Inside Software Manager Careers

Things you need to know, but nobody tells you

Biggest Surprises

"The Importance Of Our Position...
I am surprised about how important our position is in the company. With one mistake we can end the company the next day." (Engineering Supervisor II; 2013)

Career: 3 years of experience, currently based in Wyoming, male
School: Studied Program Management With An IT Background at Western Governors University in Utah; completed Bachelor degree in 2006

"Wide Range Of Necessary Skills...
For the particular company I work for, it surprised me the broad range of knowledge it required and that I have acquired. Beyond your typical IT stuff, I've gained a lot of specific knowledge and skills involving the newspaper industry, the USPS, various software systems and SQL." (Software Specialist; 2014)

Career: 14 years of experience, currently based in Tennessee, male
School: Studied Computer Science at Walter State Community College in Tennessee; completed Associate degree in 2001

"Speed Of Technology Evolution And Acceptance By Users...
the pace of evolution (technology) and how users / co-workers adapt (or lack thereof) to the pace of change" (Director Quality Assurance IT; 2014)

Career: 13 years of experience, currently based in Kansas, female
School: Studied Management Information Technology / IT at University Of Missouri, Kansas City in Missouri; completed Master degree in 2000

"Tech Skills Don't Necessarily Get You Ahead...
1. The promotion is based on business and personal skills, not professional/technical skills 2. Since I've started my career, advent of offshoring changed the whole career ladder and my goals" (Software Manager; 2013)

Career: 23 years of experience, currently based in Virginia, male
School: Studied Technical Management at Johns Hopkins University in Maryland; completed Master degree in 2003

"I was surprised to learn how fast technology changes, develops, and evolves in my career field. It can quickly become overwhelming to consider how much there is to continually learn. To stay effective, you need to prioritize the areas of your study and research. Otherwise, the amount of knowledge to master is too much to assimilate." (Software Engineering Manager; 2013)

Career: 22 years of experience, currently based in Utah, male
School: Studied Computer Science at Utah State University in Utah; completed Master degree in 1998

Best & Worst Things About This Career

Software Program Manager: "One of best parts of my career is that the work is diverse and interesting. Although there are similar tasks to do each day, the work itself is always changing. My software product itself is interesting to work on, which keeps things fresh. I also get to do many special projects as a senior manager, which also keeps things changing and interesting. Of course, another thing I like is that I am paid well. The worst part of the job is generally that there is always stress. The computer software business is a high pressure environment where there are always deadlines to meet and difficult challenges to overcome." (2011)

Manager Of Small Software Company: "the best parts of the job are product development and design, working with new technology, working with other technical people, my flexible schedule and the rapid completion of projects. The not so hot parts of the job are the sometimes long hours and sometimes rocky finances and having to do stuff, on occasion, that in a larger company someone else would do." (2010)

Career Background

Software Manager

  Job Tasks
  Work Environment
  How to Prepare for the Job
  Job Outlook

Career Tips

"Always Be Open For Change, Never Stop Asking Questions...
never stop learning new skills as evolution will outpace you. Always ask questions to understand the how and why of a process being modeled by technology" (Director Quality Assurance IT; 2014)

"Get Your Foot In The Door In IT...
If you want to get into the IT field, education is important, but getting into the business in an entry level is a good way to get your foot in the door. IT allows for those with skill, knowledge and a desire to learn to advance because you very often get the chance to display your skills." (Software Specialist; 2014)

"How To Succeed...
My tip would be to learn as much as you can and make mistakes along the way. If you are afraid of making mistakes you will not learn as quickly or have the confidence to succeed. I would also recommend volunteering for more projects then have been assigned to you, not only will you learn from them but it looks good on you for commitment and willingness to succeed." (Engineering Supervisor II; 2013)

"PMP Certification...
Anyone who wants to go into program management should get a BS or BA degree and then pursue a Project Management Professional certification. The degree might be in Business or Computer Science. It would pay to take elective coursework in negotiation and collaboration, to learn how to work with people. Lastly, I would suggest doing an internship at an office-based business to get work experience on your resume. You can also do volunteer work for organizations, helping with business oriented tasks as a means of getting more experience." (Software Program Manager; 2011)

"Trust Me On This...
With any small tech company follow the advice below. Just trust me on this: 1. Don't be afraid to bail. 2. Keep your home finances manageable so you can exit and survive for a few months without a job. 3. Always try and get some stock (or options) in the company. 4. The person who is running your company has no idea what he or she is doing, but that may not matter. 5. Making rapid bad decisions is almost always better than delaying a decision. 6. Pay your taxes." (Manager Of Small Software Company; 2010)