Product management is a dynamic role that will have you working with a range of different departments, including design, engineering, testing, sales, and marketing.
Product managers are responsible for launching new products or improving existing ones. Their goal is to identify customer needs, develop solutions to problems, and ultimately increase sales. They work with many different professionals across the company and are involved in every stage of the product lifecycle.
Skilled product managers play a vital role in the success or failure of a business. Building great products that change lives is not only incredibly satisfying but also highly rewarded. Top product managers receive lucrative compensation packages, have excellent job prospects, and job security.
The good news is there are no strict qualification requirements to get started in this space. Professionals from different backgrounds can become product managers if they possess the right skills for the job. If you’re organized, love solving problems, and think you can bring teams together, a career in product management could be ideal.
How to Get Started in Product Management
Let’s start with some general tips on how to become a product manager:
Enroll in a Focused Education Program: Online bootcamps provide students with laser-focused learning. They’re intensive, affordable, and specialized programs designed to teach aspiring product managers everything they need to kickstart their career. Enroll in our product management bootcamp to go from beginner to hired within a year.
Learn Technical Skills: If you want to be successful as a product manager, you need to have knowledge of Excel and SQL, agile and scrum methodologies, and other core skills that will help you carry out your responsibilities.
Develop People Skills: Product managers must work with many different types of professionals. From technical engineers to sales-driven marketing departments. You must effectively communicate, negotiate, and take the lead.
Understand UX Design: User experience (UX) design is fundamental to building great products. It focuses on how customers interact with products and involves market research, psychology, design, and technology.
Practice Analytical Thinking: Product managers are problem solvers. To deal with everyday technical and non-technical problems, you need to think analytically.
Get Involved With Small Projects: Working on small side projects provides invaluable experience and shows prospective employers you’re serious about product management. Find freelance opportunities online and don’t worry about applying for low-paid positions. The key is to gain real-life experience and flesh out your resume.
Get Certified: Certificates are a great way to validate your skills in a particular field. They can help your resume stand out from the crowd and demonstrate your knowledge is up-to-date. There are several online certification courses that you can pursue, depending on your individual schedule and needs.
Common Product Manager Interview Questions
The first stage in securing any product manager job is passing the interview. This can be stressful and feeling nervous is perfectly normal. One way to overcome the nerves is to fully prepare yourself.
You can expect both technical and behavioral questions during an interview. Employers use these questions to examine your skills, interests, aptitude, passion, learning capacity, and overall suitability for the role. Here are some commonly asked product manager questions:
- What aspects of product management do you find the most exciting?
- How would you explain product management to a stranger?
- Can you define a market opportunity in a business plan?
- What inputs do you use to build your roadmap?
- Have you ever been in a situation where your team has let you down, and you’ve had to take the blame?
- Tell us about the importance of engineers and technical teams as stakeholders. How do you integrate them into the overall product vision?
- Describe the day-to-day responsibilities of a product manager.
- Tell us about the most successful product you’ve managed. What made it so successful?
- How do you plan releases? What development methodology does your company follow?
- Explain the key differences between a project manager and a product manager.
- Can you provide an example where a technical solution that you or your team designed became a commercial product?
- What aspects of product management do you find the least interesting?
- Can you describe one of your failures? Why do you think it failed? What would you do differently?
- How do you monitor performance and success?
- Name some of the most exciting technology trends. Why are they important?
- Explain the difference between leadership and management.
- How do you think product managers interact with engineers?
- What is the Gartner Magic Quadrant, and why is it important for many software vendors?
- Where do ideas for new features come from? How do you decide which ones to build?
- Tell us how you motivate other people.
- Name the important elements of competitive analysis.
- Can you explain the impact of GDPR on today’s products and services?
- Why should we hire you?
- Why do you want to become a product manager?
You can practice these questions using product management books, online reading materials and product management blogs. Always remember to stay calm during the interview. Panicking or rushing answers isn’t ideal and can leave a bad impression. Take a moment to think about your answer and ask for clarification if you don’t understand something. Some questions don’t even have a right or wrong answer. The employer is more interested in how you answer, rather than what you answer. Try to keep a positive and polite attitude.
Where to Search for Product Manager Jobs
The number of product management jobs is growing rapidly. It can sometimes be a challenge to search through all the opportunities to find your perfect placement. Thankfully, there are plenty of online job platforms to make this process easier.
Most job boards allow you to upload your resume and create an online profile. Recruiters can search your profile and get in touch if they have a job you might be interested in. Let’s look at some of the most popular product management job sites:
Mind the Product: This platform might not be very popular, but its job board can be really helpful for aspiring product managers. It’s a product community where people associated with the field share their experiences and ideas. You can find many valuable product management blogs, tips, and product events happening around the world. There are plenty of job openings on their job board.
ProductHired: This website is dedicated to product management jobs. It’s efficient and saves time as you don’t have to filter irrelevant fields. The website has some filters regarding the kind of job you are looking for, which makes your search much easier. They also have a “job alert” feature, so you can receive notifications for relevant job openings.
AngelList: This is one of the best portals to specifically search for startup jobs. The site is perfect for people who are looking for freelance work. Apart from job listings, they have some useful articles on their blog.
Product Hunt: This is a website where users can discover new products and share their views about products. Their job board is dedicated to jobs related to design, product, engineering, and marketing. Although the site is smaller than some of the others mentioned here, it’s regularly updated.
Product Manager HQ: Product Manager HQ is an online slack community for product managers. You can find tips on how to land a product management job. They also offer a course “One Week PM”. It teaches the basic concepts, core principles, and how to prepare for product manager jobs.
CrunchBoard: This is affiliated with the technology media company TechCrunch. The site is good for people who are thinking of beginning their career at a startup. You can find all kinds of technology-related jobs on their job board.
Indeed: This is one of the most popular recruitment websites in the world. Job seekers from every field find this platform useful in their job hunt. It works well for product managers too. You‘ll get detailed information about most of the positions listed on the website.
LinkedIn: Another popular platform. LinkedIn has a huge list of job openings. You can create your online portfolio here and start applying for jobs immediately. Most of the big companies post their job openings here.
To find your perfect product manager job, be patient. You’ll need hard work, commitment, and determination. Maybe a little bit of luck along the way. The above platforms provide a great foundation for you to begin your search.
Fast-Track Your Way to a Product Manager Job
To really boost your chances of landing a well-paid product manager job, enroll in our product manager bootcamp. The course is designed by leading experts to teach you everything you’ll need to start your career. Benefit from one-on-one mentorship and build a professional portfolio to stand out from the crowd and achieve your career goals. Schedule a call with our team to get started.
If you enjoyed this article, you can read more about product management on our blog. You might be interested to learn about careers in this space (and how much they pay).