|By Colin Montgomery, Director, Private Sector Services|
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Much of my day is spent discussing trends in the IT industry with clients and people in our resource network. The hot topic these days is Agile certification. "Which certification is best and what is the value of certifications" tend to be the questions I'm asked.
While it's beyond my scope to judge the value of the certifications themselves, from a staffing perspective, I can comment on some trends I see emerging.
First off, some type of Agile certification has value for anyone, including people who work on the business side of an organization which has adopted Agile who may only occasionally interact with IT. Through the analysis phase of a technology project there is inevitably interaction between business and technology. There is value in those who embrace and participate in the increased speed to market that the Agile process can contribute to and there is value in those who bridge the chasm that often exists between business and technology.
Program and Project Managers also ask me if they should get certified and my answer is a definite "yes". While you may no longer be close to the software development or network integration process, the assumption is that you will be providing some oversight to those processes and if they are being completed within the Agile framework then you should know the language and cycles of that process. If you are a senior individual who has worked with the waterfall methodology for years, then your new-found knowledge of the Agile processes can help contribute to a project delivery framework that uses both where appropriate, for example. From an even simpler perspective, many of the PM roles we work on require some kind of Agile certification so in this world of key-word searches, you should have something on there.
As I mentioned earlier, while it is beyond my scope to comment on the value of specific certifications, I do suggest that anyone in IT realm should get some kind of baseline Agile certification as soon as they can especially if you anticipate entering the job market soon.
CSM (Certified Scrum Master) appears to be the most prevalent and would likely be used as a common term for keyword searches. My understanding is that the CSM requires around 16 hours of course work and a multiple choice test that takes about an hour.
Another certification that is generating a lot of discussion is the PMI-ACP(Agile Certified Practitioner). It requires more time and effort but seems to be emerging as a strong preference for those leading technology projects.
The discussions I'm having these days around Agile certification remind me a lot of the conversations I had a few years ago regarding PMP certification and I'm saying the same thing to those who are reluctant that I did back then. It's not going anywhere so you might as well get on board or risk being left behind.