The International Consortium for Agile (ICAgile) represents an international alliance of more than 100 organizations and Agile experts that are dedicated to understanding and advancing Agile practices, methods, training, tools, and culture. ICAgile offers ICAgile Certified Professional (ICP) and ICAgile Certified Expert (ICE) credentials to professionals who wish to improve their knowledge of Agile best practices.
However, there are no fewer than twelve different learning tracks for ICAgile Certified Professionals and many more certification options. If you’re starting your Agile journey, it can easily get confusing to understand which track or certification to choose.
This blog post can help by outlining the steps you can take to ensure that you choose the right certification (and learning track) for your interests and career level.
Benefits of getting certified
There is no doubt that there are countless certification options available to an individual, regardless of their job title, specialization, or industry.
ICAgile Certified Professionals are in high demand by companies that embrace Agile methodologies within their organization. By solidifying your knowledge through getting an ICAgile certification, you can differentiate yourself from other professionals who may not be as familiar with this growing field.
Here is a breakdown of some of the most crucial advantages of becoming an ICAgile Certified Professional:
- Ability to demonstrate your knowledge and understanding of Agile concepts and methodologies.
- Attracting the interest of qualified employers and recruiters who look for potential hires that have formalized experience in Agile processes and best practices.
- Gaining credibility as someone who is knowledgeable about Agile technologies, methods, and tools.
- Positioning yourself for career advancement or new opportunities within your current role, and more.
By going through ICAgile training and obtaining your credentials, you stand to reap the rewards that come with formalizing your knowledge and experience in Agile practices. However, this is not something you should do lightly.
Before embarking on any new certification program-ICAgile or otherwise-it’s best that you first examine your interests and reasons for pursuing such a path in the first place.
ICAgile Certified Professional paths
As mentioned above, there are twelve different learning tracks for ICAgile Certified Professionals. These include:
- Agility in Leadership
- Agile Finance
- Agile Marketing
- Agile HR
- Delivery Management
- Product Ownership
- Product Strategy
- Agile Testing
- Agile Engineering
- Agile Team Coaching
- Enterprise Coaching
It is important to say that if you start down one of these paths, it doesn’t mean that you can’t change course later on. For example, someone who starts as a Product Owner may realize they enjoy DevOps more and switch tracks later.
However, to save time and effort, it would be best if you put a little thought into the questions below so that you can start down the path that is best suited to your goals and interests.
The following questions are designed to guide you in choosing the right ICAgile Certified Professional track for you, by helping you consider what your goals are with Agile training.
How much do I already know?
If you are brand new to Agile, ICAgile offers two foundation-level certifications that you should consider before proceeding:
- Agile Fundamentals – Ideal for individuals working in software development and delivery, this certification is a great starting point for someone who needs to be exposed to what Agile practices are.
- Business Agility Foundations – If you work in marketing, HR, or other business departments, this is the certification that should be your first step towards your Agile learning journey.
Both of these are framework-neutral certifications, meaning they don’t focus on any particular Agile framework, such as the Scaled Agile Framework (SAFe), Scrum, Kanban, XD, and similar.
And even if you have already started down the path of becoming an ICAgile Certified Professional by taking other courses or certifications, either one of these is valuable because it provides an overview of all the Agile disciplines.
If you are already familiar with Lean-Agile concepts and the Agile mindset, have seen or used examples of Agile practices, and are familiar with techniques like continuous integration and test-driven development, then you would likely benefit from one of the more advanced certifications in one (or more) of the tracks.
Each learning path consists of one of the foundational certifications, two intermediate-level certifications, and maybe even an expert certification at the end.
If you decide to complete one learning track in its entirety, by the end, you will be a world-class ICAgile Certified Professional in that track.
What do I want to accomplish?
Have you given any thought to what your goals are with Agile?
- Perhaps you think adopting Lean-Agile principles and practices will help you reduce time to market or increase customer satisfaction.
- Maybe you want to introduce a change management element into your software development process.
- Perhaps you want to apply Agile principles and practices to improve your HR department’s functions or develop an Agile project management process.
Whatever it is, knowing this goal (and any secondary ones) can help guide you as to which track would be the best fit.
Do you wish to coach others in Lean-Agile principles and practices, or would you prefer just to be focused on yourself? If it’s the former, you might want to look into the Agile Coaching or even the Enterprise Coaching path. Becoming a certified Agile coach gives you the opportunity to share your knowledge and expertise with others. It can be a creative way to apply Lean-Agile principles and practices in your workplace.
What is my role in the organization?
Are you a marketing manager who needs to re-envision processes for how marketing works with development, or maybe you’re a development manager who wants to get other managers on board with Lean-Agile principles?
As you probably gleaned from our list of ICP paths above, there is an Agile discipline focused on just about every role in the organization. You can pick one that focuses on your primary area of interest. Still, you could also take a moment to consider whether you want to expand your knowledge by choosing a path that has an Agile discipline outside of your typical scope.
What type of company do I work for?
Some companies may only be starting to explore Agile and thus would benefit from the foundation certifications. Others may primarily be service organizations – the Delivery Management track could be the right one for them; others might mainly build products and choose either the DevOps or Product Strategy path.
Just as with the job role, you can choose to go with a cert that has a focus on the type of company that you work for. Consider how you can contribute to the organization’s goals, and see if you can select an ICP path that aligns with that.
Do extensive research
If you’ve answered all of the questions we outlined above, you might have a good idea of which tracks are the best fit for you. If so, you can now start researching all of the available certifications in that path.
If, on the other hand, you’ve decided to consider more than one learning track, try to create an order of preference based on what you would most like to achieve and then conduct extensive research about each one.
Either way, make sure to learn about the requirements and learning objectives of every certification in the paths you are considering.
ICAgile recommends a certain level of experience and knowledge of Agile principles for each certification, so be sure to fit your learning objectives with an Agile certification that is open to you.
Once you’ve completed that research, you will have a much clearer picture of what your goals are and which certifications would best fit into your career path. Then, it’s time to get started!
Finding the right ICAgile training provider is a critical next step, as this will allow you to get the knowledge and skills necessary to obtain your desired certifications. While ICAgile itself does not offer any training, they partner with other training providers to provide ICAgile certificates. Consider the options available that are right for you and your team, then contact them to set up a plan that works best for you.
Remember that there is no wrong choice when picking one of the Agile certifications. It would be best if you took a moment to evaluate where you are in your career, how much you already know about the Agile methodology, and where you want to go next. Make sure that you are fully aware of what each certification entails before you make your choice.
The richness of the learning objectives makes any ICP path great for many roles within the organization; moreover, there is a certification for any career stage or type of company you are employed with.
Of course, you must have the time and dedication to stick with your chosen learning track through to the certification exam. But once you’ve completed the Agile training, you will be ready to put your Lean-Agile strategies into practice within both your work and personal life.
If you’re interested in starting your ICAgile journey, don’t hesitate to sign up for one (or more) of our upcoming training events. And if you’d like more information on how to choose the best ICAgile Certified Professional path, feel free to contact us!