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HomeBlogProject ManagementHow to Become a Program Manager in 2024 [Step-by-Step Guide]

How to Become a Program Manager in 2024 [Step-by-Step Guide]

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05th Jan, 2024
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    How to Become a Program Manager in 2024 [Step-by-Step Guide]

    Due to the increasing complexity of programs across industries, the demand for program managers is slowly rising. They are professionals responsible for supervising a group of projects aligned with an organization's overall objective or program.

    As per the latest updates, program managers in India earn an average salary of ₹21 lakh per annum. Hence, this job role creates a high-paying career opportunity for individuals belonging to a management background.

    So, if you are thinking of how to become a program manager, keep reading this blog. We will guide you through the steps you need to follow in order to attain this job role. 

    Who is a Program Manager?

    A Program Manager is a professional responsible for overseeing and coordinating multiple related projects within an organization to achieve strategic objectives. They ensure alignment with the organization's goals, manage resources, mitigate risks, and facilitate communication among project teams. Program Managers possess strong leadership, problem-solving, and organizational skills, enabling them to drive efficiency, deliver value, and ensure successful outcomes for complex initiatives. 

    Who Can Become a Program Manager?

    Apart from the necessary qualifications, one needs a growth mindset, in-depth industry knowledge, great communications skills, and experience to become a program manager.

    Program Manager Requirements:

    Now, if you are thinking how to get into program management, there are some eligibility criteria you need to fulfill. They tend to differ across companies but all of them have some common ones:

    • At least 5 years of experience in an upper-management role.
    • Insight on performance evaluation and management principles.
    • Outstanding organization, time management, conflict resolution, and leadership skills.
    • Expertise in handling stakeholders.

    Pro Tip: If you are wondering how to become a program manager with no experienceopting for Program Management Professional certification can be the best thing to do. It will enable you to gain the necessary skills that you need to be eligible for this job role. 

    How to Become a Program Manager [Step-by-Step Guide]

    Here are the steps to follow in order to become a program manager in India:

    Step 1: Master Skills 

    To become a program manager, having a background in project management along with industry experience is a must. Apart from this, you will need a comprehensive skill set in order to effectively perform your job role. 

    A. Skills Needed to Become a Program Manager

    You will need a definite set of both soft and hard skills in order to perform your duties as a program manager. Check out the comprehensive list for both mentioned below: 

    • Soft Skills: The soft skills which you need to master in order to become a program manager are as follows:
      • Leadership
      • Organization
      • Communication
      • Flexibility
      • Time Management
      • Decision Making
      • Problem Solving
      • Relationship Building 
    • Hard Skills:  Following are the hard skills that are an absolute must for program managers:
      • Program management methodologies
      • Budgeting
      • Project Initiation
      • Project Control
      • Scheduling
      • Risk management
      • Affinity with project management software
      • Knowledge of the industry 
    • Other Competencies: Here are some additional skills that candidates need to have in order to become a program manager:
      • Keeping the big picture in view
      • Influencing and motivating team members
      • Building a relationship between the company and the clients
      • Managing stakeholders
      • Resource management, etc. 

    B. Top Program Manager Certifications/Degree 

    Opting for certifications is an excellent way to enhance your skill set and showcase your expertise to recruiters. Mentioned below are some of the best program manager certifications:

    Step 2: Determine Your Ideal Timeline 

    The next step that comes in how to become a program manager is gaining the educational background needed for the job role.

    A. Start Learning in a Format That Suits You 

    To apply for this job, you need to have a Bachelor’s degree in business administration, business management or computer science or in a field that you are targeting. Additionally, you may want to pursue a Master's degree in business administration. Doing so can significantly improve your career prospects in the long run.

    Thus, depending on whether you are a student or a professional, you can start learning in a format that you find suitable. Nowadays, online and distance Bachelor’s courses are offered by accredited universities. So, even if you do not have time to attend a regular course, this is an alternate route that you can take. 

    B. How Long Does It Take to Become a Program Manager? 

    The time you may need to become a program manager completely depends on the choices you make. For instance, you can go for a traditional 4-year Bachelor’s degree and then a Master of Business Administration (MBA).

    Now, based on the type of industry you are targeting, pursuing additional degrees can also be beneficial. For example, if you are trying to enter the tech industry as a program manager, choosing Information Technology (IT) or computer science may be a good idea.

    Alternatively, there are several non-traditional routes that you can consider. For instance, you can enroll in coding boot camps. These courses usually range from 12 to 24 weeks and can help you quickly gain the necessary skills to join your target industry. 

