Product management combines marketing, development, and analysis to maximize the effectiveness of a product and, in turn, its profit. Product Managers develop the business strategies behind the products, choose its functional requirements, and manage the launch of features. Some Product Managers oversee the team that creates the product and gather feedback from users to launch improvements as well.
Product Management is a great way to get into the tech industry if you know more about business and marketing but less about coding. You’ll only need to understand the underlying principles of what makes a product work and sell well to get started as a Product Manager.
There are several possible paths to becoming a Product Manager. Some Product Managers get their start with an MBA, others begin with a product management bootcamp, and some even learn how to launch a product through coding bootcamp. You could go the self-taught startup route and take your idea through an entire product development if you know how to manage, design, code, and market.
You might even find a project you can own end-to-end at your current job to dip your toes into the position. Some product managers recommend keeping a journal starting with your decision to become a Product Manager. Having a record of the various projects you’ve done, tough problems you’ve solved and how you solved them, the research you’ve conducted, and cross-functional collaboration you’ve facilitated could be the ticket to a job one day. You can keep it on paper, on a blog, or as a part of your portfolio.
Product management bootcamps teach you the technical skills you need to start your career as a Product Manager as well as the leadership skills you’ll need to succeed.
Some product management bootcamps go so far as to teach UX Design and online marketing, too. Others focus on helping you use your ideas to create a real product during bootcamp. A few of them offer certificates, too. Product management bootcamps range in length from 5-12 weeks and cost anywhere from $2,000-$14,000.
Some coding bootcamp graduates have also found success as Product Managers. Technically, you don’t need to know how to code from scratch to be a Product Manager. But the ability to get into the nitty-gritty coding is a powerful skill. At tech companies, Product Managers work closely with software engineers. Understanding the fundamentals of software development makes it easier to understand Developers, Engineers, Designers, which makes you much easier and more desirable to work with.
“As a Software Developer myself, I’m able to step into my customers’ shoes and look at how they’re experiencing problems and inefficiencies. I’m able to see what customers are asking for or complaining about,” Khaled Zaky, Product Manager and Product Management Instructor, points out that not only will your teammates benefit from your coding knowledge, your customers will, too.
As a Software Developer, you will have the technical skills you need to build a product. You’ll need to pick up the business, analytics, and marketing skills of a Product Manager to make your product successful through sales. Some people choose to attend both coding bootcamp or UX design bootcamp and product management bootcamp to build their own product and found their own startup.
Product Managers are in high demand and are an integral part of a company’s technical team. Large companies are always seeking quality Product Managers and people who have a good understanding of product development principles.
Product Management job titles include:
A good Product Manager can rise in the ranks from intern to VP of Product in 10 years or less. Product management bootcamp graduates can expect to secure Associate Product Manager roles for their first job.
There are different types of Product Managers. The specificity of the role depends on how large the company is. At larger companies, the Product Manager will focus on a specific part of product management, like strategy, function design, features launching, or feedback implementation.
A good product manager will have strong leadership skills and work well on a team. They will have knowledge of production standards, they might oversee a budget, develop sales strategies, create training materials, and develop product plans to increase sales. They’ll need to know how to use general office programs and have a basic knowledge of the main tools used by designers and developers for developing a product.
The product manager will be the liaison between the client, stakeholders, and the team who develops the app, including Designers and Developers. They’ll guide the project, make decisions, manage a timeline, and analyze every step along the way.
Here’s what Product Managers do in their own words:
|Product Manager Job||Average Salary|
|Entry-level Product Manager||$65,000|
|Product Manager (tech industry)||$95,426|
|Chief Product Officer (CPO)||$183,000|
While the Project Manager and Product Manager roles overlap occasionally in skills like time management and leadership (and having the word manager in their title), the two roles are different. The Project Manager role compliments the Product Manager’s role by executing the plans made by the Product Manager.
The Product Manager is like the CEO of a product. They set the vision for a product that needs to be built – from a physical product to software to services. The product lifecycle starts in development and ends with launching.
The Product Manager gathers every necessary requirement and prioritizes them. They analyze and market test the product for viability. They have knowledge of everything from business and marketing to basic technology used to build the product. They keep the project organized and on track from start to finish. They update the product over time and continue to keep it marketable and useful.
A Project Manager is someone who acts on the Product Manager’s vision. Projects are on time endeavors that are usually a part of creating the product or service. It has a definitive start and end date and defined outcomes. They make sure it is executed based on the Product Manager’s prescribed timeline and adheres to the budget. Project managers tackle functional issues while the Product Manager tackles the big, technical issues.
A solid Product Manager will need to know how to use product management tools in order to stay organized and build prototypes. They’ll also need to be a strong leader who is ready to say “no” when necessary. Your product manager resume should show any applicable previous experience as well as industry tools.
Be prepared to talk about your background, your management skills, your goals for the future, and how you work on a team. Recruiters will want to know how you work on a team. One question you’re most likely to be asked is, “How do you say no to people?” As a manager, it’s your responsibility to be able to steer the team. Sometimes this means saying no to your teammates or to stakeholders. You might have to make decisions about the product’s timeline, financial implications, or even the choice to launch a product or not.
You’ll also likely get questions about your background which you can spin to demonstrate transferable skills from your previous experiences. Being able to spin your background in a useful way is especially important for those changing careers from fields that do not involve business, marketing, design, or tech. Product development takes time. Your commitment to the industry and to the company you’re interviewing is important. Be ready to talk about your goals for the future, what you’re looking forward to, and maybe even how your background proves you are loyal to your previous jobs.
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