The State of Scrum in Sacramento  

The California tech scene is heating up, but the sizzle isn’t isolated to Palo Alto startups.

Rather, local and national periodicals alike are heralding Sacramento as the newest tech-driven hotspot, naming it “a top market for tech employment growth.” Forbes even featured an article that hinted at a future convergence between Silicon Valley and its northern neighbor.

Spurring this unprecedented growth are benefits from scrum — an agile framework designed to help team members adapt to creative challenges while delivering top-notch value. Today, we’re sharing a scrum overview, focusing our attention on how it’s updating and transforming the city of Sacramento into far more than the state capital.

Join us as we cover the state of scrum in the city. We’ll share how the local job market is embracing this framework, updates on the Sacramento agile community, and scrum certifications you can pursue locally today.

Ready to learn more? Let’s go!

Why Move to Sacramento for Your Scrum Career?
When you think about moving to California for a tech job, you might set your sights on the usual hubs. There’s Palo Alto, San Jose, Menlo Park, Redwood City, Mountain View, and Sunnyvale, to name a few. Some also consider San Diego, which is another major area for tech growth in the state.

Now, you can add Sacramento to the list, and here’s why.

As industry experts cite, the city is undergoing an “economic renaissance” that draws more than 20,000 people to relocate from the Bay Area every year. The same research shows that, along with access to top-notch technology, the city also offers a 60% reduction in real estate prices compared to its southern peer cities. It’s also 21% less expensive to hire a computer programmer in Sacramento.

Statistics like these encourage population growth. Still, government, industry, and academic leaders in the city are making it a focus to grow Sacramento’s tech presence even further. In 2016, the city approved a $10 million Innovation and Growth Fund, with a top focus on the Rapid Acceleration, Innovation, and Leadership (“RAILS” program) which provides grants up to $25,000 for innovative companies, tech accelerators, incubators, and educational initiatives.

Interested in learning more about how this city is earning a name for itself among California’s elite technology scene? Let’s take a look at data that reveals the impact of scrum in Sacramento.

Scrum and Sacramento: Fueling Growth
As more research is performed on the advantages of agile techniques, Sacramento is keeping pace. One area this is evident is within job salaries. While median scrum-related job salaries are rising across the nation, you’ll see this trend continued in Sacramento.

For instance, a Certified Scrum Master in Sacramento can expect to make upward of $130,000 or more per year, with exact salaries varying based on certification level. This number is higher than the average U.S. salary for the same position, which tops out at around $105,000.

This level of compensation, coupled with a lower cost of living and more economical office space makes it easy to see why so many programmers, developers, and other tech professionals are flocking to the city in droves. For this reason and others, Sacramento ranks as one of the top cities in America for startup companies!

Tech Organizations in the City with a Scrum Focus
Though myriad companies in the city are adopting scrum practices, it’s helpful to take a look at certain ones that feature the framework right within their job descriptions.

Whether you’re moving here from out of state to pursue a new opportunity or coming from a few cities over to expand your career, let’s review a few of the major corporations that allow you to flex your scrum muscles.

The Tech Giants
When you think of companies including Apple, Intel, Hewlett-Packard, and Oracle with a presence in California, where do you picture them? Would it surprise you to know that these companies have a major presence in the greater Sacramento area?

With offices around the city, these tech giants represent a dedicated commitment to the local tech scene. And, they can’t provide that level of service without dedicated scrum experts on staff. Take a look at this job posting from Intel, requesting a scrum master in nearby Folsom, CA, only 30 minutes away.

A simple query for “Scrum Master” jobs in Sacramento reveals many companies requiring this expertise, many of them centered in the tech realm.

While their main offices might reside farther south, these industry giants rely on Sacramento to support much of their backend work, including research and development, warehousing, customer service, distribution, sales. Agile principles strengthen all of these roles.

Smaller tech companies in Sacramento are also on the lookout for scrum experts!

Mphasis is one example. This IT service management company focuses on digital transformation and cloud services using scrum. Many other companies have similar needs, though you might not always see “scrum” in the job title.

Look closer at titles including “Product Owner”, such as the Rancho Cordova vacancies for VSP Vision Care, a local leader in ophthalmic technology. Under “Essential Functions”, you’ll find a requirement for someone who can act as an “active participant in scrum ceremonies” and “works with the Scrum Master to develop and implement identified scrum process improvements.”

Government Entities
Around the state of California, many state government agencies are making the move to agile, and Sacramento is helping to lead this charge.

The city is home to the California Department of Technology (CDT), which currently has multiple initiatives underway to help residents across the state leverage new and emerging technologies. For example, since the 2017-18 fiscal year, the CDT reports that cloud adoption across the state is up 660%. It’s also working with the California Broadband Council (CBC) to bridge the state’s digital divide by providing broadband services in underserved areas.

In addition, the CDT provides statewide IT project oversight and recently completed a four-year-long project transition the California Correctional Health Care Services (CCHCS) network from paper files to an innovative Electronic Health Records System (EHRS).

As movements like these continue to develop, government leaders are turning to agile principles, and specifically scrum  to help ensure successful outcomes. One recent example is the Child Welfare Services New System (CWS-NS) Project, a program provided through the County Welfare Directors Association of California (CWDAC).

This is a large, multi-year, multi-million dollar human services automation project bringing together multiple vendors to develop a new technology platform and set of digital services for the CWS. As such, the project requires an agile approach to foster teamwork and collaboration.

