6 Popular Agile Certifications (Including Benefits)

By Indeed Editorial Team

Published 11 July 2022

The Indeed Editorial Team comprises a diverse and talented team of writers, researchers and subject matter experts equipped with Indeed's data and insights to deliver useful tips to help guide your career journey.

Many organisations utilise Agile practices to enhance the efficiency of their teams. A professional may earn several available Agile certifications to upgrade and validate their project management experience and skill set. Learning more about the available Agile credentials can help you decide the one that may be most suitable for your career path. In this article, we define what Agile certifications are, provide information on six popular Agile certifications you can consider and share some benefits of completing these programmes.

Related: FAQ: What Is Agile Modelling in Software Development?

6 popular Agile certifications

Before listing the popular Agile certifications you can obtain, it's important to understand what this type of certification is. An Agile certification qualifies your proficiency in concepts relating to Agile practices. The Agile system promotes making small improvements but at a consistent rate. This framework relates to software development and project management methodology. Earning an Agile certification can increase your appeal to a potential employer if you apply for a project management leadership position. If you already have such a role, certification in this methodology can help you improve your efficiency and your team's work processes.

Here are six popular Agile certifications you can consider pursuing:

1. PMI-Agile Certified Practitioner (PMI-ACP)

This accreditation from the Project Management Institute is for newcomers to the field of project management. It's necessary for applicants to have 12 months of project management experience within the last five years and eight months of experience working with the Agile methodology within the last three years. The education requirements include a minimum of a diploma or bachelor's degree and 21 hours of active instruction in Agile practices.

You can expect to learn a variety of Agile frameworks such as Kanban, Scrum, Lean and extreme programming. To receive the certification, candidates sit for a three-hour examination comprising 120 multiple-choice questions.

Related: Online Certificate Courses for Different Industries

2. ICAgile Agile Fundamentals (ICP)

This programme by the International Consortium for Agile aims to help participants think in an Agile-friendly way through learning its main concepts and values. You don't require previous experience or relevant education to apply for this certification, as it's intended for newcomers. Unlike the PMI-ACP accreditation, ICP doesn't focus on applying Agile fundamentals to available frameworks like Scrum or Lean. This framework-neutral approach allows the programme's attendees to explore Agile concepts, such as incremental development and product adaptation, without concerning how they apply to frameworks that may have varying processes.

There's no examination, only a 14-hour minimum of remote classroom participation and a final survey given to attendees who complete all their classes. Once they meet these two requirements, attendees receive a shareable certificate in PDF format, specifically configured to make it easy to upload to professional networking platforms, attach to a resume or share with peers.

3. AgilePM Foundation

APMG International offers this accreditation to practising project managers and Agile team members seeking to become Agile project managers. Here are some of the key components of the programme that you can learn if you choose to apply for it:

  • philosophy and main principles of Agile

  • function and duties of an Agile project

  • typical and alternative lifecycles of an Agile project

  • types of products an Agile project can create and their purpose

  • techniques Agile project managers use, along with their benefits and limitations

There's a closed-book examination for this programme that features 50 multiple-choice questions. Candidates have 40 minutes to complete the test and are eligible to receive the certification if they pass it by scoring 50% and above.

Related: 6 Project Manager Certifications (With Steps and Salaries)

4. Certified ScrumMaster (CSM)

The Scrum framework helps teams work efficiently by promoting self-organisation when handling tasks and reflection to learn constructively from experience. A Scrum Master is typically a project manager with knowledge of this framework and facilitates its use within their team. This programme by Scrum Alliance promises to impart to candidates knowledge regarding:

  • the Scrum framework

  • the terminologies used within this framework, such as team accountabilities, events and artifacts

  • the procedure for guiding a team in Scrum

Applicants can attend either a physical or online course that features a minimum of 14 hours of interactive training from verified professionals. Upon completing the course, candidates can proceed to take a 60-minute test. Candidates who satisfy the requirement of answering 37 out of the 50 questions correctly can receive their certificates.

Related: 7 Scrum Master Certifications That Can Help You Succeed

5. Professional Scrum Master I (PSM I)

Scrum.org offers this assessment to professionals seeking to quantify their expertise in the principles of the Scrum framework and its applications within a project. Although there's a two-day course associated with this credential, it's not compulsory and candidates who are competent in this methodology can apply directly for the assessment. Here are some of the core topics candidates can expect to encounter when taking the exam:

  • main competencies comprising the Scrum framework

  • meaning of the Scrum guide

  • approach to applying Scrum within a team

  • focus areas highlighted in the PSM I suggested reading list

Scrum.org can provide accommodations for PSM I candidates with physical or intellectual disabilities. Candidates requiring such accommodations can contact the organisation via email to receive instructions on how to proceed once the relevant authorities have reviewed their case.

Related: How to Become a Scrum Master: Essential Skills and FAQS

6. SAFe Product Owner/Product Manager (SAFe POPM)

This programme by Scaled Agile caters to product owners and product managers, with the aim of equipping both groups with the resources and guidance to work together and maximise customer and business-related results. The course curriculum achieves this by providing instruction on a variety of topics, including:

  • how to perform the respective daily responsibilities of a product manager and product owner effectively

  • how to consider and include the needs, wants and expectations of customers when designing, building and testing processes

  • how to prepare for and lead programme increment planning

  • how to write a variety of narrative styles based on the target market, including epics, features and stories

  • how to use Agile principles to collaborate with a team

In addition to course materials, applicants who register for the SAFe POPM programme receive access to a remote learning classroom, a visual online workspace, a year's membership to a community platform and several other tools, resources and content. This programme features an examination, which candidates can access via the Scaled Agile community platform. The examination lasts 90 minutes and consists of 45 multiple-choice questions. Candidates who meet the passing criteria of 73% by correctly answering 33 of the 45 questions become eligible to receive the credential.

The benefits of attaining Agile certifications

Here are some advantages that earning an Agile certification can have for your professional career:

  • Deliver value consistently: As the Agile system promotes making frequent changes, earning an Agile accreditation can allow you to provide consistent value to the project, the organisation you work for and the organisation's stakeholders.

  • Adapt to change easily: The core structure of the Agile framework is well-suited for projects that continually change. Whether it's a change in scope or responsibilities, becoming a certified Agile practitioner can enable you to adjust to them.

  • Achieve control: Since the Agile framework involves frequent evaluations, earning a credential can help you develop a more practical view and approach to project parameters, such as cost and time.

  • Improve communication: A number of Agile practices, like stand-up meetings, foster open communication and encourage team members to express themselves clearly to each other. Thus, a certification can help improve your ability to articulate ideas and understand your team members' perspectives.

  • Enhance your job search: Finally, an Agile certification can help increase your appeal as a candidate if you begin a job search. This is because potential employers may value a professional adept in project management frameworks, as they're likely to increase the organisation's overall efficiency.

Please note that none of the companies, institutions or organisations mentioned in this article are affiliated with Indeed.

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