    Additionally, when you join a company, you may have to start at lower job roles. Then, after gaining a few years of experience, you may be eligible to become a program manager.

    Step 3: Begin Building Your Portfolio/Resume

    After figuring out what you need to do education-wise, it’s time to build your resume.

    Portfolio Example or Resume Template for Download: Program Manager Template (PDF) 

    When framing a resume to apply for a program manager job role, here is a sample resume template that you can follow:

    Step 4: Where and How to Find a Job?

    Hereafter, the next step of how to become technical program manager is to start applying for the job role across various companies.

    A. Top Companies Hiring Program Manager 

    These are the top Indian companies that hire program managers:

    • Amazon
    • TCS
    • Capgemini
    • Tech Mahindra
    • Wipro
    • L&T Technologies
    • IBM
    • Accenture
    • Infosys
    • Cognizant

    B. Job Outlook for Program Manager

    As per reports by the Project Management Institute (PMI), by 2030, there will be at least 25 million job openings for project professionals globally. They include various roles, including program management, spanning across a variety of industries.

    Therefore, the job outlook for this position is positive, enabling candidates to opt for a high-paying career.

    Step 5: Ace the Interview

    Now that you know the job outlook for a program manager, it's time you make preparations for clearing the interview. This is one of the most important steps if you are planning on how to become a technical program manager.

    Brief Overview of Interview Process + Tips

    The interview process for hiring program managers tends to differ across employers. However, it usually consists of resume screening, recruiter phone screening, a written test, a first-round interview, and a directorial interview.

    Pro Tip: Check out the top program manager interview questions and answers before you start applying. By doing so, you can have an idea of what may come your way and prepare your responses accordingly.

    What is the Benefit of Becoming a Program Manager?

    High salaries, significant growth opportunities, and the chance to serve in a leadership position are some of the major reasons why candidates desire to opt for the role of program manager. 

    A. What's the Demand for Program Managers? 

    PMI reports suggest that by 2027, the estimated demand for project management professionals around the world will reach 88 million. This includes the job role of program manager and several other positions, which can help aspiring candidates avail lucrative career opportunities. 

    B. Salary Details for the Top 5 Countries 

    The average program manager salaries in the top 5 nations around the world are as follows:

    Countries

    Average Program Manager Salary 

    India 

    ₹20 lakh per annum

    USA

    $146,598 per annum

    UK

    £74,009 per annum

    Australia

    A$1,65,450 per annum

    Canada

    $96,971 per annum

    Conclusion

    Given the high salaries and growth prospects, there is a high level of competition in the market for the program manager job role. Thus, to ensure you have the upper hand, we recommend that you go for program management certification. 

    However, to ensure that you ace the test, opting for professional guidance is a must. In this regard, attending KnowledgeHut's PGMP prep course online can be an excellent choice. Not only will it ensure that you clear the certification exam, but it will also enable you to gain the necessary skills to perform all tasks related to your job role with ease. 

    Furthermore, KnowledgeHut is one of PMI’s Premier Authorized Training Partners. So, you can train under the best instructors in the industry by choosing our courses. Check out all our Project Management training courses by visiting our website today! Your search for how to become a program manager ends here.

    Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

    1How long does it take to become a program manager?

    To become a program manager, you need to complete a 4-year Bachelor’s course as per your target industry, along with an MBA. Then, based on your qualifications, expertise, and skill set, you can become a program manager, or join at a lower role and get promoted to the same position.  

    2What is the best degree for a program manager?

    A Bachelor’s degree in Business Administration, Computer Science, Marketing, or Communications are some of the best degrees you can go for in order to become a program manager. Additionally, you can also study MBA for better prospects.

    3What is the salary expectation of a program manager?

    In India, the average salary of a program manager can range from ₹12 lakh to ₹30 lakh per annum. However, the annual package tends to differ based on factors like experience, company, location, skill sets, and more.

    Profile

    Kevin D.Davis

    Blog Author

    Kevin D. Davis is a seasoned and results-driven Program/Project Management Professional with a Master's Certificate in Advanced Project Management. With expertise in leading multi-million dollar projects, strategic planning, and sales operations, Kevin excels in maximizing solutions and building business cases. He possesses a deep understanding of methodologies such as PMBOK, Lean Six Sigma, and TQM to achieve business/technology alignment. With over 100 instructional training sessions and extensive experience as a PMP Exam Prep Instructor at KnowledgeHut, Kevin has a proven track record in project management training and consulting. His expertise has helped in driving successful project outcomes and fostering organizational growth.

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