Wondering if it is a good way to shift from programming into project management by taking a project certificate like Stanford Advanced Project Management Certificate? Any ideas would be appreciated?


6 Answers 6


The Stanford Advanced Project Management Certificate is a great certificate for Project Managers to excel their Project Management skills.

Nevertheless, as said in the actual tittle, this is an Advanced Certificate thus a solid background or working experience in Project Management is required. I really don't know if as a programmer you have been involved in projects at all or your level of understanding on this field so I can't advise properly.

If you would like to start from scratch in Project Management I would recommend you to take a more generic training like PRINCE2 Foundation and Practitioner, with this training you will gain solid knowledge about Project Management and everything that surrounding a project regardless of your background.

You can see other suggestions from SE users here.


I used to work as a programmer, and then I became a Team Lead/ PM. I wouldn't recommend to start your journey in project management by passing any exam at all. I would advise reading books, blogs and articles and learning by doing.

If you have a boss - ask him to let you manage a project. If you don't have a boss find a pet project where you can try your management skills. If you have problems with both try find a project somewhere else - in your real life. Organize a holiday trip for a group of friends - if you think, that it is easy - the better for you. Practise.

You can read more about this kind of approach here


It's going to take a combination of the answers above - training, experience, reading others, and starting with a field you're already somewhat familiar with. Training alone won't do it, that's all theory. Experience alone won't do it (although it will get closer), as you're limited to your own experience. Reading - same pitfall as training. Starting with afield you're already familiar with gives you an advantage as you already know most of the processes and terminology, so you're not trying to learn pm AND a new domain/context.

So really, it's start doing it, and learn from as many sources as possible.


Nothing compensates experience. As all others before me have said, you would want to do the following:

  1. Work with your line manager (if you have one) and ask him if you could assist him in his project management on top of your regular work : that will help you get some hands-on knowledge of project management

  2. A certificate from PMI (PMP) helps you take a project and run it in your organization. It is widely practiced here in India. PMP qualified programmers / leads are often given the chance to manage a small project

  3. Learn the different methodlogies / frameworks of project management: A PMP certificate , PRINCE2, SCRUM/AGILE would take you through the next steps

  4. Once having had a few years of experience managing projects, you would be better able appreciate what the Stanford program provides. Because, this program is essentially for managers who would be managing complex projects and/or large programs/portfolios where strategy , cross cultural experience, change management, customer relationship management , advanced finance management topics would be of use and relevance.

All the very best, hope I havent confused you here :)


I'd recommend to start with something more programming-specific, like RUP, or MSF, or Scrum certifications.


Most PMs I know have gotten there by soon the PM work when nobody else wanted. Maybe people didn't like travel, working with testers, or whatever was peculiar to the situation. They didn't get it by certification.

Good PMs stay busy by word of mouth.

I have interviewed a lot of candidates weak on PM skills. I told HR to only pass on people with certification. They were no better. In the end, people become good PMs by struggling through tough projects, and then reflecting.

Coursework is nice, especially you are curious, but it's no silver bullet.

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