Product Manager: Career Path

Being in product management leads to exciting opportunities and even executive positions. It's a career path that is welcoming to career changers. Experience is valued and needed.

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What does the Product Manager career path entail?

Product Manager

Building a product is hard and systematic skills in the space are needed. Product managers shape a product and are often the ones taking charge of changes and tracking success metrics.

That core position has its upsides: Great product managers experience immense career growth and can lead to director, VP and even C-level positions quite quickly.

For career changers, the job is also attractive. It's a leadership position that pays well above 6 figures on average and values experience from any kind of professional background.

Best books to explore the Product Management career path.

A well-written and thorough book can be an amazing path to build deeper understanding and also act as a handbook as you discover the internet's vast resources.

These are our and our experts top picks to get started building career-relevant skills.

Product Leadership

Product Leadership

What's better to build your understanding of product management than to build your very own product? This book walks you through how venture studios like Google Venture launch products fast and successfully.

The Art of Product Management

The Art of Product Management

Released in 2008, the Art of Product Management has truly stood the test of time and is among the top-selling management books, even today! A must-have in the library of any fresh product manager.

Hooked: How to Build Habit-Forming Products

Hooked: How to Build Habit-Forming Products

As Product Manager, user engagement is always at the top of your mind. The best way to have engaged users is to create habit-forming products. Nir Eyal walks us through the inner workings of almost addicting social apps and boils down how you can use the same mechanisms for good.

Shape Up

Shape Up

Shape Up is coming out of the product factory Basecamp. Having been in business for over a decade, both as agency and product company, they have developed a unique and well-tested approach to product management.

Badass: Making Users Awesome

Badass: Making Users Awesome

People love being empowered and your product's users are no exception to that. Find research and methods about how to make your users powerful and successful when using your product.

Measure What Matters: OKRs

Measure What Matters: OKRs

OKRs are well-established in data-driven organizations. This book by John Doerr talks about what OKRs to use and how to implement them right to focus on the right things.

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Courses to deepen your Product Management skills.

These days, courses are no longer a sequence of videos. They are usually accompanied by projects and a learning community, keeping you accountable and on the path.

Our experts recommend these courses, from free selections to paid programs.

Product Management Specialization

Product Management Specialization

Doing things by the book is always a good foundation to start from. The University of Virgina has a top-rated product management course on Coursera – a great starting point to learn the basics and ease your way into Product Management.

Product School

Product School

For quite a few years now, Product School is the go-to place for folks who want to change their careers into Product Management in the form of a more traditional school and course approach. If you are serious about the change, Product School could be a great chance!

One Week PM

One Week PM

Online, One Week PM is handled as one of the leading online courses for new product managers in the otherwise surprisingly sparse environment. With over 2,000 students worldwide, it also comes with a ton of social proof from people that took the course and used it to claim their dream career as PM.

eCornell Product Management Certificate

eCornell Product Management Certificate

Online or not, having Cornell on your resumé is never a bad sign. Their online branch is now offering a product management certification. Their small group course is three months long, with an estimated effort of around five hours per week.

Strategic Business Analytics Specialization

Strategic Business Analytics Specialization

Data and product management is inching closer and closer together every single day. The Essec Business School has seen that trend and has turned it into a course for technical product managers.

Please note: This specialization is rather technical and requires some stats and programming knowledge.

Get the guidance you need on the Product Manager career path

There is no better source of accountability and motivation than having a personal mentor. What used to be impossible to find is now just two clicks away! All mentors are vetted & hands-on!

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I'm a bit of a unique PM in that I have worked in design, engineering, data science, and consulting, all prior to becoming a PM and working at startups and big tech firms. The differentiating factor that I can bring as a mentor is that I'm here to really understand …

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Working with Startup Founders and Product Managers. I hold a degree in marketing and have spent the past 10 years collaborating with startups, small businesses, and large corporations, assisting them in Launching New Products, Finding Product-Market Fit, and Scaling. My main areas of expertise include: – Creating Product Strategy and …

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Hi! I'm a product manager and entrepreneur with 10 years of experience scaling product at top tier Silicon Valley companies like Shopify and Meta (Oculus, Instagram and Facebook). As a business grad and Canadian I had to hustle my way into Product Management and the US. So if your dream …

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TLTR I can assist you in the following areas * Advisory from the idea to the startup * Technical Project Management * Product Management and Ownership * IT System Architecture * Requirements Engineering * XR Consulting and Workshops * Medical Software Development * Fullstack Application Development, comfort zone NodeJS / …

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Vicki would be the perfect match for fresh graduates and mentees looking for first-time startup advice (do's & don't's), tips on coordinating an international remote team, filmmaking/ VFX portfolio reviews or to simply find out how to transition from another country and make your mark in the United States (including …

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Hey there, I'm Angelina I started my career as a graduate trainee at Maybank, the largest bank in Malaysia. After 2 years of rotating in the different departments, I decided to permanently join the digital side of the bank, where I worked on projects relating to mobile banking and payments. …

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The Product Management must-reads you shouldn't miss.

Key articles and posts of industry experts can help you get a better picture of what you are getting into.

In our opinion, these are some must-reads you really shouldn't miss.

Jason Fried: One door at a time

Jason Fried's Basecamp is one of the most successful independent product business of the last 20 years and when there's something to read, one should better look closely.

It's easy to think that as a product manager you need to know what to do from day one, but Jason argues differently here: It is OK to take it all one step at a time, before trying to become the greatest.

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Harvard Biz Review: What It Takes to Become a Great Product Manager

There's no such thing as a typical product manager. Most great product managers come from their own background in design, engineering or marketing to claim the position.

So, if there was an end-to-end PM school, what would they need to teach? Customer interviews, feature roadmapping, resource allocation. All the things you should have at least a look at are in here.

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Alex Mitchell: Ways to Stand Out in the PM Job Market

It's hard to stand out in the PM job market. Product management is an attractive career and there aren't all that many positions out there. So, it's all about improving your odds.

Alex shows us seven ways how to improve our profile and level up our skills to claim that dream job of ours.

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Opportunities and projects in the Product Management space.

In the end, advancing your career is all about getting the right opportunities at the right time and a good portion of luck.

These are some interesting things going on in the Product Management space and you probably don't want to miss them.

IndieHackers: Build your own product

Building your very own product puts you on the radar of any product-focused organization hiring managers, designers and engineers. Going from nothing to something requires and builds top-notch prioritization skills, the ability to stay scrappy and shows that you can get things done.

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Join an early-stage organization

To get your foot in the door and make a difference, early-stage startups and businesses are exactly the way to go.

While the risk may be higher than at FAANG and other established businesses, you can also quickly build a lot more ownership and extend your portfolio in these companies.

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Growing into a Senior Product Manager role pays off – $40,000 up to per year.

Not only is the progression from individual Product Manager to a Senior role a natural progression, it also makes all the difference in your average salary.

On a global average, Senior Product Manager receive a $40,000 salary hike over entry-level Product Managers when they go from individual contributor to senior personnel.

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Related career paths

If you like Product Management careers, you might also be interested in these other career paths.

Get the help you need & advance your career

Product management is a competitive career path, but one that hugely pays off. Are you ready to make the jump? Our mentors would be more than happy to help.