Scrum Master Salary in the United States 2021

Scrum is a framework that uses an agile mindset to help teams work in collaboration with efficiency. It can be defined as an agile management framework with meetings, tools, and roles that work together to help the teams have a structured and streamlined way of working. 

The term “Scrum” originates from rugby sport, wherein players form a Scrum while performing specific roles and simultaneously adapting to new strategies. Although Scrum is mainly used by Software development teams, its concept and principles can be applied to any kind of teamwork. 

The Scrum Alliance was started in 2002 by Schwaber in association with Mike Cohn and Esther Derby. They also developed a certification branch for the company to offer CL-certified scrum courses. The professionals well-versed with the principles and ideas of Scrum are referred to as Scrum Masters. 

A Scrum Master is a coordinator for an Agile team of developers. The role of Scrum Masters was created as a part of the Scrum framework, and people with expertise at Scrum have an influential position in an organization. 

In this article, we will take a look at the roles and responsibilities of a Scrum Master and find out the certified Scrum Master salary in different locations worldwide. 

What do Scrum Masters do?

Scrum Masters ensure every team member follows the principles of the Scrum Framework. They need to adhere to the Scrum values and methodologies while also being flexible to improve the workflow and productivity of the team. The Agile team members look up to Scrum Masters to guide them in improving their efficiency.

The following are some of the roles played by the Scrum Masters:

  • Standups: Imposing daily Scrum routines or standups as and when required.
  • Sprint planning meetings and iteration: Preventing the team from exhaustion and hyper-commitment. They schedule tasks for the team members and help them with setting up deadlines and sub-tasking.
  • Sprint reviews: Scrum Masters take part in the team meetings and record feedback. 
  • Retrospection: They assess the performance and identify areas that need deliberation and improvement. They also forecast future actions that need to be taken to improve efficiency.
  • Board Management: Scrum Masters are the key administrator of the Scrum board, and they make sure the schedules are set, and essential Scrum tools like Jira are updated. They help in internal and external communication, thereby improving transparency. 
  • Face-to-Face meeting: Scrum Masters meet every member of the team individually to sort out internal issues and address the team member’s concerns. These one-on-one interactions are fundamental to having a good relationship with the team. This helps them provide a conducive environment to the team members where any issues or problems can be discussed without fear of exposure or judgment.
  • Generating reports: They participate in the meetings to understand a portfolio’s planning tools and know the pace at which a particular work is progressing. 
  • Shielding: They also act as the shield to prevent the team from external blocks and also internal hassles that hamper the team’s progress. They make sure the work is done without imposing or controlling. 
  • Micromanaging:  Scrum Masters not only take care of the technical and administrative issues but also lend their expertise to just about any aspect of organizational progress. This includes fixing computers, moving tables around, or even setting the thermostat. They micromanage everything that relates to the team.

In a world where software technology is constantly evolving, ensuring productive collaborations by communicating organizational goals is crucial. Any glitch in communication might lead to a software breakdown which in turn might crash a business. 

Many companies have now moved to the Agile model of working, and Scrum Masters are indispensable in making the team productive and well-organized. All these factors make Scrum Masters one of the highly paid professionals in the US.

Certified Scrum Master Salary: How much does a Scrum Master earn?

A certified Scrum Master (CSM) earns an average of $92,851 per year. 

The entry-level Scrum Master’s salary is $69,727, including bonuses, tips, and pay for extra hours. An experienced certified Scrum Master with over 15 years of experience is paid an average of $109,067 per year. 

Factors Affecting the Certified Scrum Master Salary 

There are a lot of factors affecting the salary of Scrum Masters. Evidently, experience plays an essential role in determining the package of Scrum Masters. The package also varies from one country to another depending on the demands and requirements of Scrum Masters. Furthermore, their educational qualifications and certifications also play an important role in what their package will be.

