We interact with aspiring Product Managers every day and answer quite a lot of common questions. One of the most frequently asked questions is how to become a Product Manager?
Candidates planning a career in Product Management are often confused about the first step to take, which degree to pursue, skills required, and much more. To make it easier for you, in this article we share the 4 steps you must follow to become a Product Manager.
Let’s get started.
Step 1: Learn Product Management Fundamentals
The first step to begin your Product Manager journey is to learn the fundamentals of Product Management. But, which degree is needed to become a Product Manager? Does a Product Manager need an MBA? Such questions often worry aspiring Product Managers. As a common answer to all these queries, there is no particular degree needed to become a Product Manager. The basic requirement to plan a career in Product Management is a bachelor’s degree.
So, how to learn Product Management? Well, you can start by reading Product Management books and refer to some freely available resources. Further, you can also consider a Product Management certification.
While learning Product Management fundamentals, you must master the five pillars of Product Management. Understanding the basics of Product Management is crucial to develop business acumen, analytical and problem-solving skills, market intelligence, and engineering and design basics.
The 5 pillars of Product Management include:
- Product Strategy
- Product Engineering
- Product Design
- Product Launch
- Product Analytics
While learning the basics of Product Management, you should also read up on the different kinds of Product Management roles. This is the best time to identify and understand which Product Management role suits you best. Talk to product leaders to get insights on different PM roles, specific skills required, job profiles, target companies, and much more.
Step 2: Product Management Skills
To be successful in any field, it is necessary to master the required skill set. As there is no specified career track to become a Product Manager, learning required skills become all the more important in the case of Product Management. The most important Product Management skills include:
Whether you are from an engineering background or not, as a Product Manager you will be required to interact with the engineering team regularly. Thus, having sound technical knowledge is crucial. It must be noted, you do not need to learn how to code or develop apps exclusively, but you should know the process that goes behind it.
From engaging with stakeholders and users to interacting with varied teams, as a Product Manager, you need to have excellent communication and interpersonal skills. You will have to influence teams to get the desired results and that requires effective communication.
To develop a product in line with the company’s vision and the one that is loved by the customers, you need to master business skills. Business skills include understanding revenues, cashflows, profit and loss, product strategy, marketing, and research capabilities. These are all necessary skills to develop a profitable product.
As a Product Manager, you will be responsible for leading a product from ideation to launch and beyond. To make the right decisions and measure the impact of those decisions, you need strong analytical skills. This is one of the reasons why candidates are often asked analytical questions in Product Manager interviews. Product Managers should have knowledge of different analytical tools and metrics used to study user behaviour, trends, market estimates, and measure the performance of a product.
Step 3: Learn Product Management Tools
As a Product Manager, you will have to engage with users, stakeholders, engineering, designing, marketing, and analytics teams on an everyday basis. With a lot to juggle, you are going to need some help. This is where Product Management tools come in handy.
When we speak of Product Management tools we do not talk about conventional spreadsheets and presentations. There are tools created specifically to make the process of Product Management more efficient and effective. Therefore, being proficient in one or more Product Management tools is quite necessary to be a successful Product Manager.
Some of the popular Product Management tools include Pendo, Trello, Gainsight, Jira, Framer, ProductPlan, UXPin, Figma, Session Stack, Hotjar, and Confluence.
Step 4: Get Product Management Ready
Now that we have covered the basics, skills, and tools for Product Management, the next step is to get ready to crack a Product Management role. To land a Product Management role one needs to become a part of the Product Management community, understand PM trends, interact with industry experts, and network with fellow Product Managers.
Another important step to becoming a successful Product Manager is to build a product portfolio. A product portfolio should include your sample works (including the unsuccessful ones), freelance gigs, side projects, writeups, websites, and everything else that throws light on your Product Management skills.
We hope you found this article interesting and useful. If you want us to cover any specific Product Management related topics, please let us know in the comments section below.