What is the difference between CSM and SAFe Scrum Master?

What is the difference between CSM and SAFe Scrum Master

Difference between CSM and SAFe Scrum Master

From top multinational companies to well-funded startups, Agile Methodology has been the go-to solution banishing the traditional outdated ideologies that failed to cope up with the cumbersome demands. With this skyrocketing boom of Agile in the market, the door for many professionals bestowed with Agile knowledge has opened to an ocean full of organisations. 

Among the many Agile frameworks that MNCs use like Scrum, Kanban, Scaled Agile, Scrum is the single most popular Agile frameworks. SAFe is yet another framework that is used predominantly along with Scrum in all of the top organisations you may name!

Very evidently, IT professionals go through a really tough dilemma in choosing Scrum or SAFe as their tool-cum-key to unlock their success in their career.

It should come as no shock when I say, industry-relevant certification gives you an edge over other candidates when it comes for recruitments. 

The CSM, abbreviated as Certified Scrum Master Certificate and SSM, abbreviated as SAFe(Scaled Agile Framework) Scrum Master Certificate are the two most in-demand possessions for a professional in their respective field.


  • Scrum is the most implemented framework that the industries use on a regular basis
  • Scrum is very simple and lightweight and easy to understand for newbies stepping foot in this domain.
  • Leaders, testers, business analysts therefore, try to pursue the CSM certificates.
  • The CSM certificate  teaches them the virtues, principles and underlying implementations of Agile.
  • CSM certificate-holders are well-equipped with the in-depth knowledge of Scrum which in turn, educates them to manage Scrum Team efficiently.
  •  Statistics show the massive amount of package difference between CSM certificate holders and non-certificate holders. 

IT professionals with no CSM certificates earn a package of 8LPA with 8 years of experience while freshers with CSM receive a whooping salary of 12-15 LPA.

  • Nevertheless, top recruiters always forward to CSM holder professionals as they would be guaranteed an associate with top-notch product delivery skills.
  • The individual gets access to a massive community of Scrum experts by getting access to the membership of Scrum Alliance.
  • This great reach in the Scrum community comes with awesome perks. It opens doors to grabbing the best software projects available and thus developing the most sought after, eye-catching resumes to please any future recruiter.
  • There are namely three levels of Scrum Master Certifications:
  • CSM – Certified Scrum Master
  • ACSM – Advanced Certified Scrum Master
  • CSP – Certified Scrum Professional


  • You can consider SAFe certification as the step 2 of the CSM certification.
  • When companies tend to move towards larger enterprises, meaning their portfolio weights increase, they tend to look forward to employees with deeper knowledge and duties of a Scrum Master.
  • SAFe certifications would be the most sensible possessions to retain.
  • SSM Certifications will enable the candidates to resolve scaling issues in their organisation that are hard to be resolved with the help of a basic Scrum framework.
  • Scaled Agile Framework implemented by a SAFe Scrum Master will be able to enhance and modify existing communication gaps between multiple teams within an enterprise.
  • Moreover, they also shed light on the DevOps culture.
  • Based on the experience, a SAFe Scrum Master can land a job with a lucrative package of 16 to 24 LPA.
  • While a CSM certificate holder mostly interacts with a Product Owner(PO), an SSM has to interact with the PO’s team, Release Train Engineer aka Program Manager, Scrum Masters, Product Owners, Product Managers, and a lot many entities or stakeholders of a company.
  • SAFe certification is a globally recognised certificate.
  • Candidates get to interact with the Scaled Agile Community, and get into a great network which may fetch them many top projects.
  • The SAFe Scrum Master certification cost depends on the institute enrolled. It includes the cost of 2-day training, exam fees, study materials, one-year membership with the Scaled Agile Community.
ACCREDITATION BODYScrum AllianceScaled Agile Framework
PROCEDURE OF EXAM50 MCQs to be completed in 60 minutes of time45 MCQs to be completed in 60 minutes of time
CERTIFICATION RENEWALFor every 2 yearsFor every 1 year
REQUIREMENTSA beginner with some knowledge about software developmentOne needs to have an idea about Agile principles and concepts and knowledge of XP (Xtreme Programming), Scrum and Kanban.
EXAM DURATION1 hour1 hour 30 minutes
Eligible ProfessionalsProject Managers, BAs, Quality Analyst Managers, Team Leaders, Software Developers, etc.Newly appointed Scrum Masters, Team Leaders, RTEs, beginners or experienced users of Kanban development, etc.

To sum it up and bring more clarity, CSM certification is for individuals who want to grow their understanding of Scrum and learn some basic concepts of Agile and SSM certificate holders are the superset of them whose domain is more advanced and diverse.

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