Let us look at the main factors that influence the package of Scrum Masters: 

  • Level of Experience
  • Education
  • Job Role
  • Industry
  • Skills

Certified Scrum Master Salary Based on Level of Experience

Scrum Masters are paid based on their level and years of experience: 

  • Entry-level Certified Scrum Masters (CSM) with less than a year of experience are paid an average of $69,727 annually.
  • A budding Certified Scrum Master with experience of 1 to 4 years is offered a compensation of $83,378 per year. 
  • A mid-level Certified Scrum Master with an experience level of 5 -9 years is offered a compensation of $101,419 per year.
  • A highly experienced professional level Certified Scrum Master with 10 to 19 years of experience will be given an impressive package of  $109,067 per year. 

Certified Scrum Master Salary Based on Education

Candidates with a business or project management background are shown to be most preferred by companies. However, those with information technology or engineering degrees also enjoy their fair share of demand. Apart from this, educational certifications from reputed institutions provide the required leverage to candidates. 

Candidates with a Master’s degree and Scrum Certifications like Kanban are offered a higher package than others. The desired skills of Scrum Masters include project management, facilitator, Scrum, and Agile Software development. 

Certified Scrum Master Salary Based on Job Roles

Scrum Masters with strong technical knowledge and experience move up the hierarchy and assume higher positions like QA director or Development Managers:

1. Quality Assurance (QA) Director

Average Base Salary: $116,538 / year

The Quality Assurance (QA) director is considered a high-level managerial position in an organization, especially at tech and software manufacturing companies. However, QA directors are also relatively common in the consumer and commercial goods sectors. Their primary role is to be well-versed with its product, its underlying functioning, and scalability. Based on this, they are required to implement productive strategies that result in the qualitative improvement of a company’s offerings. They can earn up to $160k per year, depending on their years of experience. 

2. Development Managers

Average Base Salary: $74,429 / year

A Business Development Manager oversees the business plans being implemented in an organization. Their focus points are revenue, customer satisfaction, and brand loyalty, and it is based on this, they develop business solutions and manage expectations within a company. They regularly collaborate with other business development staff to review project requirements, the scope, and timeframes. They can earn up to $123k per year, depending on their level of experience. 

Certified Scrum Master Salary Based on Industry

Some sectors or industries haveerver a greater need for Scrum Masters than others. The IT industry has a high demand for Scrum Masters, but other industries have also recognized the value of Scrum Masters. Finance sectors (insurance, banks, and investment companies) are believed to pay high-end salaries to Scrum Masters. 

  • Wells Fargo Bank offers a package of $123,757 per year. 
  • Bank of America and USAA insurance provide an annual compensation of $103,051 and $100,000, respectively. 

Consulting firms, Government offices, and media companies have also started offering an impressive package to Scrum Masters. 

Certified Scrum Master Salary Based on Skills

The desired skills that catapult the package of Scrum Masters are mentioned below: 

  1. Scrum Master$92,235 per year
  2. Project Management$92,521 per year
  3. Facilitator: $89,507 per year
  4. Agile Software Development: $92,898 per year

Scrum Masters with certifications like Kanban are known to be offered compensations 4% higher than those that don’t. Advanced skills like software development and program management help certified Scrum Masters register a hike of 24% and 7% in their packages, respectively. Team leadership is another skill that results in a 6% hike in the entry-level scrum master salary. 

Future Scope of Scrum Master

As technology evolves, many companies across various sectors have realized that sharp communication and teamwork are the keys to success, and this is where Scrum Masters come into the picture. The demand for Agile Scope management and Scrum has been growing consistently, which is evident from the number of job postings in job portals. 

As per the reports of Burning Glass, Scrum Master is one of the most sought-after skills, with 65,915 job listings over the last year. Companies rely on professionals who can effectively use Agile methodologies to guide teams and improve their project performance and delivery. This explains the expanding demand for Scrum Masters over the last few years.

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How is Scrum different from Agile management?

Agile development is a software principle or methodology, and Scrum is a process framework that follows the principles of Agile.

Is Scrum Master a job title or a role?

Scrum Master is a role that someone with any job profile can fit into. Generally, project managers perform the role of Scrum Masters.

Does the Scrum project involve documentation?

Scrum projects, just like other projects, require systematic documentation that stores user feedback, design ideas, test cases, and so on.

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