A large IT department often has multiple projects running at one time, and a Program Manager is the point person who makes sure an entire group of projects stays on track. Program Managers plan the overall program, manage the budget, and align the various projects and deliverables that are part of the program.
A Program Manager is different from a Project Manager. Project Managers are in charge of one specific project, whereas a Program Manager leads multiple coordinated projects aimed at a particular goal. A Program Manager usually oversees multiple Project Managers.
It’s important for an IT Program Manager to have some technical expertise. However, most companies equally value skills like leadership, budgeting, and a knowledge of different project and program management methodologies. Program Managers must work closely with stakeholders within the company to make sure the IT program aligns with the strategic goals of the company.
Typical Duties and Responsibilities
- Formulate, organize and monitor interconnected projects
- Coordinate objectives across all projects
- Lead and evaluate Project Managers and other staff
- Develop and control deadlines, budgets and activities
- Apply change, risk and resource management
- Assume responsibility for the program’s people and vendors
- Assess program performance and aim to maximize ROI
- Resolve projects’ higher scope issues
- Prepare reports for Program Directors
Education and Background
A bachelor’s degree in management or a related field is required for this position.
Project Management Professional (PMP) certification is strongly preferred.
Skills and Competencies
- Thorough understanding of project/program management techniques and methods
- Excellent knowledge of performance evaluation and change management principles
- Outstanding leadership and organizational skills
- Strong knowledge of Microsoft Office Suite
- Excellent problem-solving skills
- Excellent interpersonal skills
According to Payscale the median annual salary of a Program Manager with
1 Year of Experience:
- Orlando, Florida: $67,000
- Tampa, Florida: $78,000
- Jacksonville, Florida: $65,000
- Miami, Florida: $82,000
- Atlanta, Georgia: $80,000
- Chicago, Illinois: $62,000
- Houston, Texas: $80,000
- Los Angeles, California: $70,000
- New York City, New York: $80,000
- Seattle, Washington: $80,000
- Overall: $77,000
5 Years of Experience:
- Orlando, Florida: $80,000
- Tampa, Florida: $81,000
- Jacksonville, Florida: $68,000
- Miami, Florida: $94,000
- Atlanta, Georgia: $84,000
- Chicago, Illinois: $93,000
- Houston, Texas: $86,000
- Los Angeles, California: $105,000
- New York City, New York: $93,000
- Seattle, Washington: $105,000
- Overall: $88,000
Similar Job Titles
- Technical Program Manager
- Scrum Master
- Technical Manager
- Program Lead
- Change Manager
- Delivery Manager
- Development Manager
- Implementation Project Manager
Program Managers don’t always start from a technical or IT background. In fact, companies say they’ve hired Program Managers with degrees unrelated to the technology world, such as English or history. The key for most Program Managers is an understanding of the life cycle of a major project, experience as a Project Manager handling complex projects, leadership skills, management training, and knowledge of different project management techniques.
Many industry leaders say a Program Manager must have business acumen and a complete sense of the organization’s goals. Program Managers often work with stakeholders from many disciplines, both technical and non-technical, so an ability to work with people from different backgrounds is also essential.
Program Managers often begin as Project Managers, where they learn skills like resource management, planning the work of a project, and keeping a team motivated. Companies also find it helpful for Program Managers to have their Project Management Professional (PMP) certification, which gives them a knowledge of multiple project management methods.
According to the industry website The Digital Project Manager, Program Managers should stay on top of the evolution of automation and artificial intelligence (AI) in the years to come. Many companies are looking at automating various IT processes, especially when it comes to storing data.
Industry insiders also stress that becoming even more flexible as a Program Manager will continue to be of paramount importance in the coming years. Technology has always been ever-changing, but currently it’s changing even more quickly. Companies are working to be more flexible and nimble when it comes to adopting new technologies.
Change management is another trend Program Managers will see in the coming years. Whether it’s getting larger, becoming more automated, getting leaner, or adopting more cloud-based solutions, industry thought leaders say IT Program Managers will need to become proactive about managing change within their organizations. Program Managers will need to look for processes that can be improved and visualize how to streamline those processes.
As companies transition to digital platforms and remote working becomes more popular, IT Program Managers will be needed to oversee all of the projects that go into changing the way a company works with technology.
According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, the Computer and Information Systems Manager field will grow 11 percent between 2018 and 2028. That’s much faster than average.
The typical work hours in an office setting for a Program Manager are usually from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. However, some IT Program Managers might have to work more than 40 hours per week to create solutions for specific issues when they arise.
Where You Can Find Jobs
- 4 Corner Resources
- Career Builder
- IT Career Finder
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