A role in product management is one of the most coveted positions in the tech industry. But what does a product manager do? What skills do they need? How can you become one?
In this article, we will explore what a product manager does and how to start down the path to becoming one. We'll also look at the types of careers that can help you develop the skills you need to be successful as a product manager. So if you're interested in making a career change or just want to learn more about this exciting field, keep reading!
Product Manager Responsibility
As a product manager, you will be responsible for determining the future of your product. This includes setting the vision and strategy, defining requirements, and working with cross-functional teams to bring the product to life. Product managers also need to be industry experts, staying up-to-date on trends and developments in their field.
Some of the responsibilities included in this role are:
- Research industry topics that inform product development. Researching customer interest, competition, market fit, margins, etc.
- Oversee product life cycle from concept to optimization.
- Leading and collaborating with the teams responsible for product awareness, selling the product, and managing the client's use of the product.
- Communicating with internal stakeholders
- Analyzing data sets to help govern decision making
Obtaining Product Management Skills
Often times product managers earn the skills they need from being in careers that have a demand for individuals to step up and become experts in a new product concept. A lot of project or program managers, for example, get the opportunity to lead product development from inception to launch. Those who have had success in these roles often have the skills and background that product managers need.
Marketing managers also have a lot of overlap with product management. They are responsible for driving awareness and demand for a product, which is essential to its success. In addition, they need to be able to work cross-organizationally and have a deep understanding of their product and its customer.
UX designers are another great option for those interested in becoming product managers. They are responsible for creating user-centered designs and have a deep understanding of how people interact with products. They also need to be able to work cross-functionally and understand the business in order to create designs that meet both user needs and business goals.
Intelligent.com has many recommended online certifications for Product Management. You can find them here. Codespaces.com also has a list of certifications you can find here.
Networking is also a great way to meet other product managers and learn about the field. Join relevant online communities, attend meetups, or even start your own meetup group. There are also many conferences and events focused on product management that can be a great way to learn and network.
There are many networking groups available on social media. Search LinkedIn for Product Manager Groups here. You can also check out thehiveindex.com for multiple communities across multiple platforms here. Or if you prefer in-person networking, check out meetup.com. There are just under 1000 groups listed in the product management space.
Where to Start
There is no one right answer for where to start when pursuing a career in product management. However, there are many options available that can help you develop the skills you need for success. Start by looking for opportunities to learn and grow in your current role. Talk with management about your desire to get involved with product management. Take the current product managers to lunch, pick their brains and offer to help them with their project. And if you're interested in making a career change, consider jobs that will give you exposure to the various aspects of product management.
Whatever route you choose, remember that networking and continued learning will be essential to your success as a product manager.
In closing, remember these key takeaways:
-Product managers determine the future of a product.
-Product managers work cross-organizational.
-Product managers have to be industry experts.
-Many PMs are former marketing or project managers, UX designers, or even software engineers.
-Start out by asking for learning opportunities in your current role.
-Product managers earn the skills they need from being in careers that have a demand for individuals to step up and become experts in their products.
-Networking is also a great way to meet other product managers and learn about the field.
-There is no one right answer for where to start when pursuing a career in product management, but there are many options available that can help you develop the skills you need for success.
- Join relevant online communities, attend meetups, or even start your own meetup group. There are also many conferences and events focused on product management that can be a great way to learn and network.
If you haven't already, check out our interview with Akshay Goel, the product manager behind Amazon Alexa, here. Or feel free to watch the full interview on YouTube.com here.