Product Manager roles are highly sought after, and a wide variety of possible paths into the profession are available.
Here are the top five most common paths to your first Product Manager job:
- CS student from top university. PMs are often recruited from the top performing students in computer science programs at target schools.
- Engineering undergrad and recent MBA. This combination highlights the coveted combination of entrepreneurial skill and technical knowledge.
- Adjacent role. Turning another role within the company into more responsibility as a PM.
- Entrepreneur. Founders have experience with the creative and technical nature of PM, plus a leadership background.
- Domain Expert. Detailed expertise is an advantage when a company wants to focus on a specific area.
Landing a PM job is hard. However, if you’re already in the tech industry, you likely have a strong set of skills that make you a great candidate. Getting that coveted offer comes down to one question: How can you demonstrate to employers that you have what it takes, especially without prior experience?
5 tips on transitioning into Product Management
Make sure you understand Product Manager responsibilities, and what your transferable skills are
Try to get PM responsibilities as part of your current role!
Network, network, network
Apply to internal PM openings
Do more than just apply – reach out to the hiring manager directly
Bonus Tip: Remember you’re an asset to your company
It’s beneficial to your company that they train and ultimately retain you
A liberal arts education can be more valuable than just a coding degree for a product manager; you need both technical skills and communication skills. A liberal arts degree can provide: analysis, communication, writing, and research skills.
To become a (good) PM
Be curious and versatile
Phase 1: Gather user data on yourself - know why you want to become a PM
Phase 2: Identify the product and sector; make sure you are passionate about both
Phase 3: Determine the strengths and weaknesses of your personality
Phase 4: Improve yourself; acquire some familiarity with coding languages in order to be taken seriously
Phase 5: Get the job and ship your product
Cater your pitch and vision to your target company.