Companies are constantly releasing new products into the market, and their success is determined by a number of factors. Corporations use product management teams to monitor these factors and come up with strategies and solutions to maximize each product’s success rate.
If you want to take up a product management role, now is a great time to do so. This guide will show you how to get a job in product management by detailing the necessary skills, educational requirements, and potential salaries.
What Is Product Management?
Product management is a role that involves launching new experiences and products for users. Product managers work at the intersection of engineering, user experience, and business management teams. They are the link that binds these groups together to ensure that the shared product vision is maintained.
Product management also covers the creation of a product, from inception to initial launch. This includes product development and marketing processes. Product managers are in charge of all stages of the product life cycle, including introduction, growth, maturity, and decline.
Product Management Job Outlook
Product management is categorized under similar management roles by the US Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS). Employment in this field is expected to grow by nine percent from 2020 to 2030. BLS also reports that this growth may be driven by the development of new organizations as well as by tech company expansion.
What Education Do I Need to Become a Product Manager?
Most employers require a job candidate to have a bachelor’s degree either in marketing, communications, public relations, statistics, economics, advertising, or management. However, some companies may be willing to hire candidates with the required skills regardless of their educational or technical background if they have relevant experience.
Can I Get a Product Management Job Without a Degree?
Yes, you can get a product management job without a degree. If you don’t have a minimum of a bachelor’s degree, you will want to ensure you have a strong resume that reflects your mastery of relevant product management skills. Attending coding bootcamps and online courses can be a great alternative.
Can a Coding Bootcamp Help Me Get a Job in Product Management?
Yes, a coding bootcamp can help you get a job in product management. The best product management bootcamps offer job-specific training to prepare students for the job market. Classes will cover UX design foundations, market research, and stakeholder management. Bootcamps also use collaborative training to make sure students develop strong teamwork skills.
A bootcamp can help you learn to develop product roadmaps and perform product launches successfully. You also learn how to evaluate results so you can learn from past mistakes. Bootcamps are known for offering affordable tuition and flexible schedules.
How Long Does It Take to Get a Job in Product Management?
It can take up to seven years to get a job in product management, depending on the education path you choose. If you opt for a traditional degree, it can take you up to four years to complete the program and another three to five years to earn professional experience. In addition, you can also opt for an MBA to build your leadership skills and business acumen.
If you attend a bootcamp, you can get an entry-level job in the product management field in much less time. This is possible because bootcamps offer hands-on training that allows students to gain experience and build their portfolios. However, many employers believe strong candidates must hold a degree.
Common Product Management Education Paths
There are a few education paths you can follow if you wish to break into the product management field. The best one for you will depend on your long-term career goals and how much time and resources you wish to spend on your education. Read more about your options below.
Product Management Bootcamp
Product management bootcamps teach students the basics of product strategy, new product development, and the product life cycle. By the end of the program, you will have gained the skills needed to work in an entry-level product manager job. These programs are short and intensive, so you should be ready for the workforce within a few months.
Community colleges offer Associate Degrees in Management and related fields, including business administration, economics, and marketing. Most can be completed in two years if you are a full-time student, and these credits can be transferred to a four-year college if you wish to further your education.
At a community college, students can learn essential aspects regarding the craft of product management. They learn to define the problems a new product will solve and how to map out the customer’s journey. They also learn the basics of product road mapping and prototyping.
Product Management Degrees
Traditional universities and colleges offer bachelor’s degrees in a range of subjects that are useful to a career in product management. These programs take four years to complete if you are a full-time student, and earning degrees can open up more advanced career opportunities.
Students in a bachelor’s degree program will learn useful topics like entrepreneurship, leadership training, project management, online marketing, and prototyping. This will equip you with the necessary knowledge to enter the field.
Key Product Management Skills to List on Your Resume
Like careers in many other sectors, product management requires both soft skills and hard skills, however, soft skills are particularly important to be effective in this role. Below we will detail some of the most important skills you will want to highlight on your resume to impress potential employers.
Product managers need a deep understanding of delegation skills because they oversee the entire product development team. This development team is made up of various experts who are responsible for different areas of the development of a new product.
As a product manager, you should be able to identify the strengths and weaknesses of members of your team. You also need to ensure everyone knows what is expected of them and help team members when necessary without micromanaging.
