Every product that we use in our lives, from our mobile phones to the office coffee machine, goes through a long journey before it reaches us. The process of product creation begins with the inception of an idea. This idea is further tested and analyzed with the help of consumer research. Then, the product design is implemented, and eventually, the product is developed to be launched in the market. Product management refers to the practice of driving the process of product creation, development, and market launch. It also extends to further improve the product in alignment with the customer’s feedback and reactions.
Product management is a multidisciplinary field that requires collaboration across teams and departments. It requires organizing, planning, production, and marketing before the product is ready for launch. And you'll be rewarded for all those high-level responsibilities.
Here's the complete breakdown of how much you can expect to make in beginning, mid-level, and senior product management roles.
What Do Product Managers Do?
Product managers are professionals who are responsible for the development of a product. They lead teams who are involved in the process of improving the product to make it successful. They’re behind the business and marketing strategy of a product. They also decide the functional requirements, and they manage the product launch.
Their job responsibilities also include many strategic and tactical tasks, like leading engineering, marketing, sales, and support teams. Overall, product managers are responsible for a product’s success or failure.
Product Manager Salaries
A job in product management is one of the most sought-after jobs today. A career in product management is a safe bet as it’s a field that will continuously grow and evolve, and it will challenge your skills and knowledge.
Product managers are well-paid and have a high level of job satisfaction. It’s been deemed as one of the top ten best jobs in the United States. A job in product management is also coveted because of its high salary. The average compensation for product managers across various positions can range from $61,000 to $200,000+ per year.
However, the salary depends on multiple factors like:
Salaries According to Experience And Position
Seniority and experience drive annual compensation to a large degree, regardless of the industry. We’ve created a list of different job positions in product management from entry-level to the topmost level and their salaries in detail below.
Associate Product Manager – This is an entry-level position and is well-suited for recent graduates to start their career in product management. It’s also great for professionals who want to change careers into this field. Some companies might also require a college degree and work experience of zero to two years for this position.
The average annual salary for associate product managers is between $58,000 – $117,000 per year.
Product Manager – After gaining experience of three to five years in the associate manager position, you can move further into the product manager role. You can also go for this position if you have some experience in a role related to engineering and sales. MBA graduates or graduates with advanced degrees in technology are likely to skip the associate manager stage. However, eventually, it’s the work experience that matters.
The average annual salary for product managers is between $78,000 – $154,000 per year.
Senior Product Manager – After five to eight years of experience in the field of product management, you can move up to the position of senior product manager. A senior product manager’s job responsibilities include simultaneously managing multiple projects.
The average annual remuneration for senior product managers is between $97,000 – $185,000.
Director of Product Management – You will become eligible for this role when you have more than seven years of experience in product management and personnel management. The job responsibilities of a director of product management include leading a team of product managers. Depending on the company, their job might require expertise in a specific industry or domain.
The average annual salary for a director of product management is between $123,000 – $213,000 per year.
VP of Product Management – This is one of the more senior positions in product management. The VP owns a company’s product vision and is involved in leadership roles that include guiding the product team.
The average annual salary for a VP of product management is between $130,000 – $254,000 per year.
Chief Product Officer – Large enterprises have executive-level roles called chief product officer or CPO. Their responsibilities include the organization of product management in an organization, setting the product strategy, and ensuring that product development is going in the right direction.
The average annual salary for a chief product officer is between $130,000 – $274,000 per year.
Education Options for Product Management
Education is the first step towards any career and it also impacts your chances of landing a job. There are multiple ways to educate yourself for a career in product management. You can opt for traditional university degrees like an MBA or a degree in related disciplines, or you can also opt for online learning programs and certifications.
For A Bachelor’s Degree – A bachelor’s in disciplines like computer science, finance, or business can help you build your foundation for the skills that you’ll need to manage a product in the future.
The median salary for graduates is $101,000 per year.
For A Master’s Degree – A master’s degree in management can help you land a job with better prospects. With an MBA degree, you can directly get hired as a product manager.
The median salary for postgraduates is $108,000 per year.
Certifications – Certificates help you validate your skills and stand out in the competitive job market. They can also be instrumental in getting you good compensation. And no, you don’t need a university education to become a successful product manager. Some popular certifications for product management include:
- Association of International Product Marketing and Management
- General Assembly
- Pragmatic Marketing
- Product School
- Project Management Institute
- Scrum Alliance
- Thinkful’s Product Management Course
Salaries According to Location
Location is also an important factor that affects the average compensation for product managers. However, before moving to a higher-paying city, keep in mind other factors like state taxes and the cost of living.
Here’s a list of some of the top-paying cities for product managers:
- San Francisco - $129,387
- Seattle - $118,976
- New York - $106,587
- Boston - $115,502
- Los Angeles - $109,012
- Austin - $109,006
- Denver - $94,762
Salary Based on Industry
Certain industries like aviation and healthcare pay higher compensation to product managers compared to the legal and finance industry. Some of the highest-paying industries for product managers include:
- Information services
- Logistics and supply chain
- Utilities and power systems
Salaries According to Company
Salaries also differ based on the companies that you choose to work for. Some of the highest-paying companies for product managers include:
- Facebook - $233,000
- Microsoft - $219,000
- Google - $218,000
- LinkedIn - $216,000
- Salesforce - $176,000
- Amazon - $175,000
Skills You Need to Become A Product Manager
Product management is a multidisciplinary field that combines many functions. So, you need to possess different types of skills to be a successful product manager. As a product manager, your job is to understand the market and how the demands of the market align with the product. Most importantly, you have to carry the concept of the product through the process of production to the final launch.
Skills in every field are divided into technical or hard skills and soft skills.
Technical Skills – Technical skills are required for the technical aspect of product management. They’re job-specific and are measured according to performance. Some technical skills that you will need to be good at product management include:
- Data collection, extraction, and analysis
- Microsoft Excel
- A/B testing
- Learning about code
Strategic Skills– Asking the right questions to receive answers that can provide insights into the market and competition is an important skill. Strategies to develop the product are then formed. The skills required for this process include:
- Audience segmentation
- Product life cycle
- SWOT analysis
- Creating and managing budgets
- Creating distribution strategies
Analytical Skills – These skills focus on research and data analysis, and are driven by data. Analytics skills include:
- Beta testing
- Deductive and inductive reasoning
- SWOT analysis
- Data analysis
- Basic engineering
- Risk management
Soft Skills – These are based on your interpersonal and social behaviors. These skills are transferable across industries. Some soft skills required to be a successful product manager are:
- Time management
- Stakeholder’s management
- Setting aspirations & goals
- Ownership (of responsibilities)
Perks of Being A Product Manager
As you can see, product management can be an extremely high-paying and rewarding career. But to keep your memory fresh, here are some of the advantages of pursuing a career in product management:
- It’s one of the best-paid professions.
- The field is continuously evolving and it challenges you to develop more technical and soft skills.
- As you develop product management skills like how to manage large teams and plan strategically, you’ll hone your leadership skills.
- The skills learned in product management can help you land a VP role in the future.
Product management is a secure career for those who are skilled in the right areas. If you feel like you need more help to gain the necessary skills, Thinkful’s Product Management course is the perfect opportunity for you. You don’t pay a cent until you’re hired because Thinkful’s so confident that you’ll land a job you love after taking their course.
If you’d like to know a bit more about the world of product management before embarking on your new career, then check out our resources for aspiring product managers. It covers a huge range of valuable topics that’ll help you excel. You deserve to work in your dream career, and we want to help you get there.