Within any tech team, a Scrum master wears multiple hats. Depending on the day and the project, they might have to serve as a product manager, coach, cheerleader, or even a disciplinarian. Mastering Scrum tactics can take quite a bit of time, as can successfully using them to help an individual team successfully navigate its workflow.
Given all that complexity, how much can Scrum masters expect to get paid? That’s an excellent question, especially since many technologists adopt and use Scrum tactics as part of another job (such as project or program management). Let’s dig in!
According to Lightcast (formerly Emsi Burning Glass), which collects and analyzes millions of job postings from across the country, the starting median salary for jobs that prominently mention “Scrum master” as a skill is $98,000 per year. That can rapidly climb with experience; for example, those with more than nine years’ experience working with Scrum can earn a median salary of $118,000.
The median salary for Scrum master jobs is $110,000 per year.
According to the most recent Dice Tech Salary Report, the average technologist makes $104,566 per year (a 6.9 percent increase between 2020 and 2021). A Scrum-related salary seems to align well with that number.
At its core, Scrum is a (relatively) lightweight process utilized most effectively by small teams. In light of that, any Scrum master who can effectively break down complex operations into manageable increments will find their skills in demand. As with so many other tech jobs, there’s also a premium on speed and adaptability, especially at organizations where a projects goals, deliverables, and timeline can change quickly.
Over the past 12 months, “Scrum master” popped up 119,428 times in job postings, and Lightcast estimates the skill’s growth at 49.8 percent over the next two years. As long as organizations embrace Scrum and related methodologies for project management, they’ll need technologists in this role.
According to Lightcast, some 85.9 percent of jobs that mention “Scrum master” request a bachelor’s degree, and only 5.6 percent ask for a more advanced degree of some kind. For technologists with a BA who want to focus on this kind of work, that’s great news—but you’ll still need to demonstrate to employers that you have the necessary skills and experience to get the job done.
When it comes to formulating your resume and application materials for the position, keep in mind that employers want technologists who can implement an effective system, and structure and plan in a way that keeps everything on track. To that end, your resume should highlight your organizational, leadership and teamwork skills.
Technical skills are also key. “Scrum, at its core, assists software development teams in building adaptive products. I look for Scrum masters who can help teams move forward with the right tools and techniques if they have technical knowledge of developing software in an Agile environment,” Steven Walker, CEO of Spylix, recently told Dice. “Scrum masters should be knowledgeable about the technical product being developed and the development tool suite. A Scrum master does not need to be able to code.”
Some employers are also interested in certifications from popular Scrum-related sources such as scrum.org and the Scrum Alliance. While certifications aren’t necessary for every position, possessing them can help assure a recruiter or hiring manager that you have the necessary skills—and can help you when it comes time to negotiate for more responsibility or a higher salary.
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