If you’re looking to gain an internationally recognized Scrum Product Owner certificate, there are two main contenders worthy of your attention. The Scrum Alliance and Scrum.org. Respectively they offer the Certified Scrum Product Owner (CSPO) and the Professional Scrum Product Owner (PSPO). Which should you go for? CSPO vs PSPO? Let’s look at the options.
Most Recognized Certificate CSPO vs PSPO?
Both the entry-level Professional Scrum Product Owner (PSPO I) and Certified Scrum Product Owner (CSPO) certificates are globally recognized by recruiting agencies and employers alike. Though the CSPO has been available for longer than the PSPO, there now seems to be nothing to choose between these two certificates in terms of recognition.
Result. CSPO vs PSPO – Most recognized certificate: Draw
Least Costly Certificate to Earn
In most circumstances, the PSPO I will be the cheapest certificate to earn. That is because the assessment for it is not tied to class attendance. However, see the section below on certificate retention.
- Cost to acquire PSPO certificate : $200 (cost of single assessment attempt)
- Cost to acquire CSPO certificate : $800 (cost of course attendance, no assessment required)
Note that the cost of gaining the CSPO certificate is based on the average cost of a CSPO class in the UK. It is possible to shop around and get a cheaper seat on a course.
Result. CSPO vs PSPO – Least costly certificate to earn: PSPO
Least Costly Certificate to Retain
The PSPO is the cheapest certificate to retain because there are no renewal fees. Once you have earned the certificate, it’s your for life. There are no renewal requirements.
By comparison, the CSPO must be renewed every two years at a price of $100. Certificate holders must also earn Scrum Education Units (SEUs) over the term to qualify for re-certification.
- Average cost of retaining PSPO over 5 years : $0
- Average cost of retaining CSPO over 5 years : $200
If cost is your only determining factor, then the PSPO wins hands down. However, while the cost of CSPO renewal is unpopular, the requirement for continued education, in the shape of Scrum Education Units is considered a positive step.
Result. CSPO vs PSPO – Least costly certificate to retain: PSPO
Easiest Certificate to Earn
The CSPO is the easiest certificate to gain. This is because there is no separate assessment. Your trainer assesses whether you have met the Learning Objectives during the class and that is sufficient to certify the student.
It may be worth considering this when looking at the cost of acquisition. If you take multiple attempts at the PSPO assessment, the cost closes in on the cost for class attendance.
Result. CSPO vs PSPO – Easiest certificate to earn: CSPO
Fastest Certificate to Earn
It is possible to buy a PSPO I assessment right now and have earned a PSPO I in the time it takes to complete the test. For a CSPO, you’ll need to book a class and successfully complete it. So, in theory then, the PSPO I is the fastest to earn.
However, it’s very unlikely that someone will be able to pass the PSPO I exam without preparation, especially as I consider it to be the most demanding of the Scrum.org entry level certificates. Most people will need to study and revise the material.
Given the wide availability of CSPO courses online, I think the CSPO is the fastest to earn.
Result. CSPO vs PSPO – Fastest certificate to earn: CSPO
Conclusion on CSPO vs PSPO
- If you want a recognized Scrum certificate, both PSPO and CSPO will serve you well
- To gain and maintain a Scrum certificate for the lowest cost, the PSPO I is your best choice
- If speed and ease of acquisition are your primary need, the CSPO may be your best choice.
While these results may be all you need to decide on CSPO or PSPO, I must point out that we’re comparing apples to oranges. We’re comparing the PSPO I exam, without the associated class, against the CSPO class.
If your intention is to take a class, then there’s another set of comparisons that are more compelling, including:
- Which organisation has the best training material, and;
- Which organization has the best trainers
See you there!
Probably something that I would consider is how much I would learn in a CSPO VS. A PSPO class. Since I typically learn more, in classes where there is an assessment, the PSPO would win out even though my CSPO trainer was very good. I saw somewhere that someone studied 5 weeks for the PSPO.
Its an apples to oranges comparison. Cspo has no exam, take the class and thats it. Its not really a certification as it does not test your knowledge- it just shows you successfully attended class.
The pspo is totally opposite; class is not even mandatory- the exam is 80 questions in 60 min with 85% pass mark. It will be very tough to pass this unless you do fairly serious focussed study on your own. You will really have to know your stuff to make it through the exam. That is a true certification that tests your knowledge.
If your goal is to get something on resume, ask your company to pay for cspo class and you will have something at end of it. If your goal is to make a career of PO, possible in cspo but more stronger base to build upon in pspo.