This core skill is also important for product managers. These experts spend much of their time communicating with team members through product presentations and product meetups, and are also in charge of communicating with clients. As a product manager, you will need to write and speak effectively enough to clearly show your priorities and objectives.
Product managers must also communicate effectively with team members when they offer guidance and direction. This helps ensure that the product development teams stick to a common vision. Without this soft skill, product managers will be unable to perform their major duties.
The ideal product manager will use business skills to develop effective product strategies. They have to consider budgeting, profits, cash flow, loss, and how all these elements will affect a business in the long run.
In addition, business skills are necessary when product managers have to communicate with clients regarding projected and currency revenues. These experts are often in charge of crafting the product development budget.
Where to Find Product Management Jobs
When searching for product management jobs, the first resource most people think of is job sites like Indeed, Ziprecruiter, and Glassdoor. These websites can be very effective in helping you locate jobs in this field. Below we will include some alternative options.
Online job boards such as Indeed, Glassdoor, Monster, LinkedIn, Career Builder, and Flexjobs are a great place to start when you are looking for employment. These sites make it easy to find product management positions as you can filter your experience level and location to find the most suitable job posting for your current abilities.
Forums are also a handy tool to help you in your job search. You can join a forum of like-minded professionals to gain firsthand information about openings in the sector. There are Slack communities for product managers you can join for this purpose.
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Company Career Page
Another less popular way to find a product management job is to search a company’s career page. You can find companies that hire product managers and check their career pages from time to time to see if you can apply for an opening. This is a good method if you have a dream company you wish to work for.
How to Prepare for Your Product Management Interview
In product management interviews the hiring manager will want to ensure you are suited for the full-time product manager role and make sure you have the soft skills required to perform the necessary job duties. Preparing well and gaining basic product knowledge of the company you are interviewing with will help you stand out and ask relevant clarification questions.
Product Management Interview Questions
- What is the role of the product manager in the product development process?
- What motivated you to become a product manager?
- What changes would you make to this sample product to ensure its success?
- Have you ever used data to influence important stakeholders? How did you do it?
The Five Highest-Paying Product Management Jobs
The US Bureau of Labor Statistics reports that most product management jobs have a projected growth rate of nine percent between 2020 and 2030.
|Product Management Jobs||Average Salary||Projected Growth|
|VP Product Management||$159,999||9%|
|Principal Product Manager||$137,500||9%|
|Senior Product Manager||$129,873||9%|
|Group Product Manager||$123,414||9%|
|Software Product Manager||$106,702||9%|
VP Product Management
This is a senior management role. A VP product manager is responsible for creating the product roadmap and leading the team towards achieving strategic product initiatives. They also prepare the technical product vision and direct engineers and developers.
Principal Product Manager
The principal product manager is a product leader with valuable experience and seniority. They are responsible for handling critical and complex aspects of product strategy and vision to ensure it finds success.
Senior Product Manager
The senior product manager has direct authority over other product managers and coordinates with the marketing and engineering teams. They also play a crucial role in developing roadmaps and product requirements. They incorporate feedback into the product’s strategy to help companies achieve their business goals.
Group Product Manager
Group product managers are product leaders that manage cross-functional teams. The role is similar to a player-coach role. This expert is responsible for a group of products and manages and develops people.
Software Product Manager
The software product manager is a strategist who sets the direction for the product. These expert’s core responsibilities include acting as visionaries and as mediators between the leadership team, actual customers, jobs in product marketing, sales, and development team.
Product Management Career Path
When you start out in this field you’ll likely get an entry-level job to help you build product management experience. As time passes, you will gain more practical knowledge in your current company and can advance to the mid-level roles before reaching the senior roles. Here are some jobs that are suitable for each stage.
Entry-Level Product Management Jobs
- Junior Product Owner – This expert identifies the needs of the client and clearly transmits them to the team. They also discuss goals and product vision with the client.
- Entry-Level Product Manager – This expert is responsible for the product life cycle, from product strategy to the execution of requirements.
- Associate Product Manager – Associate product managers are in charge of prioritizing tasks in a project. These professionals report to the product manager.
