Of course, being a truly great Scrum Master doesn't require any certifications. Your skills, experience and mindset aren't tied to a (virtual) piece of paper. So, why would you invest in it anyway? Let's find out.
The proof is in the pudding
There are several reasons to get certified. First of all: more and more employers and clients are looking for proof of your capabilities. If they've never seen you in action, they'll want to know what they're getting into. Certifications are a useful piece of evidence that you know what's what, and most Scrum Masters out there have at least a basic certification such as the PSM 1.
Getting certified is also an excellent way to test your knowledge. Are you really as knowledgeable as you think? And, of course, it's kind of nice to show off that neat little icon on your LinkedIn page. But always make sure to remember: while a certification is a great asset, it's never a substitute for experience, enthusiasm and truly getting immersed in the material.
Moving to the top
Once you decide to climb the certification mountain, you should start at the beginning: laying a solid foundation with PSM 1. Then, move on up to the next basecamp with PSM 2, where you learn all about facilitating your team, or opt for Gladwell's Agile Team Facilitation training. There are dozens of ways to expand and demonstrate your expertise, with and without certifications.
For Professional Scrum, certifications go all the way up to level 3. Looking to reach the certification summit? Well, that's a whole other story: then you'd be like Ken Schwaber, Jeff Sutherland, or Dean Leffingwell – you'd create your own framework and certifications!