Product Management is an interesting career path with exciting opportunities, hence, making it a great career decision. Product managers are in high demand and it is one of the top-paid skills alongside designers and engineers in tech.
The average salary of a Product manager in the United States according to Indeed is $114508. Aside from the salary, it is an exciting career path to build a usable impactful product that serves people’s needs and pain points.
Let’s take a look at what it takes to be a product manager and the skills required.
Ready to learn all it takes? Then, let’s dive in!
What is Product Management?
According to Productplan, product management is the practice of strategically driving the development, market launch, and continual support and improvement of a company’s products.
Product management at its core, is a problem-solving function in every organization. It involves working in the interjection of business, design, and technology with a wide variety of strategic and tactical duties such as user research, data analysis, identifying and developing product ideas, and others.
What does a Product Manager do?
A product manager is a problem solver and idea generator who works at the intersection of business, design and technology. They are the middlemen between the designers and engineers. Overall, they are tasked to actively interprete company’s business goals to the team and report on product development efforts to the executives.
According to the Standford University Product Management Program, great product managers own every stage of a product’s lifecycle, from ideation to product requirements and launch. They balance customer needs, production capabilities, and business profitability. Product managers make decisions at each step along the way, and are the backbone of a product’s success, and ultimately, of the company’s success.
Product managers are an asset to any organization interested in building technology-enabled products. As a result, they can work in any industry or sector. From health to education, agriculture, finance, climate and renewable energy, and others.
A real product manager is someone that loves solving producing and inspiring actions.
Skills that Make You a Perfect Fit for a Product Manager Role
The following skills make it easy to transition into Product management:
#1 Leadership Skill
Product managers are product advocates and are responsible for building a cooperative team to deliver on product development. If you have acted or led teams in the past and can easily influence others you are a great fit as a product manager. For instance, leadership skill is greatly needed by the product manager to communicate product vision to the product team and senior leadership, also, other stakeholders need to be communicated to clearly. Product managers support other team members by inspiring them to work passionately with a commitment to product delivery.
#2 Communication Skills
Every good product manager must be able to communicate clearly to designers, engineers, salespeople, data analysts, users, customers and leadership. Product management is also a people function where you are required to constantly communicate with others. If you are a good communicator in both verbal and written communication, there is a great opportunity for you to succeed as a product manager.
#3 Project Management
Product management and project management are not the same, but if you have initiated, designed, developed and implemented a project from the beginning to the end before, you will be a very good product manager. Your project management skill is a great transferable asset in building workable products in any organization.
#4 Product Design
Designers are essential team members of a product team. As a designer, you have the skills and experience to function optimally as a product manager. Your design skills are applicable in product management including user research skills and defining user persona.
#5 Software Development
As an engineer interested in transitioning into product management, your technical skills are very important in building products. I think that software engineers make some of the best product managers because of their technical background.
#6 Data Analytics
Every decision is based on data. Data analytics is a core skill for a product manager. If you transition from Data science to product management, you are a great fit and an important asset to a product team and the organization.
#7 Sales and Marketing
With a sales and marketing background, you have a practical knowledge of user behaviours and the motivations for their buying decisions. As a sales person, you can easily sell your ideas to users during user interviews, and to stakeholders during stakeholder engagement. Additionally, you can readily understand what to prioritise during product development
#8 Business Developer
As a business developer, you can easily transition and function optimally as a product manager. If you have worked on business expansion and customer acquisition before the transition, you have transferable knowledge relevant to product development.
Product Management Courses
There are various places and platforms to learn product management online. Below are some of the best you can learn from anywhere in the world:
1. Product Management Course by General Assembly
General Assembly is one the best schools to learn Product management. They offer a paid immersive product management certification course. The program has an intensive one-week learning or a ten-week flexible learning option.
The 1 week learning pathway involves you attending classes from 9 am to 5 pm Monday to Friday and the part-time option involves 4 hours a week spread across 2 days in the week within 10 weeks.
Any of the schemes provide applicable product management skills. You will skills, such as design, research, agile methodology, and technology for Product management, including stakeholder management. There is also a practical case study to develop your portfolio.
2. Product School, Product Manager Certification
Another excellent product management course is the Product School Product Manager Certification. This course provides you with all the skills you need to land your product management role.
On full-time training, it takes 5 days to complete the course and 8 weeks to complete the part-time training.
This is a paid course that will cost you $ 4.499, designed on a cohort basis. The training is led by some of the most successful product managers in the world by a senior Silicon Valley PM.
3. Become a Product Manager Course By Great Learning
Grear Learning offers a comprehensive certification course on product management for free. You can start learning product management by taking the Become a Product Manager free course on their platform.
