Product managers overtime have become indispensable in modern day set up of companies. Software companies are usually in need of someone capable of envisioning a company’s products and coordinating all activities that will ensure that the product makes it to the users. Such a person is referred to as a product manager in most software companies and IT establishments.
While these don’t sound like complicated tasks, aspirants to the product management sphere are often oblivious of what a software manager does, or what it takes to be one. To earn the usually huge salary of the typical product manager, you must be willing to navigate the hurdles.
In this article, you’ll learn about product management and everything it entails. In addition, I’ll show you how to acquire the qualifications of the average American product manager, from the necessary academic qualifications to the secondary technical skills.
Product Manager Job Description
The roles of a product manager typically vary by the organization they’re working with. However, most employers will agree that the primary function of a product manager is to oversee the life of a product in its entirety. It now depends on the specific organization to decide where this begins and ends.
The typical product manager job description should make the professional responsible for planning and executing strategies throughout the product lifecycle. It involves collecting information from customers to learn what they want in the organization’s product and using that information to design a product that customers will love.
From this description, it’s easy to deduce why product managers must work closely with other professionals from the design, engineering, support, and marketing teams. The average product manager should also have extensive knowledge of the company’s aspirations and goals to enable the design of products that reflect these.
In addition to those primary functions, a product manager may also be required to initiate partnerships with other companies to further drive sales. They also represent the companies in situations where there might be an emphasis on the product since they’re in the best position to describe it.
Generally, a product manager is a leader within the company, as it takes leadership to work across multiple departments in a bid to create a product. In most cases, they’re one of the most senior members of the company, making up the executive committee controlling the organization’s affairs.
Academic Requirements for a Product Manager
Product management is a senior role in any organization, requiring professionals with a high level of education, at least. While experience plays a large role in the selection process for a product manager, you won’t stand a chance if you don’t have the necessary certificates to back up your years of experience.
At the very least, you must possess a bachelor’s degree in business administration, products management, or marketing to have any chance at a product management job. While a bachelor’s degree is borderline sufficient, you should shoot for something better for a realistic chance.
In the real world, most organizations will be unwilling to hire a product manager without a Master’s Degree at the very least. From this, it’s evident that you’ll need a Master’s or even a Ph.D. to compete favorably in the product management world, depending on the organization.
In addition to these degrees, you can also take classes relating to product management to build your experience. You can also learn to use the common software that you may be required to use as a product manager in the companies where you’re aspiring to work.
Secondary Requirements for a Product Manager
While the number of certificates you have is probably the easiest way to prove your knowledge of product management, they’re all useless during an interview and your actual day-to-day job. For those, you’ll need some actual real-life skills, most of which you may not be taught in the classroom.
Here are some of the secondary skills you should consider acquiring to help your chances of landing a product management job in any American or Canadian establishment.
- Time management skills
As a product manager, you should have insane time management skills to be able to keep up with your typical routine. A product manager works with basically everyone in an organization, and they get in so many meetings that they never have enough working hours per day.
By prioritizing the necessary tasks and doing the unnecessary ones later, you can get a lot of stuff done within the limited time you have. Consider taking several time management courses online to up your chances of being a productive product manager.
- Communication skills
As mentioned several times in this article, a product manager interacts with most other professionals in the organization, creating a legitimate need for excellent communication skills. If you’re incapable of getting your points across both verbally and in written form, you should probably become a programmer or something.
- Business skills
It’s a basic requirement of every product manager to understand how a business works and what it takes to run a business. Product managers make huge business decisions that make or break the success of a company individually. Without the necessary knowledge of business, they’re more likely to make huge blunders that may lead to the breakdown of their associated company.
- Technical skills
While a product manager shouldn’t necessarily be an expert programmer (unless they work in software development), they shouldn’t be lacking in technical skills either. The average product manager should have a basic understanding of software development and advanced proficiency in office programs.
Since they also come up with the ideas for most of the company’s products, a good knowledge of technical writing will be a plus. Depending on the employer, the product manager might even be required to write the documentation for the company’s offerings.
A product manager is possibly the most revealing job title out there. Professionals in this sector technically manage the company’s product throughout its lifecycle, working with multiple other professionals to bring the best product to customers.
If you’re aspiring to become a product manager, you should first learn how to run a business. When you gain proficiency in that, you can acquire the secondary skills and experience, eventually landing you a product management job.