A 2019 research study by Glassdoor revealed that Scrum Masters are among the highest-paid professionals in the USA.
Scrum methodologies have revolutionized the way project management is done in a myriad of enterprises. Scrum approaches have streamlined problem-solving and conflict resolution beyond measure. This reason alone is sufficient to justify why the role of Scrum Master has risen to become one of the highest-paying and most promising careers available today.
In this blog post, we'll take a closer look at the role of the Scrum Master and explore what affects their pay.
Who Is a Scrum Master?
A Scrum Master is someone who knows Scrum well and can use its principles effectively in a wide range of complex business settings.
They are responsible for ensuring that a Scrum team (a team of developers using the Scrum methodology) adheres to the Scrum process and principles. This includes facilitating sprint planning and review sessions, helping the team identify and remove impediments, and coaching and mentoring team members, thus ensuring that the company meets all of its customers' needs and extracts the most value possible from each project iteration.
What Does a Scrum Master Do?
During a project, the Scrum Master is responsible for ensuring the smooth operation of the Scrum methodology. They are accountable for maintaining the framework and making the entire process easier to understand for the team, the product owner, and the organization.
This person is the contact point for the product owner and the group and is responsible for comprehending the bigger picture of development during each sprint. Not only do these professionals allocate duties to the team, but they also make sure that each team member is functioning on the most important task at any specific moment in time.
Let's discuss the responsibilities of a Scrum Master in detail.
Roles and Responsibilities
- Standups: The daily meetings known as "standups" are when the Scrum Master, product owner, and developers come together to make the daily Scrum guide. The Scrum Master monitors the team's progress during standups and addresses any problems the developers may be having.
- Preparing the Scrum guide: The Scrum Master creates the Scrum guide to ensure that the organization derives the most value possible from each sprint.
- Board administration: They also serve as the Scrum board's administrator. They confirm that the cards are updated and the Scrum tool – whether Jira software or another – is operating well.
- One-on-one sessions: The Scrum Master convenes one-on-one meetings to resolve differences between the stakeholders, team members, and the product owner regarding the processes and work styles.
- Customer feedback: It falls on the Scrum Master to gather client input to ensure the project is moving in the right direction.
- Reporting: They regularly analyze burndown charts and other portfolio planning tools to understand what is created and when.
- Blockers: The Scrum Master aids the team by removing external blockages and addressing internal obstacles by streamlining processes or workflows.
- Sprint review: Every sprint concludes with a team meeting where members discuss the work completed during that iteration. During the review, it aids the Scrum Master in identifying team gaps and bridging them in time for the following sprint.
- Retrospections: They list areas that can be improved and tasks for the next sprints.
Now that you understand the Scrum Master's role, we will turn our attention to the salary of a Scrum Master in the US. For this, let's first understand the aspects that play a significant role in determining the compensation.
Factors Influencing the Scrum Master’s Salary
There are many factors that influence how much a scrum master makes, including their experience, the company’s location, and the size of the company. Let us take a closer look at what affects the Scrum Master’s salary.
This is unquestionably among the most crucial factors that affect a Scrum Master’s overall pay. As your experience increases, your work functions and responsibilities expand, and so does your pay scale.
If you are a fresher searching for a higher-paying Scrum Master role, it is best to first work as a Scrum Master for at least a year and execute multiple Scrum methodologies, ideas, and principles In this way, you will learn a lot about situational awareness, facilitation, dispute resolution, ongoing improvement, increased transparency, and empowerment.
The role of a Scrum Master is not limited to a single aspect. The more experience you have, the greater your understanding of the current Scrum problem-solving methodologies, such as Kanban, XP, FDD, Crystal, and others.
Expect a better salary package if your job function calls for managing several tasks using various technologies and approaches.
