How to Become a Product Manager

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How to Become a Product Manager: Career Path Guide

If you want to become a product manager, you first need to determine if this career path is a good fit for your skills, interests and personality traits.

 

If the following description sounds like you, then you’re probably well suited for a career as a product manager:

 

• You are able to reduce a complex project into manageable tasks and prioritize them

• You have an understanding of what makes a good user experience

• You have strong opinions about what makes great products

• You enjoy managing the work of people and delegating tasks

• You are able to balance the need for a high profit margin with high quality

• You have a results-oriented approach to work activities

 

Below we've outlined what you'll need to begin a career as a product manager. We've also included helpful information for this career, such as job description, job duties, salary expectations, a list of possible employers and much more!

 

 

Education Needed to Become a Product Manager

There is no standard educational requirement for becoming a product manager, although many employers prefer you to have a related degree or post-secondary diploma in business or engineering. Employers in particular industries may require you to have completed specialized courses or have related experience.

 

For example, employers that develop computer and internet products may require their product managers to have a degree in computer science or a closely related field.

 

 

 

Product Manager Job Description

Product managers are responsible for the management of new or existing products within an organization or business. These products can be built from existing ideas, or the product manager can help create new ideas.

 

The main goal of a product manager is to ensure that the product they oversee is profitable, of high quality, and delivers a great user experience. Product managers are also typically responsible for the guidance of the team that is charged with the improvement, or design and development of that product. 

 

Product managers may work in almost every sector of industry; they may oversee the development of products ranging from oilfield service equipment, to internet service packages. 

 

 

Product Manager Job Duties

• Manage the product line from idea stage through to completion

• Manage the strategic planning and tactical activities surrounding the product

• Manage the work of employees involved in product development

• Specify market needs for current and future products

• Conduct market research by speaking with customers and other relevant parties

• Develop go-to-market plan, and liaise with all other relevant company departments in order to implement plan

• Analyze potential partner relationships for the product

 

 

Who Creates Jobs for Product Managers?

Product managers are typically employed on a full-time or consulting basis by small, medium and large organizations that create products or service packages. Such types of organizations may include:

 

• Management consulting firms

• Marketing firms and marketing consulting firms

• Information technology companies

• Telecommunications companies

• Software development companies

• Computer application and video game development companies

• Recreational, residential, industrial and commercial product development, manufacturing and distribution companies

 

 

Find Product Manager Job Postings

Product Manager Jobs - Canada

 

Product Manager Jobs - United States

 

 

 

Experience Needed to Become a Product Manager

The experience needed to become a product manager varies by employer. Some product managers may start out as product developers and gradually work their way up to a management position. Other product managers may be hired directly out of university upon graduation, without any relevant work experience. 

 

Product managers use marketing, management, strategic, organizational and promotional skills to advance a product from the idea stage to the point it reaches the market. These skills may be acquired as a result of work experience, education, and most often, a combination of the two.

 

 

Skills Needed to Become a Product Manager

In order to become effective in a career as a product manager, and perform your job duties with competence, you need to posses a certain set of skills, including:

 

• You are able to reduce a complex project into manageable tasks and prioritize them

• You are able to reduce vast quantities of data into key business decision points

• You have an understanding of what makes a good user experience

• You have an understanding of the technology involved in creating the product

• You have a demonstrated ability to think strategically

• You are able to build trusting professional relationships with key stakeholders

• You understand how the product fits into the overall direction and vision of the organization

• You are able to balance the need for a high profit margin with high quality

 

 

Characteristics of Successful Product Managers

In order to enjoy performing the duties of a product manager, you need to have certain personality traits. Taking enjoyment from your duties as a product manager is important, as it helps you maintain a positive attitude towards your work, which usually leads to having a long and successful career.

 

• You have strong opinions about what makes great products

• You enjoy sharing/debating your ideas with your team

• You enjoy managing the work of people and delegating tasks

• You are responsible and accountable

• You have a results oriented approach to work activities

• You can stay focused on the user experience that will be delivered by the product

 

 

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Product Manager Salary Level

The salary level of product managers can vary depending on factors such as:

 

• Their level of education

• Their level of experience and aptitude

• The size and type of their employer

• The region in which they are employed

 

There is no reliable salary information available specifically for Product Managers, although we can get a good idea of their level of earnings by looking at the salary level of workers in closely related professions.

 

Product Manager Salary Alberta: According to the 2011 Alberta Wage and Salary Survey, Albertans working in the Manufacturing Managers occupational group earn an average wage of $42.71 per hour. The Survey also states that workers in the Sales, Marketing and Advertising Managers occupational group earn an average wage of $44.78 per hour.

 

Product Manager Salary Canada: According to Service Canada, Canadian workers in the Manufacturing Managers occupational group earn an average salary of $71,895 per year. Service Canada also states that Canadian workers in the Sales, Marketing and Advertising Managers occupational group earn an average salary of $75,545 per year.

 

Product Manager Salary United States: According to the United States Bureau of Labor Statistics, American workers in the Industrial Production Managers occupational group earn a median salary of $89,190 per year, and workers in the Marketing Managers occupational group earn a median salary of $133,700 per year.

 

 

Careers Similar to Product Manager

Listed below are careers in our database that are similar in nature to Product Manager, as they may involve many of the same skills, competencies and responsibilities.

 

Advertising Manager

Manufacturing Manager

Operations Manager

Product Analyst

Project Manager

 

 

References: Product Manager Career Information

Please use the references below to find more information on the various aspects of a career as a product manager.

 

Alberta Learning and Information Service website: alis.alberta.ca

MindTheProduct website: www.mindtheproduct.com

United States Bureau of Labor Statistics website: www.bls.gov

 

 

Scholarships for Becoming a Product Manager

Scholarships in Canada and the United States listed for majors that apply to becoming a Product Manager can be found on our All Scholarships by Major page.

 

Success Tip: Be sure to apply for any scholarships that you even barely qualify for, as there are millions of dollars of scholarships that go unused every year due to a lack of applicants!

 

 

Becoming a Product Manager: Applicable Majors

Studying one of the university majors listed below is an excellent starting point to becoming a product manager. Click on the links to find out what else you can do with these majors!

 


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