Curriculum Spotlight

What You’ll Learn in General Assembly’s Product Management Course

Jess Feldman

Written By Jess Feldman

Jennifer Inglis

Edited By Jennifer Inglis

Last updated on May 17, 2024

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Curious about what you’ll learn in General Assembly’s Product Management course? Alum-turned-instructor, Britni Jackson and Senior Admissions Specialist, Tony Navetta, share what it’s like to learn from a short course at General Assembly. The course includes instruction from industry-leading professionals, interactive and engaging online discussions, and collaborative learning environments, plus options for payment plans! Whether you’re looking to upskill, change careers, or better understand your co-workers, this short course from General Assembly will teach you how to learn and use product management from any starting point. 

💸 Take $1,500 off your General Assembly Bootcamp! (Offer ends May 31st and the course needs to start before June 21st, 2024.)

Why has it been important for General Assembly to offer a Product Management course?

Tony: General Assembly has offered a product management program for a while and we were one of the first bootcamps to focus on it. It's consistently been one of our more popular part-time courses that has helped so many product managers continue to grow. Recently, we made changes to include more data strength to adapt to the growing need in the field. As the field of product management grows, we’re excited to grow with it! 

Britni: One of the biggest benefits and challenges about product management is that it's so subjective and it looks different everywhere you go. Other courses for design and engineering are more tactical, but how you do product management is very much dependent on the organization you’re in. At General Assembly, we wanted to make sure we were setting students up for success and equipping them with the process that allows them to think like a PM and have an array of tools to pull from, including a product mindset, tried-and-true applications, and the freedom to discover many paths forward. Students leave the course with the confidence to think from a problem-focused mindset so that they can identify areas where the best practices are being applied or not, and then feel confident making the choice of how they want to move forward.

Why is product management a good skill or solid career path in 2024? 

Tony: It’s the next step in tech for a lot of our students and it is often something that can help them grow within the tech fields, no matter what that may be overall. According to LightCast data in 2023, there was a 50% increase in job postings for Product Managers in the last five years. That data showed that the median salary is strong (around $120,000), and there were 1.9 million job postings requiring product manager skills in the last five years!

At General Assembly, we’re always looking for holes in the industry and how our courses can help people grow and fill in those holes. We feel that no matter what you’re doing, if you’re in the tech industry, adding leadership or a product skillset is beneficial.

What You’ll Learn in General Assembly’s Product Management Course

What does the curriculum cover in the Product Management course? 

Britni: One of our biggest emphases in the course is the notion of the problem-focused mindset. Across industries and companies, scaling gets solution-based. We’re getting students out of the mindset of building for the sake of building (which can be costly and ineffective) and more into user- and data-focused experimentation where what they're building is actually solving a problem. Students learn to understand how product processes are applied.

In the Product Management course, we take students through:

  • How to properly identify a problem versus a solution
  • How to gather the proper data (quantitative and qualitative) to validate a problem
  • How to validate an identified problem 

We also emphasize that everything is a hypothesis until it's launched. We’re getting students into experimental-based mindsets so that they're comfortable with taking educated risks and moving through it like an experiment. Students learn how to identify and validate a hypothesis, how to test it, what to do with the feedback they receive, and how to effectively work with different stakeholders, design and engineering and leadership. We take them through the entire process while ensuring that students have an actual product mindset applied to it.

Is the course project-based like General Assembly’s other bootcamps? 

Britni: At General Assembly, we know that the product is not done in a silo, so we restructured the project to be a group project. As a PM, you're meeting future teams and working closely with your stakeholders. Many product roles are now remote, distributed, or hybrid, and you're working with colleagues who may be in multiple time zones. 

In the project, we have a set of industries that we prompt students with, such as travel, education, and public transportation. They get together as a group to identify a problem in that space and then work together to go through the steps to identify the problem,  figure out how to validate it, and go through interviews. It ends with a group pitch on why they chose what they did, how they validated it, how they're going to measure success, and what their plan forward is in terms of a roadmap. 

Is General Assembly’s Product Management course an upskill or re-skill course?

Tony: Primarily, this is known more as an upskill than a re-skill course. People who enroll in the course are typically connected to the tech industry in some way, and they’re looking to understand the product management process and/or to improve their leadership. I've seen a decent amount of our Product Management students who are connected to data analytics, software engineering, UX design, account management, customer success, and project management. 

I've also seen people trying to work on their own product launches who enroll because they need a better understanding of the process. Most of the career changers enrolling in this course are switching industries within tech. 

For those looking to make a career change into product management, does the course offer them career services?

Tony: We don't have direct career placement services in our shorter courses, partially because our clientele are typically upskillers and already have some of that place. However, the advantage of our shorter courses is the live-taught format that you're not going to get from most bootcamps. In addition to live instruction, you can book a meeting during office hours with instructors throughout the week. Our instructors really care about seeing our students meet their goals. 

In this course, you can get to know your fellow students who are often in the same scenario of trying to grow within their fields, or are currently PMs who might hire someone else down the road. We do have a very large alumni network at General Assembly, such as Britni, that has been successful in the field that you can connect to through a course. 

Tell us about the instructors! Are they product managers themselves?