For greater job possibilities, you must be knowledgeable about various effective Agile strategies, such as:
- User stories
- Continuous integration
- Continuous testing
- Automated testing
- Agile games
Relevant expertise in the underlying technologies
If you have real experience with the technology that supports their business, an employer is more likely to pay you more as a Scrum Master. This is because if you are informed about the employer’s technologies, they will not have to invest money, time, and effort training you in that technology – and as a result, they will be able to pay you a better salary.
Knowledge of the Correct Techniques and Patterns
A skilled Scrum Master is well-versed in multiple well-documented patterns and procedures that would cover the intentional gaps the Scrum strategy leaves (this covers bug management, various burndown technologies, retrospective forms, and so on.) So, if you have a practical, informed understanding of them, you'll be able to demand a better salary.
How Much Does a Scrum Master Make?
A Scrum Master's pay in the United States ranges from $93,724 to $113,870, with an average compensation of $103,916, according to several salary aggregate websites.
However, how much a Scrum Master makes is typically linked to their experience level. As a result, an entry-level Scrum Master’s salary will most certainly be less than what a Scrum Master with years of professional experience makes.
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics and the National Compensation Survey, here's how the level of experience influences the Scrum Master’s salary:
|Years of experience||Salary per annum -In USD)|
|Entry level ( Less than 1 year)||$56,428|
|Early career (1–4 years)||$76,733|
|Mid-career (5—9 years)||$104,955|
|Experienced (10–19 years)||$131,436|
|Late career (20+ years)||$164, 059|
Other Determining Factors
Certifications are another factor that can help you increase your income as a Scrum Master. In that sense, below are some common certifications along with the certified Scrum Master salaries:
- Professional Scrum Master – $90,000
- Certified Scrum Master – $89,000
- Agile Certified Practitioner – $105,000
- Scrum Master Certified – $110,000
- SAFe Scrum Master – $115,000
- Agile Scrum Master – $110,000
Any organization's ultimate salary offer for the Scrum Master post is heavily influenced by where the job is located. The pay offered is often higher in a city with good living standards and a dense population than in a remote place with poor living standards.
Per the Bureau of Labor Statistics, here is a list of some major cities and their related average Scrum Master pay:
|City||Average Salary per annum (in USD)|
|San Francisco, CA||$134,788|
|Washington DC, DC||$130,759|
|New Orleans, LA||$83,678|
|Las Vegas, NV||$164,059|
Scrum has grown in popularity in recent years, with an increasing number of software industry executives using its approaches to solve day-to-day problems. With the necessary experience and knowledge to handle problems and are an accomplished facilitator, you will be a good fit for many prominent organizations looking for Scrum Masters.
As per Glassdoor job statistics, the following are the biggest firms recruiting Scrum Masters in the United States, and their yearly compensation, on average:
- TransUnion – $104,000
- AT&T – $85,000
- Ciber – $97,000
- Capital One – $87,000
- IBM – $94,000
- UnitedHealth Group – $97,000
- J.P. Morgan – $92,000
- Thomson Reuters – $103,000
How Does This Compare to Similar Jobs?
Here's how a Scrum Master's income compares to related positions:
|Related Jobs||Average Salary per annum (in USD)|
|IT Project Manager||$105,291|
|Technical Project Manager||$107,330|
|Software Development Manager||$128,543|
So, what does the Scrum Master role look like in the future?
It’s likely that this position will continue to evolve and expand, along with agile methodology.
Hiring good Scrum Masters would give businesses an advantage in smoothing out their product development process. However, the role of a Scrum Master is no easy task. They are the one who needs to be trained in agile methods and ensure the team's success by fostering open lines of communication and cooperation. A Scrum Master has to play many roles, including a coach, facilitator, and even project leader.
If you’re interested in becoming a Scrum Master or are currently in this role and want to stay ahead of the curve, be sure to keep learning and keeping up with new trends. Attending a certified professional program is among the best ways to learn the skill. At ATC, we provide interactive and engaging learning experiences from the most experienced agile trainers around the world. Spots are filling fast. Book your seat now!