The IT industry highly values certifications available at different levels, including entry-level, intermediate, executive, and advanced. Recently, there has been an increased demand for Scaled Agile Framework (SAFe) certification as organizations seek to improve their Agile training.
The importance of agile management in project success has led many IT professionals to pursue SAFe certification to enhance their career prospects.
What is SAFe?
Scaled Agile Framework (SAFe) is a certification program developed by Scaled Agile, Inc. It is currently the most popular framework, with over a third of companies using it in some capacity. SAFe is based on lean and agile principles and helps companies to streamline workflow and achieve project and strategic goals. It allows companies to scale agile practices across their organization.
SAFe has become increasingly popular across different departments and industries, including businesses and government agencies. It is a well-documented, tested, and reliable framework that provides a clear structure for roles and events and a people-centric approach to delivering high-quality products.
Prerequisites for SAFe Agile Certification
To become SAFe Agile certified, individuals should have previous experience with Scrum and a minimum of five years of experience in software development, specifically in analyzing business processes, improving product quality, and managing projects or products.
Who is eligible for SAFe certification?
SAFe certification is a popular choice among SCRUM and Agile professionals looking to advance their careers. SAFe is a highly sought-after career path, with over 700,000 people trained. People from a wide range of occupations may choose to get certified due to the variety of certifications available.
After obtaining your certification, you can choose a program that aligns with your career goals. Certification can make a significant difference in job prospects, demonstrating to employers that a candidate has the knowledge and skills to perform the job effectively.
Individuals with experience as a SCRUM master or those interested in becoming one can earn SCRUM master certification. Product owner certification is tailored for individuals in product owner roles. Practitioner certification is for members of an Agile team working in a large and complex environment. Managers, directors, and executives can also earn certification in SAFe, which helps them to better manage the company's Agile strategy by providing a deeper understanding of the framework.
Why is the Scaled Agile Framework (SAFe) important?
SAFe is a highly sought-after certification due to its global recognition, making it an attractive option for professionals looking to advance their careers. Holding a SAFe certification brings instant credibility, as most employers understand the value of the certification process.
Having a SAFe certification can lead to an increase in salary and job opportunities. Employers are in high demand for certified professionals, and the certification opens doors to networking within the SAFe community. It also allows individuals to apply for jobs requiring SAFe certification and showcase their achievements through a digital badge on their resume.
SAFe offers various certification levels and roles, such as SAFe Agilist, SAFe Agile Product Manager, etc. The software industry is facing a skills gap, and having a SAFe certification demonstrates to hiring managers that an individual has knowledge and understanding of the SAFe framework.
Top SAFe certifications
Agile Product Manager Certification (APM)
The Agile Product Management certification provides the foundation for developing design thinking skills and utilizing SAFe methods to create innovative solutions. It teaches the necessary mindset and tools for creating successful products from start to finish using Agile techniques.
This certification is ideal for individuals in project management, product marketing, business ownership, business analysis, product ownership, customer and user experience, product leadership, subject matter expertise, architecture, and business line management. By taking the APM online exam, individuals can demonstrate their proficiency in working with remote and distributed teams to potential employers and showcase their ability to design a roadmap that addresses the needs of both current and potential customers.
- Analyzing Your Role as a Product Manager in the Lean Enterprise
- Continuously Exploring Markets and Users
- Driving Strategy with Market Segmentation
- Using Empathy to Drive Design
- Defining Product Strategy and Vision
- Creating Roadmaps to Build Solutions
- Delivering Value
- Creating Innovation in the Value Stream
Agile Software Engineer Certification (ASE)
The SAFe Agile Software Engineer certification is an intermediate-level certification that provides knowledge of using SAFe to deliver high-quality, value-driven software solutions at a faster pace. It utilizes modern practices such as XP technical practices, test-based development, and behavior-based development. It is ideal for technical members of an Agile team, including developers and testers.
Still, it can also benefit non-technical roles such as product owners, Scrum Masters, and managers to gain insight into the development process and effectively lead teams. The certification covers creating an outline, designing, implementing, analyzing, verifying, and validating stories in a SAFe continuous delivery pipeline and teaches the use of automated testing.