Mid-Level Product Management Jobs
- Technical Product Manager – This experienced product manager works with product designers and engineers to ensure that the client’s requirements are met.
- Product Marketing Manager – In a product marketing role, you will handle the development and implementation of strategies that reveal the product value to the target audience.
- Product Owner – Product owners prioritize user stories, support the development team, and are also responsible for Scrum processes management.
Senior-Level Product Management Jobs
- Group Product Manager – The GPM leads all kinds of product teams and is in charge of a particular group of products.
- Director of Product Management – The DPM defines the product vision and oversees the roadmap. They also collaborate with directors from other teams like engineering, operations, and marketing.
- Vice President of Product – The VP takes initiative and goes after ideas that will create value for the organization.
Product Management Certifications
A product management certification can help you develop your skills and act as an opportunity for continuous learning to help you stay up to date in your field. In addition, they serve as proof to potential employers that you are qualified for the job. Here are some product management certifications you can earn.
Product Management Professional Certification
This certification is by Blackblot, an international organization that offers a product manager’s toolkit methodology. To earn this certification, you need to take an examination and obtain a grade of at least 75 percent.
Agile Certified Product Manager and Product Owner
The Association of International Product Marketing and Management offers this credential. Before getting the certification, you will develop a high-level understanding of road-mapping tactics and product strategies. It also prepares you for the exam with a study guide as well as a practice test.
Product Manager Certification
This credential is offered by the Pragmatic Institute. It offers eight courses but you only need to take the classes entitled focus, design, foundation, and build. This certification will show employers that you can create appropriate roadmaps for various audiences, have the interpersonal skills to work with multiple departments, and can develop long-term strategic visions.
Tips on How to Get a Job in Product Management
There are several steps you can take to get a job in product management. They include preparing for interviews, customizing your resume, expanding your skillset, mastering transferable skills, networking, and getting certified.
Customize Your Resume
It is important to adapt your resume whenever you apply to a different job. Carefully review the job description and determine your suitability for the role. Use your resume to highlight how your experience, skills, and achievements will make you an excellent fit. Hiring managers will be more drawn to your resume if it is tailored to their needs.
Always interact with others in your profession, both in-person and online. Attend seminars, product conferences, appointments, and social events and engage with the people you meet. Share with others that you are searching for product management roles in the tech industry of your choosing and they may be able to help you on your job hunt.
Prepare For Interviews
Before attending any job interview, prepare well. Study common questions and personalize your responses to the specific job role. If possible, get a professional to practice relevant questions with you. If you prepare, you’ll be more confident and be more likely to catch the attention of your interviewer.
Expand Your Skill Set
If you are new in the field, you will likely need some experience or product training to secure a product management job. An internship may help you gain some experience and expand your skill set. Some successful product managers also volunteer before getting their dream job.
Certifications help you stand out. They show you are well versed in the field and employers will be more willing to consider hiring you for a product manager position. Be sure to go for a well-known and accepted certification.
Should You Get a Job in Product Management In 2021?
Yes, you should get a job in product management if you are passionate about overseeing a product’s lifecycle and collaborating with a diverse team. Companies in many fields are realizing that product managers are strong assets, and this means their role will become even more important in the future.
Getting a job in product management can open many doors for you. Once you are past the learning curve and have gained the necessary soft skills and experience, you’ll be able to progress quickly to senior management positions.
Product Manager FAQ
Can You Become a Product Manager Without a Degree?
Yes, you can become a product manager without a degree. Product management bootcamps make it possible to learn the skills needed for the job. These programs are short and intensive so you can be ready for the workforce in a few months. Many employers prefer candidates with industry experience, so you may need to start off in entry-level roles.
Is It Hard to Get Into Product Management?
No, It is not hard to get into product management if you have developed the right product skills and have relevant industry knowledge. Following the right education path makes it easier because you’ll be equipped with the necessary skills to start from the bottom up.
What Are Product Management Skills?
To thrive as a product manager, you need a healthy blend of soft skills and hard skills. These include communication, conflict resolution, product development, negotiation, delegation, and business skills.
How Much Do Product Managers Earn?
Product managers earn an average salary of $94,704 per annum, according to Ziprecruiter. Top earners can make up to $146,500 per year. This shows that product managers are well paid and their skills are in high demand.
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