How to Become a Product Manager (2023 Update)

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a product manager sitting next to a project manager

Project managers are responsible for the ideation and creation of products. When the product reaches the market, the project manager takes responsibility for how consumers respond to its features, packaging, and marketing. Product managers are essential in maintaining authority over a product’s generation, release, and public response. If you want to discover more details about this rewarding career, here is how to become a product manager. 

What Is a Product Manager?

A product manager develops and delivers products throughout the entire development life cycle. These professionals must understand the business model concerning profitability, know the opportunities and limits of technology, and can conceptualize the end product. The product manager will often need to lead the software engineering and product development teams. The product manager will take ownership of the product’s vision during the development process, leading to either the product’s failure or success. 

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What Does a Product Manager Do?

a project manager looking at a briefing

The project manager will identify the larger business objectives. They need to understand how the users’ needs can be met while defining how the product can be seen as a success. Project managers will lead their engineers and developers to bring a product to life and offer support after the release. Often, the specific job responsibilities of the project manager will vary by company. Project managers start by analyzing and researching the current market and consumers. After that, they will continue to lead in the design and development stage. Finally, the project manager led the team through the prototyping, testing, and bug-fixing stage before the product’s launch.

Typically, a project manager will spend their time in meetings, discussing the project’s details with company stakeholders to ensure that they are aligned with the common goals of the project. Project managers work in a technical role, but they need to convey their ideas strategically and persuasively to help a business see the value in their work. 

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Product Manager Educational Backgrounds

Project managers come from a wide range of diverse professional and educational backgrounds. There are several ways to become a project manager in your career. Many project managers started in different fields and eventually made their way into project management. The role of the project manager is a senior position. Those who are interested should have a background in UI/UX design, web development, product development, business, and other roles within a tech-based company. While there are no specific education requirements for the position, many project managers will have an advanced degree. Most project managers have a bachelor’s degree, but many will continue their studies. Professional certifications and a bachelor’s degree are also highly desired in the field. Those working in the field must understand the current market and see innovative technology trends.

Product Manager Salaries

Generally, project managers can expect to make an annual salary of $98,114, plus there are opportunities to earn bonuses with the completion of projects. Depending on your location, you could see a higher range in salary. The position of the project manager continues to be in high demand, growing over the next decade. The number of project manager roles has also increased over the past three years. 

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What Skills Do Product Managers Need?

Prospective project managers will need a combination of soft and hard skills. They need to understand how to read data. These professionals most efficiently translate and interpret data for their projects. Depending on the job, the project manager may need to learn specific technical skills, such as coding. These skills can help them understand the needs of their product development teams. These skills will also allow the project manager to flag and solve any problems throughout the project’s development processes. 

Project managers also must understand how to work within a business environment. These professionals know how to give consumers what they want while making a profit. A good sense of business is almost a must for this role. Finally, project managers need to have empathy for the customers’ concerns. As a result, the project manager will need to understand the needs of their target customer and anticipate any pain points with the product. 

Product Manager Career Paths

Project managers are often senior-level positions, but the career path is varied. Many individuals will begin in a related field, such as design, user experience, engineering, business analysis, management, or marketing. Once someone starts to move through the company, they may have the title of Associate Product Manager, overseeing small projects and budgets. Over time, professionals can reach the product manager or senior project management ranks. If successful, you could qualify for the roles of Director of Product, VP of Products, or Chief Product Officer. 

Reasons To Become a Product Manager

a man and a woman sitting next to each other on a desk

Individuals become project managers for various reasons, from helping solve people’s problems to achieving a higher salary. Some of the other reasons include the following:


Project managers can be found in any size company, from a small startup to a large corporation. A few individuals can choose to work as freelancers, working on a diverse range of products and ideas. Some will continue their career with the same company, helping to bring several types of products to the marketplace. This career can fit anyone’s lifestyle, giving them the flexibility to shape their career. While the business responsibilities vary from business to business, project management allows many to choose the right work-life balance that works for them. 

Rewarding Experience

In the project management field, individuals will often see a rapid career progression. They will have the opportunity to work with executives, stakeholders, and product development teams – all of which can offer a rewarding experience to a project manager. Bringing a finalized product to the field is also satisfying, especially if that product has the opportunity to improve the lives of the consumers. 

Ample Learning Opportunities

Project management is not a job for someone who wants to remain stagnant in their position. These individuals need to collaborate with people involved in diverse disciplines. Every day brings the opportunity to discover new information and exchange knowledge with other team members. A project manager will interact with other sales, support, engineering, and design professionals. This position gives the project manager plenty of chances to continue their education, whether in the classroom or in real-life scenarios. The project manager can acquire new skills and bring that knowledge to the marketplace by pursuing new opportunities. 

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Start Your Project Manager Career Today

If you want to start towards a successful career as a project manager, it will take a lot of hard work, business and technological skills, and a bit of determination. These positions can be very rewarding in both the economic and personal sense. Project managers are responsible for many departments but are instrumental in bringing ideas to life. 

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