- Define Agile Software Engineering and the underlying values, principles, and practices
- Apply the Test-First principle to create alignment between tests and requirements
- Create shared understanding with Behavior-Driven Development (BDD)
- Communicate with Agile modeling
- Design from context for testability
- Build applications with code and design quality
- Utilize the test infrastructure for automated testing
- Collaborate on intentional architecture and emergent design
- Apply Lean-Agile principles to optimize the flow of value
- Create an Agile Software Engineering Plan
Lean Portfolio Manager Certification (LPM)
The Lean Portfolio Manager certification is a foundational-level certification that provides knowledge of the Lean Portfolio Management function. It covers investment funding, methodology for implementing Lean governance and Agile portfolio operations, and designing plans for implementing Lean Portfolio Management. This certification is best suited for professionals such as enterprise architects, product managers, executives, program office personnel, business unit managers, human resource professionals, RTEs, and epic owners involved in the Lean Portfolio Management function.
The LPM online exam demonstrates expertise in using practical tools such as Portfolio Canvas and portfolio Kanban and skills in prioritization and adaptability to maximize economic benefit and successfully establish Value Stream Budgets. This expertise will improve the Lean portfolio performance of an organization.
- Describe Lean Portfolio Management (LPM)
- Connect the portfolio to the enterprise strategy
- Establish the Portfolio Vision
- Implement Lean Budgeting and Guardrails
- Establish flow with the Portfolio Kanban
- Support operational excellence with the Agile Program Management Office (PMO) and Communities of
- Practice (CoPs)
- Coordinate Value Streams
- Measure LPM performance
- Build a plan for LPM implementation
Product Owner Product Manager Certification (POPM)
The Product Owner Product Manager (POPM) certification is a foundational-level certification that provides knowledge and skills to enhance value for organizations using SAFe. As a certified professional, you will be responsible for ensuring a smooth product development process and implementing programs to improve value delivery to customers. You will use a customer-centric approach and a scaled Agile framework to deliver value faster.
This certification is suitable for professionals such as product managers, program managers, product owners, business owners, business analysts, product line managers, portfolio managers, solution managers, members of LACE, and enterprise and system architects. The POPM online exam assesses your knowledge of the daily roles and responsibilities of POs and PMs, collaboration with business stakeholders and engineering teams, writing epics, features, and stories, and designing, developing, testing, and delivering high-quality and valuable products to customers.
- Articulate the Product Owner and Product Manager roles
- Connect SAFe Lean-Agile principles and values to the PO/PM roles
- Decompose Epics into Features and decompose Features into Stories
- Manage Program and Team backlogs
- Collaborate with Agile teams in estimating and forecasting work
- Represent Customer needs in Program Increment Planning
- Execute the Program Increment and deliver continuous value
SAFe Advanced Scrum Master Certification (SASM)
The SAFe Advanced Scrum Master certification is an advanced-level certification designed for experienced Scrum Masters who wish to demonstrate their proficiency as a team and program facilitator in large organizations. It imparts practical knowledge to train Agile teams to improve business value for the company.
This certification is well-suited for individuals currently working as Scrum Masters, Agile coaches, Agile program managers, Agile development managers and engineers, team leaders, project managers, and those aspiring to be Release Train engineers, as well as anyone who holds the role and responsibilities of an Agile team facilitator in a SAFe or Agile setting.
- Apply SAFe principles to facilitation, enablement, and coaching in a multi-team environment
- Build a high-performing team and foster relentless improvement at the scale
- Address Agile and Scrum anti-patterns
- Support the adoption of engineering practices, DevOps, and Agile architecture
- Learn to apply Kanban eXtreme Programming (XP) frameworks to optimize flow and improve the
- team's work
- Facilitate program planning, execution, and delivery of end-to-end systems value
- Support learning through participation in Communities of Practice and innovation cycles
SAFe Agilist Certification (SA)
The SAFe Agilist certification is a foundational-level certification that provides knowledge and skills for applying the scaled Agile framework and Lean principles and managing product development in large organizations using the SAFe model. This certification is suitable for professionals such as development, QA, and infrastructure managers; executives, managers, and directors; program managers; product and project managers; product line managers, portfolio managers, and PMO; and enterprise, system, and solution architects.
