Product management is the most sought-after job profile in the current business world. They are some of the highest-paid professionals in a firm because of the extent of their responsibilities and contribution. Behind every great product offered by a company that changes the lives of its consumers in a significant way, there lies the far-sightedness of a product manager. The responsibilities of a project manager include analyzing customer demands, monitoring product design catering to that demand and overseeing its creation, delivery, and feedback. 

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What Is Product Management?

Product management is a structural mechanism in an organization that covers every aspect of a product or a service, starting from its ideation to development to marketing. In a sense, it forms the crux of any successful enterprise. Without an excellently functioning central product, it is almost impossible for firms to expand their brand and use it to sell other products and services.

Product Manager vs Project Manager 

What the company offers is its product. The processes it must engage itself in to make the product accessible to you and earn profit becomes its project. Product managers are the central figures in the launch and ideation of a product, and getting everyone within the company on board with its vision. After this stage, it is the role of the project manager to take up the responsibility of manifesting that creative enterprise into a reality. 

In contrast, the product manager tracks the internal changes within the product vision. Project managers convert the concept explained and ideated by the product managers into actionable steps and deadline-oriented tasks that would ultimately lead to what the product manager defines as the ‘success’ of the product. Project managers are also responsible for the logistics and ensure departmental integration in the execution of the project.  

Education Required to Become A Product Manager

A degree within the field in which you are looking to become a product manager and an MBA should make you professionally equipped to apply for product management roles. Complement this with online courses targeted explicitly at aspiring product managers that give you a sneak peek into the daily structure and terminology product managers deal with on a daily basis. It will put you ahead of more than 70 percent of your competitors.

What Does a Product Manager Do? 

A product manager strategizes the ideation, release and profit and loss potential of a product. Depending on the firm they work for, the scope of their work can range from brainstorming ideas for different features, managing engineers working on the execution of that product to delivering exclusive value based on customer demands.

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Product Manager Responsibilities

The specific responsibilities of the product manager depend on the enterprise he works for and the product he is currently working on. Broadly, their duties involve aiding cross-communication between various stakeholders, enabling clarity about the vision of the product, building structures and strategies for a healthy feedback mechanism and setting clear markers for what success for a particular product is going to look like at what stage of its development. 

Product Manager Job Prospects and Salary Expectations

Product Managers have brilliant career prospects, and they work in several companies in different roles. Depending on your educational background and subject matter expertise, you can apply for product manager roles in fintech, ed-tech, food-tech, or healthcare. Even if there is no public vacancy, innovative product managers can be hired based on the potential value they can show they can add to a firm. Product managers can earn up to $125,782 per annum (source here).

What Tools Do Product Managers Need to Learn?

A dedicated online course on product management will take you through the various tools that will come in handy in your role as a product manager. User-tracking tools such as Pendo and Roadmapping Software such as ProductPlan, customer survey tools (such as Typeform), and Industry Analyst accounts are a must in the arsenal of every product manager. Basic knowledge of SQL for data-driven analysis is also helpful.

Product Manager Skill-Set

Product managers need to have strong skills in communication, business, research, analysis and the technical field they are working with. Most product managers initially choose to work as developers, engineers and project managers before applying for a product manager position. 

Career Path for a Product Manager

Product managers usually have a degree in technical fields such as engineering and computer sciences, an MBA and a complementary certification within product management. One can also target a product management job through non-tech areas by networking within the firms seeking their expertise. 

How to Become a Product Manager - Tips to Help you Succeed

  • Consider applying to Junior Product Manager, Associate Product Manager or Product Owner roles to gain experience that will help you land a job as a product manager.
  • Don’t underestimate the importance of networking.
  • Research intensely about the companies in which you’re seeking a product management role. Don’t be afraid to drop in cold emails outlining the product strategy you think will add value to their firm.
  • Be passionate. Make sure you seek the role of a product manager because it genuinely interests you and not because of the job title alone. 

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Pros and Cons of Becoming a Product Manager

The biggest pro of being a product manager is the independence and creativity they get to practise with their product. They are the brains behind the most minor and most prominent aspects of the life cycle of a product and lead its way towards the benefit of the users.

On the flip side, product managers have to often face the wrath of all stakeholders in case of product failure and end up being scapegoated for more considerable flaws in the organization’s structure and red tap behavior.

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Enhance Your Skills With Our Online Master's or PGP program

You can also consider getting yourself upskilled by enrolling in an online course offered by Simplilearn. A few suitable courses for product managers include: 

Digital Project Manager- This course can help you with all things professional and boost your career to newer heights. 

SAFe Product Owner/Product Manager (POPM) Certification Training- This training can help you diversify your problem-solving areas and make your profile suitable for SAFe organizations. 

Conclusion

Product managers are the passion behind any well-executed product. But it requires a lot of hard work and persistence to reach that stage. The enterprise you choose to work for and its internal values and structures determine the nature of your experience to a huge extent.

FAQs

1. What qualifications do you need to be a product manager?

A masters degree in business is required for most product management roles. It automatically gives your CV an edge over your competitors, and gives you the requisite skill-set to understand the contemporary business world.

2. Is it hard to become a product manager?

Like any prestigious position in an organization, the role of product manager too needs a more-than-average level of work ethic, intellectual rigor and ability to persevere in the face of adversity. It will help if you put in the hard work to make the companies see the value you can add to their firm and its products and services.

3. Do you need a degree to become a Product Manager?

People from diverse academic backgrounds get selected as product managers. However, a dedicated certification course in product management can go a long way in giving you an edge over other candidates. A primary graduate degree in the field you’re looking to become a product manager is also essential.

4. Is a Project Management Certification worth it?

A Project Management Certification will equip you with the tools you will require in your job as a Project Manager and allow you to do it more efficiently. It is worth it, especially if you’re looking for a career progression from other roles to the post of a Project Manager. 

5. How many years will it take to become a Product Manager? 

Most enterprises seek a prior experience of 2-5 years in product management roles before hiring you. This experience can be as a Product Owner, Associate Product Manager roles or other related roles.

6. Can anyone be a Product Manager?

As long as you have the basic minimum qualifications, you can definitely aspire to make a career in product management, no matter where you are currently in your career path. Networking and maintaining rigor are the keys to making and sustaining it in a product management role.

7. Does a product manager need an MBA?

It is highly recommended for an aspiring product manager to have an MBA. If you think your current career path doesn’t allow you to pursue a full-time MBA, consider going for short-term online courses that upgrade your skill set while working in a full-time job.

8. Do you need a college degree to be a product manager?

A college degree in the field in which you’re looking to become a product manager is highly recommended. A lot of big firms prefer up to three degrees (up to post-graduation in your field of expertise plus a degree in business) to hire for the role of Product Manager.

9. How do I start a career in product management?

A course specifically designed for aspiring product managers might be a good place to start. A role as a Product Owner or Junior Product Manager is also a dependable path through which to break in. 

10. Is a product manager a stressful job?

Product managers have to work very hard and effectively to manifest the vision of their product. Anyone looking to enter a product management role should be prepared to deal with work-related stress. 

About the Author

SimplilearnSimplilearn

Simplilearn is one of the world’s leading providers of online training for Digital Marketing, Cloud Computing, Project Management, Data Science, IT, Software Development, and many other emerging technologies.

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  • *According to Simplilearn survey conducted and subject to terms & conditions with Ernst & Young LLP (EY) as Process Advisors