I would like to know that how I can climb up the ladder in Project Management. Right now I am new in PM and had 2 years of Software Development experience in my back.

To be honest, I want to become the SVP/VP/CTO of some company someday. I possess Master of Science in Management and Bachelor of Engineering in Comp Sc. Is my path towards my goal is correct?

What do I like: I like PM so far. Its challenging and you see more client side of view rather than Visual Studio 2010 all day. I like Software and LOVE it die hard. Like how new technologies emerge in coming days and want to update myself everyday with it.

I want some key advice from experienced PM`s here. Thanks!

4 Answers 4


There is no one path to becoming a Chief Technical Officer (CTO) or Senior Vice President (SVP). Case in point, I'm just about to take a CTO position and my personal history looks like this: BA in English, then BA in Business Organization, MA in English, PhD in English with 18 years in development and project management concurrently with those latter degrees, and I haven't even sat for my PMP certification exam yet.

So, while your degrees will provide you with a great foundation of knowledge to perform well in your jobs, don't think they're automatic qualifiers. You must still do something with that knowledge, over time. Usually a lot of time.

One of those things is to gather enough experiences over time to be able to bring together a deep knowledge of business with a deep knowledge of technology, because as an executive position in a company, the person will be driving the technological strategy in order to align with overall business goals both now and into the future.

In general, I like to use Peter Kretzman's short post "Career tips for the CTO/CIO path" because it highlights the non-specific steps along the way, such as:

  • Get broad (gather a LOT of related knowledge, either formally or
  • Get mentored (there are experts inside and outside your company: find them)
  • Get involved (in internal and external areas of the business)
  • Keep up ("It’s a fire hose out there, trained at your eyeball." is my favorite line. Take a look at answers to "What magazine / journal / paper would you subscribe?" for how some people here at PM SE stay informed in at least a few areas of their jobs)

Whatever the path you take, just keep moving it forward -- including failing forward (making mistakes and learning from them)!

  • Thanks! That was very informative. I will def consider it...I am just learning and growing more in PM and overall execution of business.
    – RG-3
    Commented Mar 15, 2012 at 16:43
  • Damn good advice!
    – MathAttack
    Commented Mar 27, 2012 at 2:05

Get good at results. Not technology, not process, not eCommerce, not social media, but results.

The CEO hires a CTO to get things done. It's the results that matter. All the tools, technology and process just support this.


An alternative path is doing your own thing - or signing on to work for a startup. This means you don't really follow the credentialed path & can highlight your actual work, as well being able to solve exciting new challenges. This isn't for everyone - and if you're trying to climb the corporate ladder then certifications go a long, long way as well as networking. But this might be of interest to you if you're considering the alternative -



Foolproof process to becoming a CTO/VP/SVP:

  1. Have a great idea.
  2. Start a company with a business-oriented friend.
  3. Be successful.
  4. TA-DA, you're whatever you want to name yourself now.

Seriously, traditional Project Management will be long dead in software development by the time you will be old enough to climb the corporate ladder this high. It is right now being replaced by agile methods everywhere. Better learn them now.

  • 1
    I'm afraid I can't see traditional PM dying on the short term. Besides, is there any proof that knowing Agile would help the topic starter to climb this ladder? If so, share some links on it.
    – Tiago Cardoso
    Commented Mar 27, 2012 at 2:57

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