Job description: A program manager oversees a set of interdependent IT projects that need to be synchronized and completed successfully to achieve a broader goal. “The program manager is responsible for pulling those teams together and tying those projects into a single view,” said Sam Lawler, practice director of project management and strategy at GlassHouse Technologies Inc.
Program managers understand a program’s technology requirements and the business goals. They can talk about applications to a developer or give the CIO a high-level picture of the program’s progress. Program management is the way most IT work will be carried out in the future, so this is definitely a hot job, said David Van De Voort, principal human capital consultant at Mercer Human Resource Consulting Ltd.
Why you need one: A decade ago, most IT initiatives could be undertaken as single projects. Not anymore. The reason: the complexity of IT resources and assets and their impact on a company’s business operations. IT initiatives today often require a programmatic approach to ensure proper execution and coordination. Program managers are experts in structured frameworks for the provisioning of IT services and in methods for managing processes. Using a disciplined approach, they define needs, establish budgets and manage progress. Desired skills: Knowledge of developing and future technology and business trends. Project and program management coursework and certifications. A bachelor’s or master’s in computer science, as well as an MBA.
How to find them: “Find someone from the inside. They understand your technology and your business as well as your culture,” said Jim Lanzalotto, vice-president at Yoh, a Philadelphia-based recruitment firm. Look for midlevel managers who have expertise in application development, operations and services, as well as 10 years of IT experience, five of those years doing project or program management. What to look for: Must be skilled communicators, goal-oriented, highly organized, excellent planners and good negotiators.
Salary range: US$100,000 to US$125,000.