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The Role of a Technical Program Manager

In the changing landscape of how tech companies work, the role of a technical program manager is of great importance. The path of a technical program manager generally starts as a software engineer until they decide on which sector they have to focus on, i.e., working with code or people majorly. If your interest lies in people-oriented work, you will be transformed into a technical program manager within the same company. With later experience, you can get a place in higher-paid, salaried companies and have a bright future.

As per the BLS report, the estimated growth in the job opportunities for technical program managers is 15% by 2024. With the increase in demand, several candidates are switching their careers in the field. But what is the technical program manager's role? A technical program manager’s role and responsibilities broadly are to oversee the life cycle of multiple projects from the beginning to the end. Let us quickly review their importance in the business market through this article.

Here’s what we’ll cover in this article:

What is a Technical Program Manager?

Technical program managers (TPMs) are business professionals hired to examine technical project delivery for an organization. From elaborating the necessities of the projects to the generation of products, technical program managers supervise all aspects of a project. 

For instance, a technical program manager from a software development team needs to perform all quality tasks efficiently, be responsible for the team, project, and goals and objectives of the company, and focus on whether key decisions are aligned with the goals and standards of an organization.

Roles and Responsibilities of Technical Program Manager 

Let us explore the technical program manager’s role and responsibilities for an organization.

Project Handling: The technical program manager's role is to observe all the aspects of one or more projects at a time in an organization.

Involvement in the Full Life Cycle of Projects: The role of technical program managers involves the deployment of the project to the release of the product or services in the market. It represents that technical program managers have the authority to regulate the full life cycle of the project.

Collaboration with Teams: The technical program manager helps collaborate with different areas of system expertise when necessary to deliver the project efficiently. For instance, in software development projects, they may team up with software architects and system engineers for better delivery of the project.

Program Initiation: One of the roles of the technical program manager is to contribute ideas to the initiatives of the product or service development process of an organization.

Negotiate Scope and Timeline: Another technical program manager's role and responsibility involves discussion and reaching an agreement for change in scope and timeline when it depends on technical issues. This helps to deliver the product based on the desired standards and objectives efficiently. 

In addition, they start programs, optimize the process of product development, drive delivery completion with a timeline and budget, and offer support when any project-related trouble arises.

Establish Technology and Tools: A technical program manager keeps updated on the latest technologies, tools, and advancements in the business market that can be helpful for their product development and increase its efficiency. For instance, microservices or service-oriented architecture (SOA). They work with organizations that adopt modern technologies and focus on consistent integration and deployment along with the DevOps operating models.

Documentation and Reporting: The technical program manager’s role and responsibilities also involve the evaluation of the product performance metrics, diagnosing the errors arising in product development, facilitating adjustments, and helping resolve technical issues linked with it. As they oversee the overall life-cycle of the program, they keep track of every step in the process and document them. Also, they ensure that the process complies with the regulations and company standards. 

Non-Functional Aspects: The role of technical program managers is not limited to functional aspects. They also get involved in other non-functional aspects of the program that may involve reliability, compliance, security, performance, application telemetry, and others to optimize the overall quality of the project.

Types of Technical Program Managers

Generally, technical program managers fall under two categories. Although their roles are quite similar, they differ in the level of responsibility they possess in the companies.

  1. Individual: Companies hire technical program managers to deliver the tasks that serve standard roles and responsibilities at the individual level. 
  2. Senior: Their functioning is quite similar to individual technical program managers. However, they are more responsible for dealing with larger projects than the technical program managers. 

When large organizations operate with multiple huge programs, senior technical program managers supervise the team of technical program managers to perform the tasks efficiently within the timeline and deliver the product successfully.

Qualifications of Technical Program Manager

Here, we have mentioned the requirements to become a technical program manager for your reference.

Bachelor’s Degree: A technical program manager must possess a bachelor's degree in business management, technology, software engineering, computer science, and other relevant field.

Work Experience: A technical program manager must have at least 3 to 5 years of experience in software development, technical program management, or related industry. 

Proven Abilities: The technical program manager must have a portfolio where his experience must be mentioned, including the challenges he faced and their approach to troubleshooting, which has benefitted the organization and resulted in profitability and increased efficiency of the product.

Strong Foundation of the Field Knowledge: The technical program manager must have a clear understanding of the technical concepts. In addition, they must know the procedure of deployment and integration, planning, and knowledge of the latest technologies and tools that can be used in developing the product and increasing its efficiency.

Skills: A technical program manager must possess technical skills like advanced proficiency in programming languages, including Python and JavaScript. They must also have behavioral skills like leadership, strategic planning, interpersonal, and communication.

What is the Salary of a Technical Program Manager?

The technical program manager is a highly-paid job in the United States of America. The average base salary of a technical program manager is $149,853 per annum, along with multiple non-cash benefits. FAANG companies like Google pay an average salary of $166,816 per annum, Amazon pays $158,457 per annum, Apple pays $157,297 per annum, and Facebook (Meta) pays an average salary of $197,792 per annum to a technical program manager.

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With the increasing competition in the business market, there is an increased demand for potential technical program managers who can deal with multiple projects and help develop an innovative product. This helps organizations stay ahead of their rivals and maintain their stability in the business market. However, recruiters seeking skilled professionals are quite challenging. Thus, several candidates applied and were rejected by companies like FAANG+. In order to get hired at top-tech companies and get higher-paying jobs, they must get guidance from experts. 

Are you willing to prepare for an interview for the role of technical program manager? Sign in and join Interview Kickstart, the best technical interview preparation platform, where you get expertise from top tech companies that will help you build your skills to steal the spotlight in the competitive edge of the job landscape. What are you waiting for? Register for our free webinar and upskill yourself in technical program management.

FAQs About Technical Program Manager

Q1. Is a technical program manager a good career path?

Choosing the technical program manager is an excellent career path for individuals who want to excel in technology and bring advancement to the developing products of the company. In addition, if you like to interact with clients and guide teams, you are a perfect fit for the technical program manager role. The position has a bright future in the business market, leveraging high-pay jobs.

Q2. Is a technical program manager a scrum master?

If a technical program manager has an excellent command of scrum execution models, most of them can become scrum masters. It is also a plus point for career growth and promotions within the organization. 

Q3. To whom does the technical program manager report?

The role of a technical program manager includes documenting and reporting complex projects to the head of engineering.

Q4. What is the difference between a technical program manager and a project manager?

The technical program manager’s roles and responsibilities include observing the entire life cycle of the group of projects. In contrast, the project manager is responsible for overseeing and leading an individual project. 

Q5. Is being a technical program manager hard?

The role of a technical program manager is complex, requiring a perfect blend of technical and soft skills. If they have strong knowledge about the field and possess advanced behavioral skills, they can conquer the project in a blink, making it easy to handle their role.

Last updated on: 
February 9, 2024
Author

Swaminathan Iyer

Product @ Interview Kickstart | Ex Media.net | Business Management - XLRI Jamshedpur. Loves building things and burning pizzas!

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