Covid and its after-effects are here to stay. The challenges of the pandemic forced almost every company to adapt and innovate. And the only individual that can help the companies match with the innovation are the product managers.
Even before the times of Covid, the increase in the demand for this position was immensely high. Now that businesses are moving toward more technological advancements, the demand for project managers is skyrocketing.
Therefore, product management is not only one of the most popular jobs these days. But it’s also one of the highest-paying tech jobs right now.
Excited? Let’s answer – How to Become a Product Manager.
What is Product Management?
In its most simplistic sense, it is the administration of an entire life cycle of a product. However, the crucial first step begins with the identification of the needs of your target clients.
It is further followed by designing a concept, and strategically integrating the workflow between different departments of the organization.
However, a product can be any technology-based product like software, an application, or a physical product like machinery, automotive, and others.
To successfully launch a product, product management has evolved into an interdisciplinary profession that integrates strategy, design, leadership, and marketing.
Product management is frequently misunderstood and can look different from one company to the next because it encompasses so many responsibilities and intersects with so many other business roles.
Regardless of how a company defines product management roles, there are a few key skills that every PM holds in every company or firm:
- Thinking strategically
- Mindset for business
- Listening with Collaboration
- Unambiguous communication
- Excellent project management
- Background in user experience
Skills required to become a Product Manager
From the outset, the job position itself talks about the two most fundamental skills required which are:
- Excellent management skills, and
- Aptitude for product development.
Although every product manager may have different functions based on their company and industry, these are some of the essential skill-sets required to qualify for this position:
- Communication skills
- Strategic-thinking and analytical skills
- People Administration skills
- Technical and design skills associated with a product
- Management and leadership skills
Please note that knowledge of coding is not needed in every role and organization. However, having the skills of coding and UX (user experience) will always keep you ahead in the game.
Education required to become a Product Manager
Product management is not like an entry-level job. Most of the time, people who have already worked into different roles with different education background joins the path of a product manager.
Therefore, there is no particular graduation or program through which you can join. However, that’s also one major benefit here.
As a result, people with diverse backgrounds and disciplines can become product managers. These are some examples:
- Research & Development
- Marketing Communications
- Quality or Operations Management
- Technical Support
- Customer Support
- Sales Support
Many times, companies hire directly from these related industries. So it’s safe to say that there are no limits to jumping into this important and well-respected job role.
Applying as a Product Manager
We are hoping that by now, you already know a lot about – How to become a product manager. Moving forward, let’s answer a very simple question that is very important.
What if you’re fresher? That is, what if you have just finished school and want to further your education to become a PM?
Therefore, you would want to know your options from the time of choosing the graduation program to apply for a product manager job role. So here’s the simple follow-up guide.
After school, you can head-start by getting a bachelor’s degree in a related field. Like Administration, Computer Science, Finance, Engineering, Economics, and Marketing.
Some companies also ask for post-graduation from the same. After that, you can apply for a junior-level product management post and gain experience and exposure to go even further.
Career opportunities for a Product Manager
Today, product management has created a niche segment in lots of high-growth industries such as pharma companies, manufacturing sectors, educational institutions, and, SaaS & Technical niches in general.
Here is the statistical data to better understand the job openings in different sectors (by Collagedekho):
- Educational institution’s 14%
- IT industry 45%
- Manufacturing sector 5%
- Healthcare sector 17%
- Other sectors 19% (Source)
Types of job roles as a Product Manager
As we already said, the responsibilities of a product manager vary according to companies and product. However, the basic roles stay the same in every organization.
1. Associate Product Manager
This is an entry-level job where you’d report to your senior: product manager. On a smaller scale, the day-to-day responsibilities will overlap with those of a product manager. You will not be able to choose your own assignments, but you will be responsible for them.
2. Product Manager
Product managers are in the middle of the career ladder. While no prior expertise in product management is required, you must have professional experience and demonstrated talents in communication, leadership, marketing, and strategy.
3. Senior Product Manager
A senior product manager (PM) is responsible for similar tasks as a product manager but at a higher level. Senior product managers not only manage higher-value products, but they also lead junior product managers and serve as a mediator between the product management team and business leaders.
4. Direct of Product Management
The role of the director shifts from direct product management to leadership. Their primary focus is on ensuring the team’s efficiency and the improvement of processes. You should have a solid management background and be at ease working with senior and executive management.
4. VP of Product Management
A vice president of product is a senior executive in charge of major initiatives as well as producing and marketing goods with the largest business impact. Budgeting, Strategic alignment, and Communicating with and gaining leadership buy-in are all tasks of this function, despite the fact that it is less hands-on in product development.
5. Chief Product Officer
A chief product officer may be employed by larger organizations. The position typically reports to the CEO and is in charge of all production activities within the organization. A chief product officer, like a vice president of a product, is in charge of defining the company’s big picture product strategy and setting long-term goals. Therefore, this is the executive-level job that is highest among the hierarchy.
The product manager is one of the coolest jobs in the tech industry. Not only you’re responsible for the outcome of a product but you are also paid a rewarding salary for it.
Product management is a perfect job for someone who is a generalist. Meaning they have both technical skills as well as non-technical skills like communicating and negotiation.
The career option is part entrepreneurial and part general management. People who enjoy challenges and prefer every day to be a different one—enjoy working for this position.