If you want to learn How to become a product manager and oversee companies selling products, there are many ways you can take them.
Product managers work for technology companies, brick-and-mortar retailers, financial services companies, and other businesses. Their goal is to boost revenue and profits from the products they are responsible for.
Some product managers have a technical background. Others have business experience or a business degree.
This guide explores what you need to know to get started – and to be hired – in this in-demand career.
And to investigate more of these courses and certificate opportunities:
Product management includes development, design, manufacturing, launch, marketing, sales, customer support and improvement of products. Although product managers do not do all of those things themselves. They create an approach to the product, set goals and expectations, and manage the people who run those departments.
“Businesses rely on product management to guide their strategy as it relates to how every major stakeholder contributes to their success or failure,” says Rebecca Rogers Tijerino, president of an HR, employees and recruitment company.
Stakeholders may include senior management, employees, customers, and investors involved in the development of a product.
The daily activities of a product manager may include market research, data collection and analysis, and product design and development. Specific tasks include identifying product opportunities, creating a vision for a new or improved product, developing a strategy to produce a product, launching a new product, tracking product implementation, and customer feedback and user experience data May include analyzing.
In a small company, product managers may be responsible for both high-level strategic vision and individual project tasks. In a large company, they can focus more on strategy and supervise a team that works with most hands.
“Are you leading the development of new, emerging products or services, or are you in charge of guiding the life cycle of existing ones, with product managers providing approaches to create value and strong demand from key customer audiences, “Says Tijerino.
Kate Zsada, a senior product manager at Zapier, says her role “sits at the crossroads of engineering and design.” The company integrates apps so that they work better for businesses.
“I work with our user research team to find out what factors prevent potential customers from signing up,” Zasada says. “Then I, along with our design and engineering team, will consider potential improvements, allowing us to create our product that aligns with our company’s growth strategy.”
Zasada also creates product launch plans that include customer communications and metrics to find out if new features have improved the product.
Product managers require both technical capabilities and interpersonal skills.
The skills required for specific jobs vary, but some core competencies can help in hiring and succeeding as PMs.
Product managers require basic knowledge of business management, product management, business economics, industry and market trends, and product development and design.
They need to know how to set goals, make decisions, prioritize, delegate, work across departments, build teams, collect and analyze data, set key performance indicators and improve products for customers. Use feedback.
Other important skills include strategic thinking, leadership, time management, communication, negotiation, product roadmapping, problem-solving, conflict resolution, and crisis management.
Product managers at tech companies may also require basic computer programming or coding skills.
Formal training is not necessary to become a product manager, but some education or experience in business, technology, or psychology may be helpful.
Some vocational schools offer certifications in product management, with many programs offered online. Coaches may or may currently be involved in executive-level product management roles.
“I would suggest looking at (certificate programs),” Tijerino says. “Even if you have studied product management to some extent in college, learning the most current trends in the discipline is highly recommended.”
Zasada, who has a business degree, made the transition to product management after being hired for a different job.
“The product team needed help understanding the right software to purchase for our volunteer management process,” says Zasada. “I interviewed my volunteer managers and evaluated software options to make an offer. From there, I was able to transition to the product team the whole time.”
Zasada now has eight years of product management experience.
Product management used to be about gut instinct decision making. Today, the region is data-driven. Dozens of tools are available to help PMs collect and analyze data to guide their decisions, including:
- Roadmap software (eg, Aha)
- Survey Tools (eg, Helio, survey Monkey)
- Project management tools (eg, Jira, Trello)
- Programming languages (eg, SQL, Python)
- Statistical computing equipment (eg, R, Google Analytics)
- Wireframing tools (eg, Balsamiq)
- Design or prototype tools (eg, Adobe xd, Figma, Invision, Sketch)
- UX analytics tools (eg, Hotjar, Optimizely, UserTesting)
It is not easy to be hired as a product manager without some relevant experience, so you may need to start in an entry level position in your company and transition to product management. You can work your way up to higher PM positions to gain experience and develop your skills.
Here are some tips to get you started:
Identify a product that you can own from beginning to end. Look for a problem and then design a product to solve it. You do not have to do all the work yourself. As a product manager, you can bring others on board to assist with market research, product design, marketing, etc.
“Put your product skills to work to find a way to launch your own project to gain work skills.” If you are a student, you can do so “by participating in a student organization on campus, helping a non-profit or community organization on a technology project that they are doing, or on a side project Are working. “
Volunteer to take responsibility for PM. Talk to the people in your company and offer to deal with some of the problems they have identified. Ask for feedback and be ready to improve your solution. Volunteering for work that goes beyond your job description helps to show your skills and ability for a PM position.
Create a track record of developing solutions. The development of several products shows that you can win one or more lucky wins as a PM. Be patient with yourself while learning from your mistakes and don’t be shy to share your successes. A mentor or recruiter may notice you and help boost your career.
“Stand out with your accomplishments,” Tijerino says. “Demonstrate the ability to lead your teams to success, even if it is outside of a specific product launch. The team’s success under your leadership can hire managers whom you can interdepartmentally motivate, motivate and cross-pollinate. can do.”
You can use social media or your own blog or YouTube channel to attract recruiters outside your company.
“Show knowledge of your product strategy by tweeting or writing a blog post with a product breakdown. Try to understand the decision behind the product,” says Zsada.
Apply for open PM posts. Once you have a track record of problem-solving success, you can start applying for jobs in product management. You don’t necessarily have the most experience; You need to understand what PMs do and you have the skills to handle the work.
“If you’re trying to move up the ranks in your current company in the role of a product manager, then demonstrate your desire, create a path and look for a mentor who can help you get there,” Tijerino says.
The PM career path starts from an entry-level position like associate product manager and rises up the ranks to senior management positions such as director of product management. Headlines may include product stops, senior product managers, or key product managers along the way.
Some PMs work for companies that sell products to other businesses, while others work for companies that sell products to consumers.
PMs may work for startups, which are usually small companies and may consist mostly of new products, or established companies, which may be large and have at least some mature products.
Product manager positions are not all the same. PMs may specialize in digital products such as software or apps, physical goods such as beauty products or services such as auditing or consulting.
Product managers and project managers may sound similar – or similar – jobs, but these two management roles are actually quite different.
Product managers focus on goods and services that can be sold to customers. Their daily tasks typically include problem-solving, data analysis, product goals, and strategic decision making.
Project managers organize, manage, and track projects to accomplish several steps. Their daily tasks usually involve executing action plans with others. These plans may include deliverables, tasks, resources (equipment, materials, people) and delivery dates or deadlines.
Product managers and project managers can use similar tools to accomplish their goals.
You want to continue your education with online courses, a traditional college degree in business or a technical field, product management certification, or a MBA Program.
If you have at least some experience in management, product development, or product design, an MBA may not need to be hired as a product manager. If you do not have this experience, this degree may open some doors for you and, however, want to step into the role of PM directly. An MBA can also help you excel on the more analytical and business-intensive aspects of product management.
Beyond what you will learn, an MBA program may have internships, mentoring and side projects. When you want to change a job, an MBA can increase your resume, promote or consider for a senior management position like Chief Product Officer.
The more you learn and the more skills you develop, the better you will be for a successful career in product management.
Aspiring product managers can tap into a wealth of resources to learn more about this career.
Here are some suggestions.