A combination of engineering and marketing for your online success

Interviewing to become a Program Manager from a different role

In the past couple of weeks, I have met many friends who have thought or wanted to move to Program Management (from a different role). This thought has always brought a shine in my eye and awakened my passion of why I moved to Program Management. In my previous life, I was a developer, a tester and when I attended the Dale Carnegie class, I realized how much I loved interacting with people, looking at the big picture, understanding and resolving their issues. I loved being in the forefront with customers and my technical experience gave me a better understanding of both sides of the coin. That is when I decided to make the change to Program Management.


I started playing the role of Program Manager to make sure I really understood and enjoyed this new passion of mine. Being pregnant in my last trimester with my first baby and the hassle of my green card made it challenging for me to make the change immediately. When my son, Shivam was about 3 weeks old I started my preparation for the Program Manager role. It took a couple of weeks for me to feel comfortable with it and once I was back to office post-pregnancy, I started informationals to interviews as a Program Manager.

When I look back at the past 7 years and the interviews and informational that I have gone through, I realize the major skill sets that people are looking at can be classified into the following buckets:

  1. Design: What is your approach to design? (hardware, software or a vision)
  2. Project management: How well do you understand the project management and processes needed for delivering a project? Are you flexible to adopt to the company/team’s requirement?
  3. Communication: How good are you written and oral communication skills?
  4. Problem Solving/Troubleshooting: Can you handle problem solving, ambiguity and troubleshooting?

I will discuss each of these in future posts.

These high level skills can be broken to many smaller buckets. In general if you are good at 3 out of the 4 above skills (or can build expertise), you might be a good match to be a Program Manager. Think through in detail or with a friend on why you want to become a Program Manager? Is there a Program Manager mentor or friend that you look up at? Do you love the job of a Program Manager? Do you want to get diverse experience?

Let me know if you want to be a Program Manager and what entices you to be one.

14 Comments
  1. Are there any courses you would recommend please?

    • Absolutely, there are many courses on different aspects of Program Management
      If you are looking at Project Management, there are several classes and certifications available in Community Colleges. If you would like you can consider doing PMI certification .

      If you are looking at processes, you can check the Scrum Master certification, Certified Scrum Product owner that will help you with understanding the best practices of Scrum

      For oral communication, you can consider the Dale Carnegie Leadership class including building relationships and a lot of information on leadership.

      There are several more classes available around Conflict Management, Connecting with customers, Effective Specs, Strategic Planning, etc

      Hope that helps. Feel free to drop me an email if you want more information.

      Urmila

      • Your blog is truly informational and well organized. I have already taken the first step towards it and completed my PMI CAPM certification :)

  2. Absolutely, there are many courses on different aspects of Program Management
    If you are looking at Project Management, there are several classes and certifications available in Community Colleges. If you would like you can consider doing PMI certification .

    If you are looking at processes, you can check the Scrum Master certification, Certified Scrum Product owner that will help you with understanding the best practices of Scrum

    For oral communication, you can consider the Dale Carnegie Leadership class including building relationships and a lot of information on leadership.

    There are several more classes available around Conflict Management, Connecting with customers, Effective Specs, Strategic Planning, etc

    Hope that helps. Feel free to drop me an email if you want more information.

    Urmila

  3. good post

  4. I am trying to make the transition from engineering to social media marketing and sentiment analysis and would love to hear about the path that would take me there. Let me know if you have any tips.

  5. Alex, I assume you are asking about Social Media Marketing and not Social Media Ads.

    I had written a couple of blog posts around it
    **http://www.urmilasinghal.com/2012/08/social-media-marketing.html
    **http://www.urmilasinghal.com/2012/08/my-moms-cooking-and-listening-to.html
    **http://www.urmilasinghal.com/2012/08/the-art-of-engagement.html

    2 books which I enjoyed very much are
    **Likeable Social Media by Dave Kerpen
    **Facebook Marketing by Brian Carter and Justin Levy

  6. Hey thanks for sharing. It was nice reading this blog

  7. Brilliantly written as usual

  8. Thiѕ blog ωas… hоw do yоu ѕay it?
    Relevant!! Finallу I’ve found something that helped me. Many thanks!

  9. I wanna say thanks for publicing this good information. Keep up this good work. I’ll subscribe to your blog also. thanks!

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  11. Hi Urmila
    Appreciate this brilliant post.I have a few questions to ask. Could you please share your email id.

    Regards
    Deepesh

  12. Thanks for posting it, really helpful for dev/test who wanted to move towards PM role.

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