Companies that engage in developing programs consisting of several interconnected projects need a skilled Program Manager to ensure business objectives are met. In this role, Program Managers are tasked with overseeing individual projects while assessing the program’s strategy and how it will affect the business. It is a career that continues to be in-demand with businesses in every industry, as Program Managers design the blueprint for programs, implement the projects that make up the program and make sure all the various pieces are in place to make the program and the business a su...more
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Companies that engage in developing programs consisting of several interconnected projects need a skilled Program Manager to ensure business objectives are met. In this role, Program Managers are tasked with overseeing individual projects while assessing the program’s strategy and how it will affect the business. It is a career that continues to be in-demand with businesses in every industry, as Program Managers design the blueprint for programs, implement the projects that make up the program and make sure all the various pieces are in place to make the program and the business a success.
Entering the world of Program Management takes a vast amount of education and experience, as there are various hurdles an aspiring Program Manager needs to clear to be considered by most companies. Some things a hiring manager may look for when considering a Program Manager’s background include:
It is also important for the Program Manager to assess the field that interests them most, i.e. information tech, healthcare, education, non-profits, etc. and see what individual requirements are likely needed for an entry-level Program Manager in that field.
Many Program Managers have a degree in business administration, computer science, communications or related field. Depending on the industry the Program Manager enters and the size of the company they intend to work for, they may need an advanced degree. There are also programs that offer certification as a Program Manager, which is beneficial to gaining key insights and skills and may be required by some employers.
Typically, when a Program Manager is hired, they must have demonstrated their experience in certain areas. Many came from a project management background, so they understand how to lead a team towards accomplishing goals as well as understand who to prioritize tasks and mentor struggling team members. These are all key to gaining a role as Program Manager. Having an aptitude for business processes and subsets including planning, budgeting, assessing and organizing, are traits that will also help the candidate gain entry in a Program Manager role.
Program Managers at the junior level have already demonstrated their ability to guide various teams at once. They continuously visualize the program as a whole and how each individual project must evolve in order to meet program goals. They are both creative and strategic – designing how projects will transpire to make the program a success and quickly coming up with solutions if any fissures are detected. Junior level Program Managers are also adept with documenting the various stages of each project and comfortable presenting their findings to their managers and stakeholders.
Program Management is a competitive and complex field, but with the right amount of perseverance and dedication, a Program Manager can surely ascend the career ladder. To prove their capabilities as a leader and their increasing ability to multi-task, Program Managers may ask to handle more projects at once, overseeing several project managers and project teams at any given moment. Others standout by taking extra time to connect with their project managers and project team members, earning a reputation as a Program Manager who truly excels at fostering effective communication. Many Program Managers take additional education courses, training and certifications, proving that they want to keep their Program Management skills sharp and attuned to emerging industry trends.
To attain a senior level of Program Management, many Program Managers need a portfolio stuffed with successful projects and programs that they designed, oversaw and championed to completion. They must be willing to take on more responsibilities and thrive at each to stand out from their colleagues. As mentioned, taking opportunities to increase your knowledge base is beneficial, so will showing your willingness to mentor and guide junior contemporaries. Effectively displaying that you not only surpass your assigned duties but go the extra mile to amass more responsibilities and complete them with a professional deftness will put you on the road to senior-status in no time.
…and reap the rewards of a long and respected career. Program Managers can become a greater asset to their company by taking on responsibilities outside of the workplace, including attaining additional certification as a Program Manager or another aspect of business, attend training sessions related to Program Management and/or your industry and locate conferences and seminars related to your role and industry, which will not only help you gain key insight to the present and future of the field, but can also help you network and meet professionals who may have a hand in your future accomplishments.
Program Managers can evolve and improve their skill sets by understanding the careers around them that are similar. Business analysts gather the supplies necessary to get a project started within an organization and work closely with Program Managers. Product managers are like Program Managers except they help create and define all aspects of new products within a business from start to deployment. Risk analysts undertake a deep study and assessment as to how planned projects and programs may benefit or hurt a business. Taking the time to research roles like these of your colleagues can help spark your passion for your own career or perhaps interest you in another.
Program Managers take the helm in designing, planning and overseeing the successful completion of a program and the various projects that define the program in their organization. They layout the program’s strategy, communicate its objectives and analyze how it will impact the company. Program Managers ensure long-term organizational objectives are met and that strategic benefits and business growth are achieved at the completion of a program.
The role of Program Manager continues to be relied upon across all different sectors as they have singular and essential skills. These business-savvy professionals need to be just as savvy at communicating goals, leading teams and juggling multiple projects to ensure a program’s success. It is a role that is at one logical and creative, instinctive and strategic at all times.
Achieving a senior level of your career as a Program Manager is a feat to be proud of. Professionals at this level have many years of experience as a Program Manager as well as prior years of experience in a similar field. Senior Program Managers can easily stay where they are and enjoy many more years at the senior level. Others may take this opportunity to move on to another field in which their skills translate.
Program Managers who move to another field often do so in such positions as a high-ranking business analyst, the program director who assigns tasks to the Program Managers, or they may head a particular department, such as accounting, marketing or human resources.
Those who remain as Senior Program Manager will have the chance to mentor and guide junior colleagues, see the successful completion of countless projects and programs and witness advances in the field they perhaps never imagined possible.
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