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With the digital boom in India, product management jobs have also become a hot trend. The job of product manager was always there but with a rapidly growing economy, a number of startups, and eCommerce companies, there’s never been a more exciting time to be a product manager. But, there is no fixed path for becoming a product manager. It’s just that you have to forge your own path into a product management career. This post will discuss how to become a product manager.
What is Product Management?
Product managers are general managers of a particular product or a portfolio of products. They are responsible for end-to-end management of the product, from market and customer requirements to working with the engineering team, testing the product and getting market feedback, pricing the product, working with the finance team on forecasting sales, developing a support plan, launching the product and finally meeting the customer adoptions, revenue and profit goals for the product. For example, a product manager in a consumer company such as Nestle may be responsible for managing the coffee products Nestle offers in the market. A product manager in Amazon may be responsible for managing one of the product lines or product category such as shoes or books offered online.
Product management lies at the intersection of business, technology, and design, combining strategy, marketing, leadership, and other skills with the end goal of launching an amazing product. It’s all about solving problems with technology and how people use that technology. Product management is very close to roles like brand management or project management. But, product managers often address more technical products, like; industrial goods, online services, software products or books, which fall under one particular name. As a product manager, you will be developing pricing, distributing, and promoting a particular product or line of products. As a PM, you are the voice of the users.
Successful product managers have an eye for customer and market needs, are very detailed oriented, can manage the end-to-end project, learn from the continuous engagement with engineering teams, support teams and customers, and are focused on execution, driving results.
Your work will never be complete, and users’ problems will never be 100% solved. It’s a weird world, but definitely fascinating. However, these are prime jobs – lucrative and sexy. Let’s have a look at how to get into product management. Know more about the Product Management Careers & Jobs by watching the 2.5 minutes video below.
Common myths about the Product Management Jobs
It’s also important to know some of the myths.
It’s not exactly a powerful leadership role, and you won’t directly manage people.
PM jobs pay well, but not like management consulting, financial services, or engineering management. The average annual salaries would be between INR 605, 677 and 2, 560, 554 (Source: payscale.com).
Product managers don’t write the codes, don’t do the UI/UX design, and don’t sell – well, technically. Product Managers ensure that the right product is built and it reaches the customers in the right way. This would mean research, strategy, and communication.
Product managers only meet with sales and customers, requiring a lot of travel. Many product managers are focused more on the day-to-day execution of product development and launch.
How to Become a Product Manager in India – Basic Steps
You can end up in a Product Management career path in almost any industry. But in India, few sectors provide more opportunities. Know more about the top industries in India for Product Management careers. PM jobs are not easy for fresh college graduates, and even MBA graduates. However, it’s not like you need to be an engineer or MBA graduate for becoming a product engineer. To be honest, there is no normal path to becoming a product manager. But, you could definitely try the following steps. Many successful product managers come from either the technical side of the business or from the marketing side. Some of the successful ones are also former operations managers.
Acquire the Essential Skills and Attributes
Being a product manager, you need to have a few technical skills. Besides, you must also develop and refine your skills in communication, selling, business acumen, out-of-box thinking, competitive, project management and market intelligence, ability to see the bigger picture, domain/industry knowledge, evangelism, persuasion, relationship development etc. Know more about the essential non-technical and essential technical product management skills.
Reading & Researching
You need to read a lot about what’s happening in the industry. Make a habit to read blogs and news on ProductHunt, TechCrunch, Growth Hacking, Ken Norton’s blog, Marty Cagan’s blog etc. You need to be social media savvy as well.
Identify and utilize your hobbies and interests
If you are into sports and cricket, you can consider positions in the gaming and e-sports industry. If photography is your hobby, explore positions in photo management or portfolio management companies.
Can’t stress more on this, and there is no alternative for this. Read Why Networking is the Most Effective Job Search Strategy.
You really need to be a self-starter. Don’t wait till the higher management asks you to solve the users’ problems.
Forge Your Way
To be honest, it’s tough to get in as a fresh graduate unless you are an MBA from a top-ranked B-School; still not easy though. Read Career Change from Software IT to Product Management after MBA. Masters in Engineering Management, Product Management, and Technology Management are also good alternatives. Besides, you could also pursue programs in Data Science or Business Analytics. If you want to start slow, go for some short online courses.
You should take a technical job or marketing job, sales job and work on the product. Product managers are like mini-GM or mini-CEO who work in collaboration with numerous different departments within a company, including research and development, advertising, sales, and public relations. 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 on 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.
- Developing business
- Solving problems
- Coordinating with different departments
Once you start handling the above duties, you need to impress the product owners, senior product folks, and stakeholders. You need to grasp every area of running a product business around pricing, marketing, technology, channel, etc. Go with the flow, and keep learning. You will get closer to product management with experience.