Entry-level product managers are part of the team at a company that lays out the strategy to put out new products. They identify holes in the market and fill consumer demand with new products that the customer will value. In this article, we’ll look at how you can get entry-level product manager jobs, what the role requires, and where your career can go from there.
What Is Product Management and Why Is It Important?
Product management is the foundation of a company’s daily operation. These managers research, construct, and play out their vision and strategy for creating and releasing a well-positioned product. It is this product roadmap that the manager passes on to other product management team members, such as engineers and designers.
What Is the Job Outlook for Product Management?
The US Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) doesn’t track product manager jobs specifically, but includes them under jobs in advertising and marketing management. Jobs in that field are expected to grow by 10 percent between 2020 and 2030, which is slightly faster than the national average for all occupations.
Top Reasons to Pursue a Career in Product Management
- A project management career will build your problem-solving, communication, and decision-making skills, making you a strong leader.
- Working in product management will give you a great sense of fulfillment because the job revolves around using product strategy to solve problems for the consumer.
- This career path grants you access to communicate with the organization’s top leadership, which will help you make connections. It could also help you land a promotion.
- Working as a product manager will teach you to be more flexible and adaptable, which will help you prioritize and execute tasks quickly.
- Product management is a lucrative career, so you’ll have the financial resources to pursue your goals and interests outside of work.
What Does an Entry-Level Product Manager Do?
An entry-level product manager gathers all data concerning a company’s product from various sources, such as industry analysis. Then, they schedule the tasks needed to fulfill the product life cycle and delegate those tasks to the appropriate departments and personnel.
They monitor the process, ensuring that the final product aligns with the organization’s product vision, and make sure the product launches on time. Designing the right product requirements to help the item succeed requires many types of skills, from business acumen to collaboration skills for when you communicate with actual customers.
Types of Entry-Level Product Management Roles
Junior Product Manager
Junior product managers are managers who have knowledge of basic economic sciences, and technical and engineering training. They conduct research and identify and communicate consumers’ needs to the product team and product leader throughout the development process.
Associate Product Manager
The core responsibility of this manager is to support the product manager by collecting relevant product data through market research and by analyzing user experience. He also looks at quantitative data to come up with effective ways to develop the product features that consumers want.
Product Management Director
A product management director supervises the entire process from product vision through to the official product launch. They oversee product planning, define the product’s features, approve the design, and ensure that the result aligns with the company’s goals.
Common Responsibilities of Entry-Level Product Management Jobs
- Use communication skills to collaborate with the product team
- Design product roadmap to match company strategy
- Liaise with customers to gather feedback
- Set product objectives in line with company vision
- Cooperate with team members in other product roles to ensure delivery of quality features and the product at the estimated time.
How Much Do Entry-Level Product Manager Jobs Pay?
According to Payscale, people in entry-level product management positions make an average salary of $71,584 per year. Your annual salary will depend on several factors, such as experience level, education path, and your specific job responsibilities.
Entry-Level Product Management Jobs That Pay the Most: Overview
|Job||Average Salary||Min. Education/ Training||Associated Mid and Senior Roles|
|Chief product officer||$204,264||Bachelor’s or master’s degree in a relevant field||Product specialist, product lead|
|Product director/ group product manager||$175,942||Bachelor’s or master’s degree in a relevant field||CPO officer, junior product manager|
|Head of product||$165,780||Bachelor’s or master’s degree in a relevant field||Lead CPO officer, senior product manager|
|Product lead/lead product manager||$155,012||Bachelor’s or master’s degree in a relevant field||Head of product, associate product manager|
|Senior product manager||$146,585||Bachelor’s or master’s degree in a relevant field||Chief product officer, associate product manager|
|Entry-level product manager||$126,261||Bachelor’s degree in a relevant field||Head of product, junior product manager|
|Product manager||$113,446||Bachelor’s degree in a relevant field||Product specialist, junior-level manager|
|Associate product manager||$82,473||Bachelor’s degree in a relevant field||Lead product manager, entry-level manager|
|Junior product manager||$70,471||Bachelor’s degree in a relevant field||Product director, senior product manager|
Best Entry-Level Product Management Jobs: A Closer Look
Chief Product Officer
This is an executive level product manager role. CPOs coordinate other product managers and handle problems in the production process as they arise. Major product decisions including the final vision, budget, and additional product features are made by the CPO. They enjoy a pleasant work-life balance and a very high salary.
