Technical Program Manager Job Description
Technical program managers manage technical projects of all types through every stage of development, from idea to design to completion. Many businesses hire technical program managers to work full-time daytime business hours, usually in office environments. Technical program managers lead teams of project developers and designers and primarily report to upper-level management executives.
Technical Program Manager Duties and Responsibilities
Specific tasks for technical program managers vary depending on the industry and types of programs being created. However, some universal job duties include:
Develop New Products
Technical program managers develop new products and features to create new revenue sources and increase company profits.
Lead Design Teams
Technical program managers lead hardware and software design teams to implement new programs that will create products, applications, and other projects to benefit the company.
Manage Program Progress
Technical program managers keep projects on schedule and within budget. This includes cutting costs as needed, delegating more staff to work on programs, and performing other tasks to maintain project parameters.They report program progress regularly to management executives.
Track Technical Issues
Technical program managers track technical issues and find solutions for program problems as they arise.
Technical program managers review test code and designs frequently to ensure that program goals are being met.
Technical Program Manager Skills and Qualifications
Technical program managers are highly detail-oriented professionals with strong leadership skills who know how to turn ideas into products. Employers hire technical program managers who display the following essential skills:
- Personnel management – because technical program managers supervise and manage design teams, strong leadership and management skills are essential
- Organization skills – technical program managers use organization skills to manage multiple facets of a large-scale project and track progress for several programs at once
- Communication skills – technical program managers use written communication skills to deliver regular program reports, and verbal communication to effectively talk to team members and monitor program progress
- Multitasking – technical program managers work on many tasks at once, which makes multitasking skills a must-have
- Time management – since technical program managers work with strict deadlines, time management is an essential component of this job
- Problem-solving skills – technical program managers use problem-solving skills to isolate and solve problems with programs to keep progress on track
Technical Program Manager Education and Training
Technical program managers must obtain a bachelor’s degree in management, business administration, computer science, or a similar field. Some employers may accept past work experience as a substitute for a formal degree. Candidates who have a combination of both education and experience are highly desired by employers.
On-the-job training is provided to new technical program managers. During this time, they familiarize themselves with staff members, company goals, current programs, and company business interests. The training period varies by employer but typically lasts no more than two weeks.
Technical Program Manager Salary and Outlook
Computer and information systems managers earn a median annual income of $139,220, according to data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics. Like technical program managers, computer and information systems managers plan and coordinate activities to meet technology goals. PayScale data shows that the current median annual salary for technical program managers is $120,921. The number of jobs in this field is expected to rise 12 percent by 2026, which is faster than the average U.S. job growth rate.
Most employers offer full benefits packages to technical program managers that include medical, dental, vision, disability, and life insurance coverage. Retirement plans, paid holidays, and paid vacation days are usually included as part of standard packages. Some employers give monetary benefits to technical program managers who exceed sales goals and successfully complete programs that are significantly under budget. Additional perks, such as continuing education reimbursement, are provided by some companies.
Find educational resources, job strategies, and other career tools for technical program managers using these books and websites:
International Project Management Association – visit IPMA to find certification programs, get tech news updates, and browse learning resources for technical program managers and other types of project managers
Project Management Starter Kit for Developers – learn the skills for successful project management with the tips in this book, which serves as a guide for beginning technical program managers and project leaders
Project Management Institute – use this website to find industry events, learning tools, certification programs, and useful job tips for technical program managers
Program Management in Defense and High Tech Environments – this book explains the program manager’s role and provides techniques and strategies for performing the job’s basic duties
American Management Association – discover training seminars, courses, and programs for technical program managers at AMA. This website also has a resource library, news updates, and other tools for professionals who want to succeed at their chosen career path
Handbook of Project-Based Management – use this handbook to learn practical tips for program management. The text covers skills like leadership, organization, and meeting project goals
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