Britni: The instructors working with students at General Assembly are still working product professionals. Students are working with product leaders who are very active in the space, working on their own products or startups, consulting across a number of different companies, or working in-house. As instructors, we are all keeping an active pulse on the industry and technology. The beauty of product management is that it touches everything. Some of us lead and manage software companies while others manage hardware companies. Personally, I've done a lot with internal tooling on platforms, while other leaders have done more on the consumer side. 

When I was starting out in product management, I actually took this course 10 years ago! Being a product manager and a General Assembly instructor is now full circle for me. My career started by working alongside PMs and eventually supporting them. I loved that product management blended operations and tech and offered a more expansive experience in my organization. When I took the General Assembly course as a new PM it was because I was trying to make sense of what I was doing at my job and to make sure that what I was learning would also be universally applied. 

Overall, what is the learning style like in the Product Management course? 

Britni: The course has live instruction over Zoom. We have a set curriculum and lessons structured throughout the course, but it’s also interactive. We pride ourselves on the fact that we’re not teaching at you — the course is set up for live questions and engagement. There is a lot of knowledge-sharing that happens among students, which is great! We structure it with our set lessons and leave room for discussions, questions, and the kind of dialogue necessary to ensure lessons are being fully absorbed.

How many weeks is the Product Management course? What kind of time commitment should a learner expect?

Tony: The course is 10 weeks long. We offer the course in two different formats: one format meets two nights a week for 10 weeks, from 7-9pm EST; the other format has live instruction on Saturday. Student attendance is required during those live instruction hours. We really want you there for that group format and the networking that's involved as you're preparing and going through the course. 

Britni: Students should expect a weekly commitment of 7-10 hours. They will be committing four hours a week to live class time. Homework and the course project will take a student about an hour or two each week, depending on how far you got on your project during class. 

Could professionals balance this course while working or balancing other life commitments?

Tony: The Product Management course is definitely something that's meant for people who are working! The vast majority of people who are taking this course are working in something adjacent or in a field trying to make a transition. 

Getting Into the Product Management Course at General Assembly

Is there an ideal student for the Product Management course? 

Tony: The students I've spoken with come from broad backgrounds, so it’s hard to pinpoint an ideal student. What I have noticed is many are looking to grow from one aspect of tech to another, like from business, design, technology, or customer success. We’ve also seen some General Assembly alumni take it as a secondary step in their career journey!

What financing options are there for General Assembly’s short courses?

Tony: We have a few really good payment options:

  • You can split the payments into a two, three, or four monthly payment plan during the program where you can spread it out over the course. 
  • One of our loan lenders, Climb, offers an 18-month interest-free loan option that allows you to spread the cost over 18 months with no interest or fees. This is a really popular option!

Can students of this course have their employer cover the tuition

Tony: Yes, this is quite common! We’ve seen junior PMs who haven’t been trained and their employers want them to pick up those skill sets, or people that are growing into leadership roles.  If you have a supportive employer, speak to your manager or HR and see if there's a way to support a course! We have something called an Employer Sponsorship Document that explains the value to an employer, so if you speak to someone in admissions we can send that over as well. 

Britni, in all of your years teaching at General Assembly, what kinds of student success have you seen in the Product Management course?

Britni: A number of students have come in who've been able to make career changes, either internally or externally transitioning out of their companies. We’ve also helped students who were new to their product management role gain confidence to excel at their company. 

Students have been able to leverage their course project to make a case. A lot of them go on to carve out product management roles or at least be able to jump on a current project at work viewing it through the lens of a product mindset and applying newly learned processes. Other students aren’t trying to be PMs, but they work with them and want to better understand their dynamics so they can work more closely. 

For product management beginners, does General Assembly offer an intro course or workshop?

Tony: We have events and workshops for just about everything and sometimes even more specific workshops for pieces of the field! We continually add different types of workshops to help students. We have monthly workshops that people can attend to learn more about product management, how it connects to different fields, and find the field that's best for them. We also have an alumni ambassador program that we can connect people to so alumni can reach out and share their experiences in the course. 

What is your advice for making the most of General Assembly’s Product Management course?

Britni: Keep an open mind. The product space is very broad. Be open to learning. Don’t focus as much on the how, like the specific, tactical things as much. We teach you how to think and how to know what to choose versus teaching you how to choose the things. We could teach you all day long how to use a hammer, but it’s more important to understand if you should use a hammer, a drill, or a screwdriver for a job. You're not just going to learn about the specific tools because you may or may not use them. Instead, we teach you how to know which tool to use.

Tony: Use your resources in the course. Some of my favorite instructors are our PM instructors — they really care about your success. You're also getting to work with lots of different students, so engage in that process, work together, and come in with the excitement for that! A lot of people might be nervous about this new experience, but they're all there for the same type of result. Work together and use your instructors. Also, the portfolio project is really helpful for you at the end. Engaging in the extra things to create that will be useful in your current job or job search. 

Find out more and read General Assembly reviews on Course Report. This article was produced by the Course Report team in partnership with General Assembly.

About The Author

Jess Feldman

Jess Feldman

Jess Feldman is an accomplished writer and the Content Manager at Course Report, the leading platform for career changers who are exploring coding bootcamps. With a background in writing, teaching, and social media management, Jess plays a pivotal role in helping Course Report readers make informed decisions about their educational journey.

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