Career in Product Management

Board-Infinity-Co-founder-&-COO-Abhay-GuptaScope and Demand of Product Management

The Indian economy is one of the fastest growing economies in the World. The tech ecosystem has switched from services to a product and innovation approach, both in the domestic as well as global markets. Due to this reason, scope for product management jobs will see a spike. It’s a fairly new and technical field being recognized by more colleges, universities, and businesses every day.

Moreover, there is a huge talent gap, so a person with the right domain expertise having the requisite skills will be highly sought after.

Traditionally, product managers from a business or technical background are in greater demand than those that are in the design or marketing field. However the product landscape is quickly evolving. The importance of a well-designed product that serves up a delightful user experience cannot be ignored.

Product Management is all about identifying and defining the right problem. Our issue is that we are so overwhelmed with the feature requirements to be built that the backlog is always full of features and ideas. The feature set may be coming from business teams, customer service teams, from customers or may be the product manager’s own idea.

It is an amalgamation of all 3 functions – Strategic Product Management, Technical Product Management and Go to market (product marketing).

A product manager is required to have a lot of cross functional knowledge. Insight into these roles such as finance, people management, analysis, software development, etc. will play a huge role when it comes to salary.  Apart from the employer, location is also a big factor. Studies show that product managers in Bangalore earn 17% more than the national average. Other locations suitable for product managers are Pune and Chennai. Delhi was found to be the worst city in this regard as the average pay is 28% less than the national average. 

The demand in the service industry won’t decline and at the same time more and more companies will drift towards products. For any company to succeed they need great products and to produce great products you need great product managers. Product managers are the silent heroes of innovation

Product Managers are hired a lot by IT companies. In addition to IT, they can also apply to other job sectors such as financial services, manufacturing companies, banks and healthcare. 45% of product managers work in the IT sector and they take up the majority of the pie. Healthcare and education sectors stand at 17% and 14% respectively.

The role of a product manager seeps into many areas of an organisation and they wear many hats. Product management is to set business goals and evaluate performance with the help of analytics. They also work in close collaboration with stakeholders and other departments of the company to ensure delivery of the product. They are responsible for all roles such as design, finance, advertising, fulfilment engineering and more.

Ways to be a product manager

To become a product manager you will require a bachelor’s degree in business or a related field. Those who have finished their degree in economics, advertising, marketing, communications and statistics are usually preferred.

Some soft skills that a good product manager should possess are leadership skills, strategic thinking, time management, negotiation, etc.

Here are a few steps that you can start taking today to start your product manager career path:

Research

You can’t become a Product Manager in a day. Realistically you can’t become anything in a day. To pursue a career in a field, you first need to learn or at least know enough about it.

So the 1st step is to do as much research as possible. Read as much as you can about the topic online, follow a few blogs, follow product managers that work for big companies on social media, read a book about it, etc.Speak To One

Ask if any of your friends or ask your relatives if they know any product managers. Try to get in touch with one, you’ll learn so much about the product manager career path when you directly speak to someone who is a product manager.

Harsh Saxena who took the product management course from Board Infinity says, “The 1:1 coaching guidance from the coach really put things into perspective and helped me look at things analytically”.

Experiment / Internships

You have to remember that you’re just a beginner in this field. A company will only hire you when they see the enthusiasm in you because you might not necessarily have any product management relevant skills. (Don’t expect much pay either, do it mainly for the experience, especially if you’re just a fresher).

Start thinking like a Product Manager

Do yourself a favour now and start thinking in this mind set all day, every day, especially if you want a career in product management. When you use something that was so easy that you didn’t think about it, take a moment to appreciate that! And think about how hard it probably was for that product team to deliver something so beautifully simple.

Some companies also hire candidates that have completed their master’s degree in management. A work experience of 2-3 years is usually preferred but you can start as a fresher as well. In case you are in a different career path, you can look to transition within the organisation itself.

If you follow these 4 steps in this order then you’ll be able to start your career in product management in about 6 months or 1 year. You can upskill and take up several certification courses from platforms like Board Infinity which offer 1:1 Mentoring and placement assistance. You can check out Board Infinity which has a comprehensive course on Product Management. They offer 1:1 mentoring from top industry professionals in the field.

(The views expressed in this article are by Abhay Gupta, Co-founder & COO, Board Infinity. Onlineandyou.com doesn’t own any responsibility for it.)

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