Do you have what it takes to be a scrum master?


Unless you’re into agile development, odds are you don’t know what a “scrum master” is. Briefly, Scrum is a team-oriented agile development framework, and the scrum master plays a coordination and facilitation role within the team and with outside stakeholders.

While the Scrum concept has been around for a couple of decades, the job of scrum master only recently has come into its own — as use of agile development itself has increased. Scrum master ranked 20th (with a median average salary of $98,239) on Glassdoor’s list of the highest-paying jobs for 2018, ranking two spots higher ($95,167) than the year before.

Scrum master ranked even higher (10th) on LinkedIn’s list of hottest jobs in 2017, with a median base salary of $100,000 and 104% year-to-year growth in job openings.

For those unfamiliar with the word “scrum,” it comes from the sport of rugby and basically is a huddle in which team members interlock arms and push against opposing players to gain control of the ball that is thrown into the scrum.

In a 2017 article titled Why the hottest technology job this year may be scrum master, ZDNet’s Joe McKendrick writes, “Essentially, a scrum master gathers IT and business team members on a regular basis to review what’s been accomplished and what still needs to be done. In an era in which software is constantly being updated and flying out the door, the ability to keep everyone connected and communicating, face to face if possible, is critical. A breakdown in communications leads to a breakdown in software.”

Almost sounds easy! But as anyone who has tried to manage a team knows, success requires more than organizing meetings, checking off boxes, and cheerleading. A good scrum master must possess a number of technological, management, and interpersonal skills and competencies. (After all, why do you think they’re called masters?)

This list compiled by an actual scrum master includes 18 skills. Here are the first 10:

  1. Systems Thinking
  2. Adaptability
  3. People Skills
  4. Complex Problem Solving
  5. Lean Thinking
  6. Agile Mindset, Growth Mindset
  7. Creativity
  8. Empathy
  9. Asking Questions
  10. Collaboration

As you can see, the job requires the ability to understand people and technology, as well as an open mind and an ability to think outside of yourself. It also doesn’t hurt to get a scrum developer certification to boost your agile software development skills.

Agile development isn’t going away, and neither are scrums. They await your mastery. Now, go get ’em!


  1. You know, I have always seen scrum master job postings and never really looked into what it actually was. I’m glad I stumbled upon your post! Thanks for sharing!


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