP certification.

Scrum Alliance (Certified Scrum Master/Certified Scrum Product Owner/ Certified Scrum Developer): Scrum is set of Agile practices that are used in the management of agile projects. Scrum is the most popular Agile practice used across the globe and the Scrum Alliance offers the most popular Scrum certifications available.  There are 3 certifications for Agile Scrum professionals offered by the Scrum Alliance:  Certified Scrum Master, Certified Scrum Product Owner, and Certified Scrum Developer. The Scrum Master certification is good for those interested in supporting teams in applying Scrum practices and techniques, the Product Owner certification is good for those working more directly with product stakeholders and understanding the requirements for the product and the Scrum Developer is good for a team member responsible for delivering a product.

Candidates need to attend training programs to achieve this certification. The training for Certified Scrum Master (SCM) and Certified Scrum Product Owner (CSPO) runs for 2 days, while that of Certified Scrum Developer (CSD) lasts 5 days. (Certified Scrum Professional): Similar to the certification offered by the Scrum Alliance, the Certified Scrum Professional focuses on practices and techniques from the Scrum methodology.  One significant difference with the CSM certification is that professionals are not required to take training to earn their Certified Scrum Professional certification.  The CSP certification is one of the top agile certifications and validates the skills of candidates in advanced practices, artifacts, roles, and procedures of the Scrum Framework.

There are many more agile certifications in addition to these three discussed above. Professionals must make an informed wise based on their certification requirements. If you are new to the agile world a good starting point is the CSM. For experienced agile practitioners working in larger organizations the PMI-ACP® would be a good fit.