What does a scrum master do?
Scrum masters are similar to project managers because they handle many of the same duties. They provide a helpful link between the teams that handle projects and the employers who need those projects. As a scrum master, you're responsible for using scrum methodology every day. You essentially become the point person who others turn to when they need help. In addition to working in project management, you also work in product development, operations, and sales.
Project and team management
The term scrum framework comes from a rugby formation in which members of the team work together to protect the ball until they score. Scrum framework allows you to manage different aspects of a project along with anyone who works on it. You need to keep an eye on the framework to ensure that you meet upcoming deadlines and that clients get what they want. Scrum masters are responsible for holding daily meetings to verify that members complete their assigned tasks. These meetings help you stay on top of current and future issues, too.View Jobs
What is the average salary of a scrum master?
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the median salary among people working as a scrum master is $86,200 per year. If you break that down into an hourly salary, it comes out to $41.44 per hour. There are positions in different states that pay an average of $118,000 per year, but those jobs are often in areas that have a higher cost of living. Positions that allow you to work from home are rare because you need to attend in-person meetings.
Industry affects pay
The money you make each year as a scrum master also depends on the industry in which you work. Positions in the federal government often pay the most at nearly $120,000 per year, while manufacturing-related scrum master jobs pay around $94,000per year. Companies and enterprises pay scrum masters an average of $91,000 per year, but expect to make the least amount when you work in technical services and finance.
Scrum master jobs include more than just an annual salary, though. Not only do you have the chance to advance and work your way up the ladder, but you'll also receive health insurance and paid time off in most positions.
Working as a scrum master
Working as a scrum master provides the opportunity to work in one of the 25 highest-paying jobs in the United States. You need the right credentials before working in this field, which include a bachelor's degree in computer science or a related area. Now is a good time to look at what scrum masters do and experience on the job.
What are the responsibilities of a scrum master?
Tech jobs are in hot demand in today's world, especially as older employees retire and companies need workers who have experience with software that their predecessors never used. A scrum master usually begins by looking at the needs of a project, which typically happens through meetings with clients or employers. Though some work for employers who have multiple clients, others work for companies that run projects of their own. In this role, you use the scrum framework to determine the steps in the project and what employees need to do to stay on track.
Scrum masters must monitor the progress that employees make in each stage of a project; this occurs via both management software and team meetings. Team meetings allow workers to talk about any obstacles or challenges and get help from the scrum master to find solutions to move past those problems. A scrum master must deliver high-quality work that gives the client or employer everything they want. Some of the other duties of a scrum master include:
- Helping employers and clients determine their priorities
- Assigning tasks to members as needed
- Keeping track of the progress that each worker makes
- Using management software and other types of programs
- Elevating workers’ issues to management
What type of equipment do scrum masters use?
The most important tools that scrum masters use daily include different types of software. You need to rely on your eyes and ears every day because you'll see issues or problems that you wouldn't spot with management software. It's important that you listen to the feedback that team members give and address the concerns that your employer has. You also need to know how to communicate with others and use your project management software to monitor workers and keep track of the hours they spend on each project.
Most scrum masters rely on the scrum framework and consider it the most important tool. This framework allows you to create backlogs. A product backlog shows everything that you need to do to complete a project and also lists any bugs workers have encountered and other issues they need addressed. You'll use a sprint backlog that details all of the remaining work that your team still needs to do. Scrum software allows members to send messages to each other and often includes a bulletin board that helps them keep track of their work.
What is the work environment of a scrum master?
The work environment of a scrum master is similar to other tech jobs. Expect to work different hours based on the project at hand. It's rare that scrum masters will work a 40-hour workweek and start and finish at the same time every day. Before applying to a scrum master position, you should know that as you near the end of a project or work on a sprint, you'll likely spend 50-60+ hours in the office. This position often requires evening hours along with weekend work, especially on important jobs. Work outside of the office is rare unless you need to attend meetings with your clients or employers. Many offices now offer benefits to make workers more comfortable, such as free food and napping spaces.
Who are your colleagues as a scrum master?
