What They Don't Tell You About Becoming a Program Manager

PMI Southern Ontario Chapter

Bruce is the founder of ProjectManagementHacks.com, a resource for growing IT project managers.

Once you become successful as a project manager, you may start to wonder about the next opportunity. For some of you, you may choose to specialize in a specific technology like ERP or CRM. Others may leverage their project skills to move into a different field. For those who like project work and want to double down, program management is a promising next step.

Program management jobs by the numbers
Your interest and capabilities matter, but they are not the entire story. It’s also helpful to understand the market. First, program managers tend to earn higher salaries than project managers. That’s the good news! The bad news is that there are fewer program manager roles. Some large organizations with established project management groups like banks, technology firms, telecom companies and the government may have project, program and related roles. Other smaller companies will tend to have fewer roles.

Here are a few statistics about the role you need to know:

  • Average annual salary for U.S. program managers as per the PMI Salary Survey (2017): $121,650
  • The number of people with “program manager” as their job title in the United States as per LinkedIn (Jan 2018): 315,000 (note that many of these individuals may be using the job title in a non-PMI way)
  • Number of Monster.com job postings in the United States that mention the Program …

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