How To Become A Product Manager – The Complete Guide
Many people aspire to become a product manager because is an exciting yet challenging journey that requires a diverse blend of skills, knowledge, and experience.
What is a product manager and what do they do?
Here are the steps most people take
1. Build a solid educational foundation
While a specific degree is not always required, having an educational background in fields like business administration, computer science, engineering or design is beneficial. Consider pursuing a bachelor’s degree or higher in one of these areas.
Also, look into specialized courses or certifications that cover product management topics like product development, market research, project management, and user experience (UX) design. These can help strengthen your knowledge base.
2. Understand the industry context
3. Develop essential skills
Communication: Strong written and verbal skills are vital. Practice communicating concisely through documentation, roadmaps, presentations, and speech.
Analytics: Learn to leverage data, analyze metrics and make data-informed decisions. Become proficient with tools like Google Analytics, Mixpanel, Amplitude, Tableau, and Looker
Problem-solving: Learn how to break down complex issues, identify root causes, and develop solutions. Enhance your critical thinking abilities.
Leadership: Understand how to inspire and motivate cross-functional teams. Learn about different leadership styles and dynamics.
User focus: Adopt a user-centric mindset. Conduct user interviews and prioritize features based on user needs.
Technical knowledge: Learn basic coding, APIs and development processes to better collaborate with engineers.
4. Gain hands-on experience
Take on internships or entry-level associate PM roles to get exposed to product cycles.
Volunteer for internal PM-related projects and shadow product managers in your current role.
Work on side projects to bolster your skills. For example, build a simple website or mobile app.
These work well if you are relatively early in your career and have less concern for time, income, and responsibilities at home. However, for many, you cannot afford to take a step backward professionally with the resulting loss of income. What you can do is:
1. Leverage your transferable skills
2. Target mid-level positions
3. Network extensively
4. Focus on specific industries or companies
5. Consider consulting or contract roles
6. Upskill strategically
7. Build your personal brand
Write blog posts and speak at events to establish yourself as a thought leader. Share insights on Medium and LinkedIn.
8. Craft a compelling resume and cover letter
9. Look at startups and growing companies
10. Stay persistent and patient
11. Find mentors and network
Attend Meetups and conferences to connect with established PMs. Follow product leaders on social media.
Find a knowledgeable product management mentor who can provide invaluable guidance and advice.
Leverage LinkedIn and relevant PM groups to expand your professional network.
12. Build a portfolio
The path to product management is different for everyone. Do not assume or act as though there is one right way. It also requires continuous learning, adaptability, and product passion. With the right mix of education, personal branding, experience, skills, and persistence, you can transition into this career.
Stay determined. After all, it is unlikely that you can transition to product management next week of next month. However, with knowledge, networking and effort, you will be able to transition.
ABOUT JEFF ALTMAN, THE BIG GAME HUNTER
People hire Jeff Altman, The Big Game Hunter to provide No BS Career Advice globally because he makes many things in peoples’ careers easier. Those
things can involve job search, hiring more effectively, managing and leading better, career transition, as well as advice about resolving workplace issues. He is the host of “No BS Job Search Advice Radio,” the #1 podcast in iTunes for job search with over 2800 episodes.
You will find great info to help with your job search at my new site, JobSearch.Community Besides the video courses, books and guides, I answer questions from members daily about their job search. Leave job search questions and I will respond daily. Become an Insider+ member and you get everything you’d get as an Insider PLUS you can get me on Zoom calls to get questions answered. Become an Insider Premium member and we do individual and group coaching.
Also, subscribe to JobSearchTV.com on YouTube and No BS Job Search Advice Radio, the #1 podcast for job search with more than 2800 episodes over 12+ years.in Apple Podcast, Spotify, Google Play, Amazon Music and almost anywhere you listen or watch podcasts.
You can also have your #jobsearchquestions answered Tuesdays at noon Eastern. Search for Career Coach Office Hours on LinkedIn and mark that you’re attending. You’ll have access to the recording if you miss it live.
Schedule a discovery call to speak with me about coaching you during your job search at www.TheBigGameHunter.us to discuss one-on-one or group coaching with me
We grant permission for this post and others to be used on your website as long as a backlink is included to www.TheBigGameHunter.us and notice is provided that it is provided by Jeff Altman, The Big Game Hunter as an author or creator. Not acknowledging his work or providing a backlink to www.TheBigGameHunter.us makes you subject to a $1000 penalty which you proactively agree to pay.