I think the industry of certifications that has grown around agile is mostly negative for the software industry. Having grown up with Extreme Programming (XP), I’ve found the engineering practices to be the most beneficial to building teams’ and organizations’ agile maturity. Alas, there are no certifications for XP, only Scrum Developer certifications address the agile engineering practices.
Agile is experiential. You don’t become an expert by attending a two-day course, pass a test that is impossible to fail, and then go back to your company with a certification ready to transform the organization. A vast number of “agile experts” have emerged with no practical experience and who have no background in building software. This is directly related to the failures of most “agile transformations.”
When I became a consultant it was because I wanted to be a force of good in the industry, a response to all of the bad agile out there, wrapping command-and-control, waterfall implementations in Scrum terminology or adopting scaling frameworks like SAFe that sacrifice the benefits of agility so that organizations that don’t want to transform can still call themselves agile. When I became a consultant I realized that some certifications may be beneficial to starting conversations prospective clients.
That being said, I did my research and I’ve found the scrum.org certifications to be the most valuable. Scrum.org is not a certification factory that simply trades an industry certification for a thousand dollars; their certifications require you to pass a test that relies on knowledge and experiences. My certification are listed below, and you can see my preference for Scrum.org.