Defining The IT Program Manager Role
Updated: October 10, 2023
What is an IT Program Manager?
Not to be confused with a project manager, an IT program manager is someone who develops and manages different programs for an employer or business. A “program” is a project, program, or group of projects that supports business initiatives.
The main objective of an IT program manager is to oversee multiple projects and how they align with the company’s goals. IT program managers are usually involved with selecting team projects, planning a budget, constructing a timeline, and defining a project’s scope. Concerns of someone in this role may include what the benefits of the project will have on a company and its stakeholders.
A project’s success is measured by how well the program meets the company or business goals. Success is also determined by whether or not the desired benefits of the project are achieved. This is established by the project’s framework, the framework’s implementation, and how well the team performs. The IT program manager’s leadership and ability to delegate are significant factors in a project’s outcome.
Are IT Program Managers in Demand?
In order to stay competitive, every industry must incorporate its own digital transformation efforts to fuel technological growth. Such actions are done through the cloud or other big data platforms. However, someone is needed to oversee the program’s development; that is where an IT program manager comes in.
Given the current tech talent shortage, program managers continue to be one of the most in-demand roles in the world of tech. According to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics, IT program manager jobs are expected to grow 11% from 2020 to 2030. In addition, it is projected that an average of 42,400 jobs will open each year of the decade.
What Skills Are Required for IT Program Managers?
It is not uncommon for an IT program manager to have a bachelor’s degree in computer science. Some industries may require a master’s degree in management and leadership in order to be more marketable in this role. Additionally, there are plenty of program manager courses that IT program managers should consider to hone their skills. These include the IT Information Library Foundations Certification (ITIL), Certified Information Technology Professional (CITP), and the Microsoft Certified Professional (MCP) courses.
Hard skills such as project planning, budget management, and database management are all helpful when it comes to the success of being a program manager. It may also help to have a background in project management as many program managers begin their careers as project managers.
On the other hand, soft skills are work traits that cannot be taught and are just as crucial for workplace success. Common soft skills needed to be successful in an IT program manager role include communication, problem-solving, budgeting, and time management.
IT program managers work across multiple departments, which makes good communication skills essential to the role. Good communication will help when discussing many aspects, such as the scope and timeline of a project. Additionally, effectively communicating between team members so everyone knows their role is one of the most crucial elements of being a program manager. It is also beneficial to fully explain to stakeholders what is being developed, so they understand the timeline and budget.
In accordance with communication, having negotiation and problem-solving skills are critical for IT program manager jobs. True professionals must be able to help solve internal conflicts, address concerns, and negotiate an outcome or solution.
Every project will run into issues that make flexibility and adaptability a significant asset. Being able to tackle problems head-on and delegate what needs to be done will only enhance the success of any project.
What are IT Program Manager Salary Ranges?
If you would like a job in one of these positions, making sure to have a degree in computer science is an excellent first step. Additionally, there are plenty of courses to take with certifications that can be acquired. Some of the top IT program manager jobs and salaries are:
Read our 2022 Technology Salary and Hiring Guide for more salary and hiring information.
About Benchmark IT – Technology Talent
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