For being a better programmer there are ways to get started like:

  1. Get some open source project and start contributing to it.
  2. Solve some Project Euler or Yodacode Excercise.

But if someone wants to move in the direction of Project/Product Management then in what direction he/she should move and what available options are out there to get started in that direction.


I mid level Programmer with 3 yrs of Programming Experience and I want to get started in Project Management/Product Management Role but my resume shows programming experience and so my question is how to break into Project/Product Management line with 3 yrs of Programming Experience.

Do we have similar options available for Project/Product Management as we have for Programming like one's mentioned above ?

I know it's chicken and egg situation but what is the best way to get out of it ?

  • 5
    Project mgmt versus product mgmt are two entirely different ball games. Commented Jan 25, 2011 at 20:04
  • @S.Lott - This was in error, initially I had put question on Stackoverflow and then thought that it was not right place and so published question here at Programmers and then tried to delete the question from Stackoverflow but was not allowed to do so and so then tried to delete question from Programmers but was not allowed to do so. My intend was not to enter same question on multiple sites, multiple times.
    – Rachel
    Commented Jan 25, 2011 at 21:51

5 Answers 5


When you get 5+ years of experience, and can demonstrate ability in Project Management activities (i.e. supervising others, making Gantt charts, etc.) then I would imagine that employers will see you as a natural fit for an entry-level PM position.


Three years are too few. The rule of thumb is 10,000 hours to perfect a skill. That's closer to five years.

What will happen -- in the normal course of events -- is that you will be trusted with more and more responsibility.

At some point, you will be managing projects whether you want to or not.

  • Gaining experience in programming is irrelevant to those careers paths. Normally to get into project management, you become a project analyst first.
    – UK-AL
    Commented Oct 27, 2013 at 19:51

First off, as has been mentioned in the comments, you've mashed together two really different things. There are several similar terms:

  1. Project Management is a tactical function in which you manage the execution of individual projects to completion
  2. Program Management is a strategic function which you not only manage a program consisting of multiple projects, but also decide which projects to do
  3. Product Management is a marketing function that has nothing to do with projects

As you can imagine, project management and program management are related, and there's a career path from project management into program management. If you like either of those, you might consider getting an MBA with a focus in project management. Typing "project management MBA" into your search engine of choice will give you lots of options.

If you'd rather do product management, you might consider doing an MBA with a focus on marketing. There seems to be very few MBA programs with a specific emphasis on product management.


3 years of programming and you dont want to work any more?:)

If you are anything like 80% of work force, at 3 years you have only scratched the surface. I would say a good start would be get to into a larger program if you aren't in one already. If it is a programmer role, so be it. Invariably, some of the management tasks will get delegated to you in larger programs. Make sure you volunteer for tasks outside of your core competence, like say testing.

Stuff like PMI will look good on your resume. Infact, it may even help you lap a PM job offer. To be a successful at it though, you will need varied and wide experience.


Well there's the Project Management Institute which offers suggestions on how to start, what to read, what's available, what they accept and how to get there. There is a bit of a chicken and egg situation you need experience to get the designation, and the designation to get a job (and therefore experience).

In many ways you can follow PMI practices on small projects (your own, open source, at work) which'll help you learn and work towards the project management goal.

  • Just to clarify, PMI does not require experience as a PM to get their designation.
    – Marcie
    Commented Jan 25, 2011 at 20:42

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