As a certified professional, you can demonstrate your expertise in successfully planning and executing value-based programs using Agile Release Trains, Lean-Agile budgeting, and building an Agile portfolio in a large enterprise using SAFe and the Agile transformation model.
- Thriving in the digital age with business agility
- Becoming a Lean-Agile leader
- Establishing team and technical agility
- Building solutions with Agile product delivery
- Exploring Lean Portfolio Management
- Leading the change
SAFe Architect Certification (ARCH)
The SAFe Architect certification is an intermediate-level certification that provides architects with the skills to become influential leaders and change agents in their organizations. It covers knowledge of the roles and responsibilities of Agile architects, aligning architecture with business to increase its value, and delivering architectural solutions through collaboration with the system, solution, and enterprise architects.
This certification is ideal for professionals such as product managers, Release Train engineers, software developers, enterprise architects, product leaders, and technical managers involved in making architectural decisions to provide continuous value flow into the system through program execution and guidance of Agile Release Trains.
- Architect using SAFe principles
- Align architecture with business value
- Develop and communicate architecture vision and intent
- Plan architectural runway to enable delivery success
- Architect for continuous delivery and Release on Demand
- Lead and coach architects and team members during Program Increment (PI) Planning and
- Provide leadership during a Lean-Agile transformation
SAFe DevOps Practitioner Certification (SDP)
The DevOps Practitioner certification is a foundational-level certification that imparts a mindset for quickly developing, testing, deploying, and delivering value-driven software products. It is ideal for professionals such as business analysts, Scrum Masters, Agile coaches, developers, testers, release managers, configuration managers, UI/UX developers, architects, directors, team leaders, Release Train engineers, QA professionals, Scrum Masters, and SAFe program consultants.
Individuals from technical, non-technical, and leadership roles can take this exam and demonstrate their ability to handle cross-functional teams to drive business growth for their company.
- Determine strategic business objectives using DevOps
- Apply a CALMR approach
- Learn to avoid automating broken processes
- Understand the working of successful DevOps
- Learn the implementation of continuous exploration, integration, continuous deployment
- Learn ways to gain the ability to release to end-users on demand
- Incorporate continuous testing in the delivery pipeline
- Include continuous security into the delivery pipeline
- Implement value-stream mapping
- Learn to measure flow and identify bottlenecks in the delivery process (end-to-end)
- Formulate DevOps skills
- Master the tools for the fastest and most compelling results
- Prioritize DevOps solutions
- Keep investments for the most significant economic benefit before other things
- Design and implement a multi-phased DevOps transformation
- Tailor specific DevOps solutions based on the organization
- Collaborate with all roles and levels in the organization
- Continually optimize the value stream
SAFe Government Practitioner Certification (SGP)
The SAFe Government Practitioner Program Consultant certification is focused on Lean-Agile transformation practices in the public sector using SAFe. With many government agencies adopting these practices to improve results for stakeholders, including civilians, contractors, and government and military personnel, this certification is ideal for professionals such as executives, directors, development managers, program managers, project managers, engineers, QA professionals, system architects, PMOs, operations, and support staff. It allows them to learn how to apply the successful model of the private sector to deliver more value at a faster rate.
- Transition government programs from traditional software and systems development models to
- Lean-Agile and DevOps mindset, principles, and practices using SAFe
- Adapt technology strategy, budgeting and forecasting, acquisition, compliance, and governance processes to flow-based practices using emerging government guidelines
- Organize government programs into one or more Agile Release Trains (ARTs) and execute in Program Increments (PIs)
- Explore Large Solution coordination in a government and multi-vendor environment
- Identify and internalize the mindset and leader behaviors essential to successful Lean-Agile transformation
- Follow success patterns for SAFe implementations adapted to the government context
- Build a preliminary outline of the next steps to begin and/or accelerate the SAFe implementation in your program or agency
SAFe Practitioner Certification (SP)
The SAFe Practitioner intermediate-level certification equips individuals with the knowledge and skills to apply SAFe ScrumXP, a practice inspired by Scrum, Lean, and eXtreme programming. It helps large organizations improve the performance of their teams and programs at all levels by adopting a scaled Agile framework.
