The 5 stages in the Career Path of a Technical Program Manager

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Given the increased demand for this role, Technical Program Managers is an excellent career choice for candidates with a technical aptitude, looking to bring advancements to organizations

5 stages in the career path of a technical program manager

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the requirement for a Technical Program Manager  at the most competitive tech firms is estimated to have a growth of 17% by 2024

This growth is evident, too, since companies are eventually beginning to undertake complex technical tasks to improve their operations and offerings. The Technical Program Manager is thus needed to oversee various programs from inception to completion. 

Given the increased demand for this role, Technical Program Managers is an excellent career choice for candidates with a technical aptitude, looking to bring advancements to organizations and those who like managing teams and taking ideas to completion. 

Whether you're an aspirant looking to get into the world of Technical Program Management, or someone in the mid-level position, or even someone who's a Senior Technical Project Manager - this article will help you understand what next steps you can take. Here are five things that you should know regarding the career path of a Technical Program Manager. 

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1. Getting started with the interviews

The career path of a Technical Program Manager begins with clearing elementary interviews for entry-level positions. Acing/ such talks demands a mix of technical knowledge and some experience in managing teams. 

Here are some things you should be ready with for the initial Technical Program Management interviews: 

  • A degree in any relevant field (management, engineering, data science, etc.)
  • An aptitude for learning technical skills and software development.
  • Experience with overseeing teams on their operations.
  • Experience in taking ideas from inception to completion. 
  • Basic understanding of business dynamics.
  • Willingness to listen to all the people involved as needed. 

These are just some of the traits that hiring managers generally look for in fresher Technical Program Managers. Other than these things, it's crucially important for you to brush up on technical interview questions and relevant technical concepts before your interview. Having a ready portfolio that details your educational and professional experiences and expertise will also be beneficial for the hiring process. 

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2. Working as a Junior Technical Program Manager

Once you clear your first Technical Program Manager interview, you'll be working as a junior-level Technical Program Manager. In this role, you'll be responsible for overseeing daily tasks from inception to submission. When technical issues arise, it'll be your responsibility to think on your feet and implement a time-bound solution that doesn't drain resources. As a junior Technical Program Manager, you'll also be looking to continuously optimize your technical solutions by improving the current processes and streamlining services. In this role, you'll mostly be reporting to a Senior Technical Program Manager. You will take care of responsibilities like guiding more teams, attending more meetings with other managers and directors, and using your technical skills more readily.

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3. Advancing towards becoming a Senior Technical Program Manager

Advancing towards the senior Technical Program Manager role takes time, perseverance, and effort. 

By this stage, not only would you have proven your indispensability as a TPM, you would also have deepened the team's knowledge about the field and the dynamics of the business.

Beyond that, you'd have made efforts to understand the roles of other teams around you, taken the time to improve your skills, and strived to perform better at all times.

4. Expanding your knowledge, in-depth studying core fields

Once you've reached a senior technical program manager position, now is the time to relentlessly up-skill by studying in-depth about various core concepts and fields associated with your business. The idea is to understand what it is to manage the team under you efficiently. Some essential areas under Technical Program Management that you can dive deeper into at this stage include the agile methodology, relationship-building techniques, management etiquettes, customer retention strategies, working on cross-functionalities, and more. Senior Technical Program Managers also need to establish and maintain relationships with various technology vendors, clients, and stakeholders. So, at this stage, improving the art of conversing in a business setting will help you well in a cross-functional environment. 

5. Thinking beyond just Technical Program Management 

After establishing yourself as a TPM, start defining your goals and study the work of those around you. Whether they're managers, software developers, or fellow program managers, having a better understanding of how their goals align perfectly for meeting business objectives will help you see your responsibilities and future aspirations clearer.

In Conclusion

Working as a Technical Program Manager is truly an exciting and rewarding feat. It's not monotonous either, as you'll constantly be required to upskill, learn new things and strategies, and interact with different teams. The career path of a Technical Program Manager is not very straightforward. However, if you keep the five things mentioned above in mind, you'll very soon be on your way to walking the path to becoming a successful Technical Program Manager.