Product Managers: the Mini-CEOs
Product managers are like mini-CEOs who work in collaboration with numerous different departments within a company, including research and development, advertising, sales and public relations; in short, they basically oversee all the processes that come into play for delivering a particular product to the consumers. They estimate the demand for a product and identify potential customers. Besides, these professionals oversee the development and planning of advertising and marketing strategies.
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A Day in the Life of a Product Manager
It would be a fair assessment to say that product managers have to be adept at multitasking. However, these professionals have an expertise in their own core area. In other words, product managers do a little bit of everything while focusing on the sales and success of their product. Some of the tasks that these experts carry out on a daily basis include:
Planning from a technical perspective
Figuring out which features to include in the website, if any
Helping out with marketing the site
Addressing the users directly
Helping the executive team formulate a strategic vision for the future.
Coordinating with different departments
Being a product manager can be quite exciting and challenging at the same time. Though you might not be a part of the senior management in the preliminary stages, you will have control over developing, managing and marketing a specific product line. In a way, as a product manager, you have to be business savvy and also have creativity.
Personality Traits for Product Managers
Becoming a product manager requires that you have certain abilities that make you stand out. In fact, this profession is suitable for people with good mathematical skills as well as those that possess a mix of both creative thinking and analytical reasoning. If you feel that you are able to influence people, this profession could be suitable for you. In addition, this work can be fitting for those who have an ability to manage complex information.
How to Become Product Manager Get a College Degree
There is no precise road map to become a product manager. Many product managers come from different backgrounds. But there are some educational programs that may possibly help you acquire the knowledge and skills that can be useful to qualify for positions in this field.
You can work towards a bachelor's degree in business or related fields, during which you may study a variety of courses such as:
The master’s degree in business administration can also be very beneficial for aspiring product managers. According to The Wall Street Journal, “Most recruiters in the product management field say that they require their candidates to have a master's degree in business administration before they even walk through the door.”
If you choose to enroll in an MBA degree program will include instruction in topics of business and finance. Some common courses in this advanced degree may include:
Acquire Training On-The-Job
As you will have to manage products of varied types, you may be required to undergo on-the-job training before you can be considered for a product manager position. The onsite training sessions will help you learn about the various features of a product as well as acquire expertise to manage it.
Is Experience Required?
Most employers look for individuals with considerable experience before they can be placed in the position of managing a product or a brand. You may be able start your career from an entry-level position such as a marketing assistant or a communications assistant to gain valuable experience in the field.
What kinds of skills are preferred?
A variety of skills are needed to become a successful product manager. Those of you who are interested in this line of work must possess:
Leadership skills - Leadership skills are absolutely essential for product managers. You should be able to inspire others and lead teams.
Strong communication skills - Since you need to deal with lots of people within your organization as well as outside, you must possess strong verbal and written communication.
Organizational skills - You should be able to prioritize your work, as product management is all about multi-tasking.
Team building skills - Besides having an ability to lead teams, you must also be a team player, as product managers are required to coordinate with people across all departments of a business, including communications, marketing, research and development, and supply chain.
Math and finance skills - Math and finance skills are also important for product managers. In the absence of these skills you will not be able to examine all aspects of profit and loss for your product.
Good judgment, time management and the ability to work under stress is also very important for product managers. With these skills you will be able to manage, develop, and implement product marketing activities to maximize sales of a product.
What is the Job Market like for Product Managers?
According to BLS, the career prospects for product managers can be gauged from those of promotions, advertising and marketing managers. Their employment is expected to increase by 12% from 2012 to 2022. Advertising, and marketing campaigns will continue to be critical for organizations because they need to expand their market share.
How Much Can You Make?
The US Bureau of Labor Statistics reported that professionals having occupations similar to that of production managers, such as advertising, marketing and promotions managers earned a median annual salary of $115,750 in 2012. Depending on the company and industry and whether they hold MBA degrees, such managers can possibly earn higher.
What to Expect from this Field?
According to studies, most product management professionals are satisfied with their careers. Many product managers get quick promotions, as reported by the Wall Street Journal. While working as a product manager, you can increase your chances of being promoted to brand manager after a couple of years if you demonstrate creativity and innovative thinking.
Product managers are ultimately the most dedicate promoters of their respective products. Adding a ‘wow’ factor to your product and making the perfect seem even better is what being a product manager is all about.