In fact, one recent job opening for the CWS-NS project listed on the state’s website was for a Scrum Master. The role required someone with a current Certified Scrum Master (CSM) certification.

In addition to this isolated example, myriad public sector agencies across the city and state are looking to scrum and other common agile techniques to strengthen their IT system modernization initiatives.

Agricultural Technology
In addition to software companies, Sacramento is also a power player in the agricultural technology realm. In fact, food production in the city is a $2 billion industry! As such, there’s a wide and diverse agritech market that runs on scrum.

Leading local companies include Bayer Crop Science, Monsanto, and H.M.Clause. In addition, smaller companies are also calling the city home. This is possible due to the more than $200 million that the city has set aside in funds for agritech and biotech startups since 2010.

Using Bayer Crop Science as an example, many of these companies are dedicated to agile environments with scrum-based practices at the center. For instance, Bayer specifically cites that it promotes “inclusive, collaborative and agile environment.” In its recently closed Data Engineering Scientist II position in West Sacramento, the company requested someone that possessed “Knowledge of GIT, agile and distributed development techniques.”

From stem cell research to pharmaceuticals, Sacramento’s biotechnology industry is providing new developments at every turn.

Though the Bay Area may be the birthplace of the state’s presence in this sector, Sacramento boasts more than 100 biotechnology and medical device companies. More than 150,000 life sciences and health sector employees also call the city home.
You’ll find many working at U.C. Davis Medical Center, which lists positions to ensure a workforce that collaborates as effectively as it innovates.

While you may find it written in different verbiage across job descriptions, many companies within these three sectors requires someone with agile and scrum experience. The takeaway? Pursuing your scrum certification could make all the difference in your career competitiveness.

Professional Scrum Communities in Sacramento
As you study for certification and hone your craft, where can you go in the city to find other, like-minded peers who are as focused on scrum as you are? In Sacramento, there is no shortage of such networking groups.

The city has a vibrant community of thought leaders in the agile space. Here, you’ll find plenty of industry veterans ready to share their knowledge and expertise with young or inexperienced workers. This makes these meetups a great spot to start when you’re first dipping your toes into this field!

Let’s take a look at a few places you can plug in.

SacTown Agile
SacTown Agile is a public group dedicated to continually becoming more agile. Growing rapidly, this group also fosters discussion around community collaboration and professional development opportunities for members.

With more than 100 members after just a few months of activity, the public group is dedicated to practicing, perfecting, and promoting agile practices in the greater Sacramento area. In addition to in-depth discussions and regular meetups, the group also offers members opportunities to further their professional development in the agile space.

As a proud sponsor of SacTown Agile, Platinum Edge provides ongoing community and operational support to the group.

Agile Professionals of Sacramento
Headquartered in nearby Rancho Cordova, Agile Professionals of Sacramento is a public group with more than 400 members. Join this community to gain access to local events designed to deepen your scrum knowledge.

Agile Government Sacramento
A public group with more than 200 members, Agile Government Sacramento brings together state and local government leaders to share how agile principles and techniques can help spur innovation in the public sector.

From agile software development to DevOps and design thinking, the group’s topics are varied. The national Agile Government Leadership (AGL) organization supports this local meetup.

Agile Cloud Institute
With more than 230 members, Agile Cloud Institute is a public group focused on cross-functional leadership roles that encompass C-suite executives, data architects, managers, scrum masters, product owners, senior engineers, and others.

The common thread? All leverage cloud-based operating models with software-defined data centers in their line of work. The group hosts regular speakers, who share how business agility techniques can work in tandem with cloud orchestration technologies to improve operational effectiveness.

Developers of Sacramento
Interested in software development, but unsure where to begin? This meetup group is for you! At less than 100 members, it’s one of the smallest in the lineup but packs a powerful punch.

When you attend a gathering through the Developers of Sacramento, you’ll connect with IT recruiters, startup entrepreneurs, team leaders, and other experts in the field. Use this as a platform to learn as much as you can about development in the context of scrum as you  pursue certification.

Leverage and Learn From This Overview 
Are you interested in pursuing professional opportunities in agile teams and organizations in the greater Sacramento area? If so, you’ll join the ranks of thousands of others who are looking to the city for prospective job offers.

While agricultural technology and biotechnology niches are powerful mainstays within the city, the tech sector as a whole is experiencing a level of unparalleled growth. As developers, startup leaders, and programmers flock to Sacramento from other tech hubs, the competition will only become more fierce.

In response, expect to see even more companies moving to the area and setting up shop in the city to capitalize on this advanced and skilled workforce. What does this equal for you? Incredible opportunity for autonomy, mastery and purpose, as well as salary advancement, skill growth, and network connections.

Make the most of this time and get a leg up on the competition by undertaking scrum training and becoming a Certified ScrumMaster (CSM®), Advanced Certified ScrumMaster (A-CSM), Certified Scrum Product Owner (CSPO®) or a Certified Scrum Developer (CSD). With any of our courses, you’ll get a practical application of scrum to fuel your career.

Visit our training page to find our next class in the Sacramento area. We have locations throughout California, and we offer private courses (ask us how), as well.

And, if you’ve had training already and you’re looking for professional transition support, we can provide agile assessments and coaching (transformation support) to help you make the most of your agile transformation investments.


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