As a scrum master, you're responsible for overseeing your team. This puts you in direct contact with recent college graduates as well as workers who have more experience. Most of your colleagues will have a minimum of one year of experience working with the scrum framework. You must also report to the project manager or someone in the IT department listed as the department head/leader. This person will oversee your work and the work of your team to ensure you're on track. Scrum masters also work with clients or employers and often attend meetings either weekly or monthly to go over the progress their teams made.
What is the work schedule of a scrum master?
It's hard to describe the work schedule of a scrum master because the schedule often changes from week to week. Scrum masters usually spend a minimum of 15 hours a week with one team, but most work with multiple teams. Many jobs require that you spend around an hour preparing for the day and any meetings you have and up to two hours going over the reports from your team. You'll also look forward to spending an hour or so a day on sprint planning and another hour going over those sprints. If you have more projects or are in the middle of a sprint, expect to work much more than 40 hours in a week.
What is the career outlook for a scrum master?
The BLS found that the career outlook for scrum masters and operations research analysts is high. This government agency believes that the need for qualified scrum masters and similar professionals will grow by 25%, which is faster than average. Between 2020 and 2030, expect to see up to 25,600 new scrum master jobs added to the field. The need for those with strong math and technical skills will grow by an even higher rate of 28%.
Obtaining the right credentials and gaining more IT and leadership skills helps you advance faster within this field. Though some companies have introduced automation services in recent years, those services can't replace dedicated on-site project managers. Strong familiarity with automation software and services will also help you stand out from other job applicants.
What are the advantages of working with Spherion as a scrum master?
There are many advantages of working as a scrum master with Spherion, such as the chance to find open jobs in need of trained IT professionals in any city. Other advantages of working with Spherion include the fact that:
- You don't need to worry about when you get paid because Spherion pays weekly.
- Many scrum master positions come with more flexibility than traditional jobs offer.
- There are training opportunities that help you advance your career.
- Your contact person is always available to help you whenever you need it.
What education do you need as a scrum master?
The minimum education that you need as a scrum master is a bachelor's degree. Many employers look for applicants who studied computer science or information technology. Many of the positions that pay the highest salaries require both a graduate degree and experience in project management.
You can also set your resume apart from the pack when you invest in scrum master credentials. You need to pay a fee and register to take an exam that gives you a credential when you pass the test. Some of the credentials available for scrum masters include:
- Certified Scrum Master (CSM)
- Professional Scrum Developer (PSD)
- SAFe Scrum Master
- SAFe Advanced Scrum Master
- Advanced Certified Scrum Master (A-CSM)
Skills & competencies
To work as a scrum master, you must have strong math skills and a college degree from a program that included algebra and statistics courses. Problem-solving skills are helpful because you need to address both the problems that clients and employers bring to you, as well as those that teams bring up. Many scrum masters are familiar with the scrum framework and other computer and management programs. Other useful skills to bring to the table include communication, critical thinking, analytical, and leadership skills.
A scrum master is a member of a team that uses project management to complete a project. Below, find answers to some of the most common questions about becoming a scrum master.
Can I work as a scrum master without going to college?
No. Usually, you can't work as a scrum master unless you have a four-year degree in computer science, information technology, mathematics, or a related field. Though tech fields are growing at a fast rate, many employers will not interview applicants unless they have a bachelor’s degree. It's possible to find some jobs that only require an associate degree, but many look for a bachelor's or master's degree.
Do scrum masters ever work out of the office?
Yes, scrum masters occasionally work out of their offices, especially when they have multiple projects that happen at the same time. It's quite common to spend a few hours a week working with teams in different offices or out in the field. Employers who require off-site work usually cover your fuel expenses and meal costs. You'll even find some that give you a company car.
How do I apply for a job as a scrum master?
Applying for a job as a scrum master is easy through Spherion. You can search for scrum master jobs on Spherion.com by job title and location. If you don’t see the perfect role, you can submit an open application. Once you submit your contact information and resume through Spherion’s open application, a recruiter from the office closest to you will reach out with details about potential scrum master roles that fit your skill set and professional goals.