- Oversee product development
- Coordinate other product managers
- Assess product goals and results
Product Director/Group Product Manager
This is a hybrid role. Product directors function as both a player and coach simultaneously. This is because they lead and manage product teams which handle a specific group of products. They manage the personnel needed for each team.
Product Director Responsibilities
- Lead specific product teams
- Manage and supervise personnel that are part of the product teams
- Make individual contributions to each team
Head of Product
The head of product executes tasks based on instructions from the CPO. They relay product information and needs to the product director, product lead, and other top managers. You will need a solid understanding of the basics of product strategy to succeed in this role.
Head of Product Responsibilities
- Coordinate other senior product managers
- Communicates product value needs to subordinates
- Relays production information from CPO
Product Lead/Lead Product Manager
The role of a product lead varies from one organization to another. Most of the time, they serve almost the same role as a product manager. They oversee product managers and mentor them through the production process. In large companies, they drive the development of new products. This often means employers want candidates with industry experience.
Product Lead Manager Responsibilities
- Drive development of new products that will appeal to prospective users
- Mentor product managers
- Manage leaders along the product process
Senior Product Manager
Senior product managers have 6 to 10 years of experience in corporate supervisory and product management roles. This type of product manager is responsible for building and implementing the necessary product strategies that are in line with the company’s product line and vision.
Senior Product Manager Responsibilities
- Oversee implementation of product strategies
- Collaborate with top management to create of product framework
- Supervise retrieval and analysis of customer feedback
Entry-Level Product Manager
This entry-level job is usually occupied by fresh graduates who have little or no professional experience, but understand industry fundamentals. They work for a company’s product department, focusing on what products or product features may satisfy the consumer. This low-pressure role comes with a decent work-life balance and a competitive salary.
Entry-Level Product Manager Responsibilities
- Collaborate with the product team on product definition
- Set product objectives
- Communicate with customers to get feedback
Product managers identify the needs of customers and draft the roadmap to create a product that meets their needs. They spearhead the work of the product development teams and see the process all the way through to the product launch stage. In most organizations, they have more product design knowledge than the junior product managers and rank higher than them.
Product Manager Responsibilities
- Identify customer needs
- Draft product roadmap towards product creation
- Lead product teams through the production process
Associate Product Manager
This is another position for people who are new to the field. In larger companies, this might be treated as a role for rotational apprentices. The associate product manager carries out very similar activities to that of the entry-level product manager. You might communicate with users from time to time and help design larger product objectives.
Associate Product Manager Responsibilities
- Work hand-in-hand with product manager
- Communicate product ideas to product managers and relevant departments
- Supervise the product idea generation phase
Junior Product Manager
In this role, it is expected that you will already have some basic product knowledge and work experience, so you likely won’t receive as much hands-on training as an associate product manager. You will operate as part of the product development team. To get this position, you will need to have relevant experience in engineering, business, or design.
Junior Product Manager Responsibilities
- Communicate product ideas to product teams
- Help the associate product manager
- Conduct product research
What Types of Companies Hire Entry-Level Product Managers?
Entry-level product managers can work for an engineering team, in medicine, manufacturing, tech, and many other fields. Entry-level product managers are in high demand. This is because their input in commercial and technical product design is crucial to product development in many industries.
Career Progression: Mid- and Senior-Level Product Management Roles
Mid-Level Product Management Jobs
- Average salary: $61,004
- Related entry-level roles: Product manager, senior manager
- Responsibilities: Monitor product development, determine product’s future direction
International Product Manager
- Average salary: $115,919
- Related entry-level roles: Group product manager, associate product designer
- Responsibilities: Handle decision-making regarding product features, communicate with companies across borders
Product Success Manager
- Average salary: $90,166
- Related entry-level roles: Junior product manager, associate product manager
- Responsibilities: Develop brand loyalty, promote customer retention
- Average salary: $55,549
- Related entry-level roles: Junior product designer, brand manager.