As a certified professional, you will work as an Agile Release Train (ART) team member and learn how to write user stories, divide functions, handle teams, incorporate successful training processes, and plan and execute iterations. This certification is best suited for leaders, team members, and influencers who work with Lean and Agile at scale and preparing for the launch of Agile Release Train.
- Apply SAFe to scale Lean and Agile development in your enterprise
- Know your team and its role in the Agile Release Train
- Know all other teams on the train, their roles, and the dependencies between the teams
- Plan iterations
- Execute iterations, demo value, and improve your process
- Plan Program Increments
- Integrate and work with other teams on the train
SAFe Program Consultant Certification (SPC)
The SAFe Program Consultant advanced-level certification is designed for individuals working as Lean-Agile change agents. These agents are responsible for applying the principles, practices, and five core competencies of a lean enterprise. It specifically focuses on those involved in implementing the SAFe framework within their organizations.
This certification is highly beneficial for change agents, service consultants, Agile working groups, business executives and leaders, managers, portfolio managers, PMO, quality assurance professionals, IT managers, program and project managers, leads, lifecycle governance personnel, product and product line managers, solutions architects, and enterprise architects who are implementing Agile programs at an enterprise level.
- Lead an enterprise Lean-Agile transformation
- Implement the Scaled Agile Framework (SAFe)
- Empower with a Lean Portfolio
- Align the organization to a common language and way of working
- Perform value stream identification
- Launch and support Agile Release Trains and coordinate large solutions
- Build and execute an implementation rollout strategy
- Configure the Framework for a specific enterprise context
SAFe Release Train Engineer Certification (RTE)
The SAFe Release Train Engineer certification qualifies individuals with the knowledge and skills to effectively lead a team in a SAFe environment. It enables them to help organizations successfully execute programs and build high-performing Agile Release Trains (ARTs) as servant leaders and coaches. With the increasing market volatility, globalization, and technological advancements, it has become essential for large organizations to adopt Agile transformation.
The demand for Release Train Engineers is high due to their unique skills in meeting stakeholders' expectations and leading teams to deliver quality results. This certification is ideal for Scrum Masters, Solution Train Engineers, Agile Coaches, Project Managers, Program Managers, Product Managers, and SPCs. Regardless of industry, whether IT or non-IT, anyone who wishes to work in a SAFe environment can take this exam.
- Apply Lean-Agile knowledge and tools to execute and release value
- Assist with program and large solution execution
- Foster relentless improvement
- Build a high-performing ART by becoming a servant leader and coach
- Develop an action plan to continue the learning journey
SAFe Scrum Master Certification (SSM)
The SAFe Scrum Master certification demonstrates an individual's expertise in handling the role of Scrum Master within a SAFe environment. It provides the skills to train Agile teams to self-manage, prioritize delivering maximum business value, promote the Scrum process, and work independently with distributed teams.
This certification is ideal for those interested in gaining knowledge about the Scrum Master role in a SAFe organization, aspiring to become a team leader, or for Release Train Engineers. It provides the ability to guide teams in an organization in planning, improving their performance, and executing work during PI using the principles of servant leadership.
- Describe Scrum in a SAFe enterprise
- Facilitate Scrum events
- Facilitate effective Iteration execution
- Support effective Program Increment execution
- Support relentless improvement
- Coach Agile teams for maximum business results
- Support DevOps implementation
The Scaled Agile Framework (SAFe) has recently gained recognition as a leading method for scaling Agile, resulting in a significant increase in demand for the program. Currently, over 70% of Fortune 100 companies are utilizing SAFe for their agile needs.
As a result, many organizations seek professionals with credentials that demonstrate their ability to work in a SAFe environment. A SAFe certification can serve as proof of this competence.