Program Manager - Career Info, Salary, Education Required
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Program Manager

Career Overview

Program Manager' is a popular career in today's IT world. Also known as project leaders, they ensure that complex technical projects, such as systems upgrades, are completed on designated time, under budget and to specifications. While Program management and Project management are interdependent they differ from each other in scope and objectives. While a project manager focuses on a particular initiative or project, the Program manager manages a range of initiatives or portfolios and is responsible for the project, the project team, and the outcomes the team is working on. The program manager also deals with customers in other functions as well, often across several business units. Program managers have broader expertise, strategic thinking and superior capabilities related to governance, risk and change management. For most project managers, the next move in their careers is the step up to become a program manager.

There are essentially three types of program managers:

  • IT Program manager: Responsible for running complex programs and projects which includes handling tasks that are involved in designing and development, as well as production.
  • Software Program manager: Facilitates and makes trade-off decisions between quality, costs, resources, scope and time making sure all projects are carried out in schedule.
  • Senior Program Manager: They are responsible for the efficient and profitable management of the company's product or service delivery, which could include healthcare, software or manufactured goods. They participate in programs for career development planning and performance evaluation.

Salaries and Job Outlook*

Median Annual Pay
Number of Jobs
Projected Growth Rate

Program managers are responsible for developing the project scope, defining project guidelines, and coordinating the resources necessary to successfully complete the project. They are some of the most demanded skilled professionals with increasing number of companies that are utilizing specialists and project-based methods to get work done right, the first time. Opportunity for advancement and earning potential in this field are excellent. They are hired in multiple industries including construction, engineering, architecture, manufacturing, and real estate, banks and their demand is particularly high in industries with strong growth prospects, such as high tech and biotechnology.The annual salary for Program Manager may vary depending on a number of factors including industry, company size, location, years of experience and level of education. Those working in the IT industry earn an average salary of INR 15.0 lacs to 20 lacs p.a depending upon the years of experience and type of project one is working for.

Education and Training

Degrees Required:
Bachelor's Degree in Computer Science M.B.A.

Program management position requires a strong technical expertise in a specific IT domain. IT Program Managers generally have at least a bachelor's degree in computer science, while some employers require specialized master's degree in IT project management or a master's of business administration (MBA) with a technology concentration. Other employers may be looking for applicants with expertise in a specific subject area such as biology, environmental science etc.

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Valued Traits & Abilities

Communication Skills
Leadership Skills
Analytical Skills
Teamwork Skills

Career Opportunities

Program Managers ensure the success of organizations in designing, implementing and managing the large scale operations with the aim to attain the objectives and goals set. Project Managers with experience move on to becoming Program Managers progressing beyond technical prowess to strategic and leadership role. From Program Management one can further progress to highly strategic roles of Portfolio Management. One can also specialize in one of the functions and take up Risk Management, Business Operations or Service Delivery Management.A successful Program Manager equipped with all necessary skills and aptitude may enter into a Start- up venture or set up an own venture as an Entrepreneur.

Risk Management

Risk Managers are specialists who classify, evaluate, monitor and control the risk elements of a company's set up. After having identified potential causes of risk, they recommend solutions; implement better programs to promote loss prevention.

Service Delivery Manager

They ensure all IT service levels are maintained and delivery processes run smooth. They oversee functional, technical and process leadership and also develop and recommend process improvements. Customer feedback and ensuring customer satisfaction are among their key roles.


Program Managers also have the necessary foundation to start their own venture. With abilities of leadership, management, strategic skills and team building one can choose to set up his own venture which is also financially rewarding.

Top Companies

  • IBM
  • Honeywell
  • Symantec Software
  • Tech Mahindra
  • Atlas Copco
  • Capgemini
  • Tyco
  • Amazon