- Responsibilities: Inform customers and solve problems through artistic designs
- Average salary: $62,979
- Related entry-level roles: Production designer, product specialist
- Responsibilities: Create product brand, establish brand guidelines for the organization
Senior-Level Product Management Jobs
Senior Director Customer Experience
- Average salary: $159,148
- Related entry-level roles: Product specialist, brand manager
- Responsibilities: Deal with customer complaints and requests, resolve product issues, communicate with stakeholders
Senior Production Manager
- Average salary: $101,334
- Related entry-level roles: Product specialist, brand manager
- Responsibilities: Create and track production schedules, organize product releases, direct production activities
Customer Success Manager
- Average salary: $75,953
- Related entry-level roles: Customer service manager, Chief Product officer
- Responsibilities: Assist customers with product setup, offer tips on product usage
Senior Product Designer
- Average salary: $131,687
- Related entry-level roles: Product designer, brand manager
- Responsibilities: Propose product ideas to management, execute research on product structure and technology
- Average salary: $68,587
- Related entry-level roles: Production specialist, sales expert
- Responsibilities: Identify product improvement opportunities, set and adjust sales goals
How to Get a Job in Product Management
If you are looking to get a product manager position, you should consider attending a bachelor’s or master’s degree program in the field. Once you’ve obtained the applicable skills and certificates required for the role, you will be ready to enter the job market.
Required Skills for an Entry-Level Product Manager Job
- Strategic thinking: This is a very important skill in the field of product management. You will need to be able to brainstorm solutions to complex problems.
- Prioritization: This skill comes in handy as a product manager because you’ll be focusing on many things at once.
- Communication: As a product manager, you will need to communicate daily with either customers or your product team. Good oral and written communication skills will be necessary.
- Technical skills: Technical knowledge in design, engineering, analytics, or even a software engineering background will be useful, especially if you go for a technical product manager job.
- Leadership skills: You need leadership skills to be able to make decisions and direct product teams. If you’re a good leader, you’ll gain respect from your colleagues and will be more productive in the end.
Top Certifications for Entry-Level Product Managers
- Agile Certified Product Manager and Product Owner: This Agile CPM course from the Association of International Product Marketing & Management is a top-rated product management course that will give you a clear understanding of how to develop, launch, and market a product.
- Brand and Product Management: This certificate program from Coursera shows you how to assess viable formats and product styles, and create plans to launch a product.
- Product Management Certification: This training program from Product School will help you develop and maintain digital products. It highlights common product management issues and how to solve them through user testing and prototyping.
- Technical Product Manager Certification: This product management course from Product Management HQ teaches basic product management methods and tools such as data security, product analytics, and many others.
- One Week PM: This is one of the most sought-after certifications for beginners in product management. It specializes in teaching practical execution of product management skills, and other basic methodologies of the job.
Can You Get an Entry-Level Product Management Job with a Coding Bootcamp?
Yes. Coding and other technical skills will give you an advantage over other applicants if you’re trying to enter the product management field. It is advisable that you register for a top coding bootcamp to get prepared for a successful product manager career if you want to work with technical products or for a tech company.
Top Product Management Bootcamps
Best Resources for Product Management
Product Faculty is a training community and bootcamp. It offers advanced online teaching in product management concepts and tools. The focus is on product growth, hiring, and UX foundations.
BrainStation offers online and in-person courses and bootcamps for entry-level product managers in several major US cities. At Brainstation, you can learn about product discovery, and how to launch, test, and price a product.
Product gym offers lifetime memberships, product management training, and career support resources. Members have the opportunity to learn both soft skills and technical skills that are essential to the product management field. They will study UX, how to interview consumers, and more.
Is a Career in Product Management for You?
If you are passionate about product development and have an eye for design and a knack for problem-solving and customer satisfaction, then you should go for a job in product management. All you need to get started is a bachelor’s degree, the appropriate certifications, and the right soft skills.
Entry-Level Product Management Jobs FAQ
Product managers are responsible for creating a product strategy, and seeing it through until the final product is released to the consumer. To do this, they collect customer feedback, track other relevant products, lead cross-functional teams, and more.
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You will need to have a bachelor’s degree in business, marketing, economics, advertising, or communications. You will also likely need a relevant certification to start working. Any product management experience you have, including internships, will be helpful.
People who land a job in product management are very well-paid. The average salary of a PM is $113,446, according to Glassdoor. If you work as a technical product manager for a tech company, you’re likely to receive an even higher salary.
Based on the great responsibility that product managers take on, the role can be stressful. But if this is your dream job and you have all the relevant skills, the stress shouldn’t hold you back. Many product managers experience job satisfaction.
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