I began my career as a control systems engineer for petro/oil/chemical/cement plants (handled everything from meeting the customer in the field, gathering input, setting up meetings with different module owners to get buy-in, design, dev, testing and handing over the final system to the customer).
Then I switched to signal processing and got an MS and PhD in video compression. I've been working as an R&D engineer for > 2 years been handling large feature requests each taking close to 2 months (again - gather requests from product managers, design, develop, reviews, unit tests, integration, coordinate with QA, bug reports, etc). Though we are head-quartered in NY, our team is spread around the world and I coordinate daily with several teams to get my work through.
I am considering shifting to a program/product manager role and I would like some advice with this. I enjoy innovating and coming up with solution to tough engineering problems, and I often find myself drawn into big-picture discussions and volunteering my opinions on product plans while talking to managers.
My company doesn't have any PM/TPM roles (only Senior Engr., Staff Engr. Principal Engr., Manager, Director, VP, etc.) - so my search will most likely have to be outwards.
I am looking into firms in other domains too - problem is that I am mostly a C, C++, MATLAB, scripting (bash, python) sorta engineer with lots of experience in Agile methodologies and tools that a CS company should be using (version control, bug reporting, code inspection, profiling, etc.). Apart from my writing my own websites in HTML and CSS/ or using Wordpress (with some PHP coding), I have very little experience in mobile technologies or the web stack.
How do I make this switch? Do I need to get a certification first? Any suggestion will help me greatly. Thanks!
Sorry if this question has been asked before!