It is a self-paced course that requires at least 2 hours of your time and you can a lifetime access to lectures. It covers the evolution of Product management and other skills that will help you succeed as a product manager.
4. Product Management Program By Career Foundry
Career Foundry offer the Become a Product Manager course by helping you gain practical knowledge through rigorous education in learning research, building documentation and Product roadmaps, prototyping, as well as managing teams and working with AI with a life curriculum access.
The program comes with the option to learn 30 to 40 hours a week for 3 months or 15 to 20 hours a week for 6 months. It is aimed at beginners who want to emerge as job-ready product managers with no prior product experience. Also, it offers dedicated support that guides you through your journey, while helping you hone the skills and tools like a professional product manager.
The total cost of the program is $6,900 with an option for location pricing.
5. Product Management Fundamentals By Entry Level
If you are looking for a comprehensive yet affordable product Management certification, then Entry Level Product Management Fundamentals is the great course for you. The total cost for this certificate is $300 with lifetime access.
The course teaches how to understand customer problems, validate ideas, prioritise features and more. You will learn about product management, product discovery, issues and market validation, estimation, and working with engineers and designers including other stakeholders. Additionally, they share strategies to pivot easily and access your first internship and jobs including a supportive community with learning accountability partners.
6. Become a Product Manager: A Complete Guide
Become a Product Manager a complete guide Product Management certification program is certified by the International Institute for Business Analysis (IIBA). You can take this course on Udemy or LinkedIn Learning. If you are a LinkedIn premium subscriber you can readily access the course for free.
The course is offered by Cole Mercer and Evan Kimbrell. At the end of the course, you will understand Different types of product manager roles, the major phases of the product lifecycle, Lean, agile, scrum, and Kanban, Finding and Monitoring Competitors, and customer development. Additionally, you will also learn designing and running experiments, Wireframing and Working with stakeholders
The above is a few out of many, you can find different product management courses on Coursera and other Learning platforms.
Product Management FAQs
What is The Career Path to Becoming a Product Manager?
Product Managers come from various backgrounds. It is an interdisciplinary role that is a combination of strategy, and business. design, leadership, project management and the development and launch of usabl and downloadable products.
Anybody can become a product manager, in as much you are committed to putting the work first by getting the education and learning the core skills of product management.
Is Product Management a Good Career Choice?
Product Management is an exciting and fulfilling career, but it depends on your interest and your career goals. It is a high-demand role needed in all industries and technology businesses. It has diverse opportunities and a great impact on technology organizations.
According to LinkedIn Product Management is one of the most sought-after career paths in the last 5. years. In every job board both remotely and onsite, companies and start-ups are constantly seeking, product managers.
A Product manager is an important and relevant team member who helps organizations solve real-time problems for their users. It is a fulfilling career choice with an exciting opportunity to grow from Associate product manager to VP of Product in different technology companies.
How do I switch to a product manager career?
Your previous role and sector greatly influenced your ability to easily Switch to Product management. If you have worked in different functions in a technology company, the best way to switch is to network within your organization. Start shadowing what the product managers are doing in your organization. Likewise, get certification and ask for opportunities to implement what you have learned within the organization.
If you are coming from another industry and have never been in tech, get an MBA or take any of the product management certification courses online. Also, boot camps and apprenticeships offer great learning and work placement.
Getting into Product management is not easy but is possible. As you are working on switching to product management have a clear goal in what domain you are interested in. Identify your transferable skills like strategy and project management. Aggressively build your portfolio while sharing your learning experience online.
What is the best way to learn Product Management?
There is no size-fit way to learn product management. However, before you go deeply into product management, I suggest you read the book INSPIRED: How to Create Tech Products that Customers Love by Marty Cane. The book will help you understand if product management is the right career path for you.
Next is to take a certification course. Read case studies, listen to Product podcasts, and develop PRDs. Also, research and read available resources that will help you have the deep knowledge to develop your portfolio. Lastly, prepare yourself, and apply for roles to land your first entry-level role as a product intern or Associate Product Manager.
Product management is an exciting and fulfilling career. Every great product manager finds fulfillment in building products that work and bring great profit to the organization. However, it is not going to be easy. Like every other new adventure, it will require a lot of learning as well as practice to become an expert and great product manager.
Also, seek mentors, accountability partners, and industry leaders to network and learn. Don’t be shy to ask the hard but sometimes foolish questions. Continuously read, learn, research, and practice. And, in no time, you will see yourself in the leagues of top product manager professionals working in some of the leading technology companies in the world.