A product or service that reaches us in its final form goes through a long journey. A product is first conceptualized as an idea and then it’s developed and improved before it’s finally launched into the market. Product management refers to the practice of strategically driving the life cycle of a product. This includes stages like product development, planning, verifying, forecasting, and product launch.
Product management covers a wide array of responsibilities. These responsibilities may differ from company to company and from product to product. But there's always one thing in common: all of the product manager's duties revolve around serving the client as well as the company.
If you're curious how to break into this challenging, high-paying career track, we collected some of the pros and cons of the most common pathways.
What’s It Like to Be A Product Manager?
Product managers are responsible for identifying what customers want. They incorporate that knowledge into the strategy to develop a product. They create a roadmap, and define the product or product line. Depending on the organization, their role may also sometimes include other aspects of product development like marketing, profit and loss responsibilities, and forecasting.
All of the decisions related to a product are made by a product manager. They work to transform the vision of a product into reality.
Training And Education for Product Management
Product management has emerged as a lucrative career option recently. The average compensation of a product manager is around $107,454 per year, which is a great salary.
To become a product manager, you’ll need to learn some valuable skills. Multiple paths are available for product management. Depending on where you are in your career, you can opt for traditional paths like college degrees in product management or related disciplines; or non-traditional paths like training programs, online courses, bootcamps, and certificate programs.
Here are some paths that you can follow if you’re looking for product management training.
Bachelor’s Degree – Since product management is a vast field, you can enter the product management field through different educational backgrounds. For example, a degree in fine arts would be much preferred for a product that’s related to arts and crafts.
The most common bachelor’s degree for this field is in business or related disciplines like economics, public relations, advertising, management, marketing, and communications.
The following are some popular bachelor’s degrees for product managers.
- Bachelor’s in Business Management
- Bachelor of Business Administration
- Bachelor’s in Economics
- Bachelor’s in Communication and Digital Studies
- The BS in Leadership and Management Studies
Some pros and cons of going for a bachelor’s degree are:
- It will lay a solid foundation of knowledge.
- It can be instrumental in getting an internship and a job upon graduation.
- Your professors and mentors can provide you with good credentials.
- Learning in a structured environment helps you stick to a timeline.
- Bachelor’s degrees often cost tens of thousands of dollars, depending on which college you are attending.
- You will have to invest four years into your degree.
- These courses are not flexible.
- You won’t learn the exact skills needed to thrive as a product manager.
Alternatively, you can invest in an online bachelor’s degree program.
Master’s Degree – A master’s degree in product development can help you become eligible for senior product management roles across various industries. A master’s degree hones your research skills and helps you gain expertise in a particular domain.
Some master’s degrees in product management are:
Master of Science in Product Management
MBA with a Product Management specialization
MBA with Specialization in Brand and Product Management
Executive MBA in Product Leadership
M.S. in New Product Management
If you’d like to work after you graduate, you can opt for an online or part-time master’s program.
Bootcamps – In recent times, bootcamps have emerged as one of the most efficient learning paths. Product management bootcamps are available in both online and offline mode. They span from anywhere between a few weeks to a few months. They condense the curriculum and are an efficient way to learn because they only focus on relevant topics.
Pros and cons of learning through bootcamps:
- They cost much less than traditional university degrees.
- They’re available in both online and offline mode.
- The condensed curriculum will save you time.
- They’re frequently updated and aligned with the demands of the industry.
- You’ll learn a lot of information quickly, so you’ll have to work extra hard to keep up with the syllabus.
Certifications – Certifications are an easy way to validate your skills, learn new skills, and hone the skills that you already have. Certifications can help your resume stand out in the competitive job market and help you get a higher salary.
Some popular product management certifications are:
Product Management Certification
Brand and Product Manager Certification
Agile Certified Product Manager Credentials (CPM)
AIPMM Certified Product Manager Credential
Digital Product Management Certification
Digital Product Management Certification: Modern Fundamentals
Product management encompasses many fields. Product managers come from various educational backgrounds. However, they do need some common skills like knowledge of Microsoft Excel and the product life cycle.
You can learn the basic skills of product management on your own, but to start a career in product management, you’re going to need some sort of experience. You can take an online course or training program to acquire the basic skills, and then work on some side projects to build a portfolio.
If you’re a working professional dabbling in product management, then you can volunteer to solve problems as a side project at work. Ask your manager or teammates about the problems or challenges they’re facing with a product, and volunteer to research a solution.
You can also build a track record of solving problems and researching solutions. This’ll give you a chance to use the product management skills you’ve learned. It’ll also give you a chance to acquire some real-life experience, which will help you apply for product management jobs.
Product Management Skills to Learn
Product management is a multidisciplinary field that requires you to be skilled in tech, and well-versed in the necessary soft skills.
The following are some technical skills required to become a successful product manager.
- Data collection, extraction, and analysis
- Microsoft Excel
- A/B testing
- Product life cycle
- SWOT analysis
- Beta testing
- Deductive and inductive reasoning
- SWOT analysis
The following are some soft skills you’ll need to be a successful product manager.
- Time management
- Stakeholder’s management
- Aspiration setting
Final Product Management Training Tips
If you want to start your new career in less than a year, then we’d highly recommend our Product Management Bootcamp. We’ve created the bootcamp specifically to help our students land jobs they love. Our success rate is unrivaled, because we’re truly focused on your success.
If you’d like to learn more about the program, you can speak with a member of our team. Our support team’s trained to guide you in the right direction for your dream career. If you’re still unsure if product management is right for you, there are also tons of helpful blog posts available to help you decide!