Product Manager: what it does and how to become a

Do you know that delicacy that transports you to a magical childhood place? I hope I don’t spoil your memory, but have you ever thought that behind it professionals plotted how to generate this affective bond? And one of the most responsible for the final product – and this memory permanently stuck in your brain – is the Product Manager.

Okay, that was a little dramatic. But it’s still true.

This is because the Product Manager (PM), whose translation is Product Manager, leads the launch and improvement processes of a product or service, and is one of the central characters in its success.

The Product Manager figure has been evolving with the New Economy, which brought more possibilities when developing, launching, and improving a product, such as data analysis, testing and feedback culture, Artificial Intelligence, and Agile Methodologies.

And this mix of changes has greatly increased the demand for this professional. To give you an idea, the number of open positions grew 28% in 2020 compared to 2015 in the United States, according to a report by Product School.

But let’s understand what makes a Product Manager in practice, what are the advantages of choosing this career, and how to become one? Let’s go there.

  • What does a Product Manager do?
  • Career Advantages of Product Manager
  • How to become a Product Manager

Hey, Conquer has released a free class on Product Management and it’s not to be missed! Click on this link and register now to secure a spot.

What does a Product Manager do?

We can think of your childhood candy again to understand the role of the Product Manager. Imagine that, in a room, several teams gave their opinions about the treatment before launching: “I think it should come with a toy inside”, “it could have peanuts”, “the advertisement has to have a river of chocolate”. Here it goes.

In this context, PM is a great filter. It is up to him to identify, analyze and validate ideas that will become opportunities or improvements for a product or service, generating maximum value for the customer and the company.

This is why the Product Manager is often called the mini CEO. Because he executes the vision of the company’s founders and CEO, uniting, influencing, and directing the Business, Technology, and User Experience (UX) teams.

To sum up, this professional has two great roles, according to Marty Cagan in the book Inspirational: How to Create Technology Products That Customers Love :

  1. Evaluate opportunities such as trends, improvements, new potential audiences.
  2. Define which product will be developed, analyzing consumer surveys, usability tests, sales figures, among other aspects.

Product Manager Profiles

The company of your childhood candy is not the same as the company that made the screen you are using to read this text. I just wrote this crazy phrase to say: not every company operates the same way.

Therefore, not every Product Manager needs to have the same experience and background. Get to know some profiles, cited by the book High Growth Handbook, by Elad Gil:

  • Business Product Manager: efficient in synthesizing public demands, they have accurate insights into price and segmentation.
  • Technical Product Manager: technical professionals, with ease in working with developers in areas such as infrastructure and machine learning.
  • Product Manager Designer: more focused on design and user experience, they tend to focus more on teams than on business-related tasks.
  • Growth Product Manager: They are usually analytics and are focused on growth, working in strong partnership with the engineering, marketing, and UX teams.

Main skills and competences

Do you know that professional that people admire and respect? The product Manager needs to wake this up. As the link between several teams, the PM needs to unite technical skills with soft skills so that projects come out of the paper in a fluid and agile way.

As the main responsible for the success of a product, the Product Manager must also have a deep knowledge of the market, the vision of the future, and be a radar that beeps every time a trend appears.

In addition, this professional needs to be “in love with the problem”. In practice, this means that he needs to use his creativity to bring innovations and analytical skills to make decisions.

Check out some examples of Product Manager skills:

  • Leadership
  • self-management
  • Empathy
  • Negotiation
  • Communication
  • Curiosity
  • Creativity
  • Analytical ability
  • Data analysis
  • People management
  • Project management

Product Manager versus Product Owner

If you’re looking for a job in this field, you’ve probably come across these two positions already. They just look like different titles for the same function, right? But they are different careers – with a lot in common!

The Product Manager (PM) is responsible for keeping an eye on business opportunities and product improvements. The Product Owner (PO) is more focused on raising needs and demands, evaluating deadlines and costs, and guiding the team.

In other words, it is possible to say that the PM has a strategic role and the PO, both strategic and tactical. It is even common for a Product Owner to become a Product Manager.

Career Advantages of Product Manager

For being on the rise, the PM career has several advantages. We list some below:

The profession of the present and the future

If we can be sure about the future, it is that products and services will continue to be launched, right? But that’s not all: the market and the way to do business have become more complex. And that requires specialization.

Therefore, Product Manager is not a term that will go out of use anytime soon. So much so that the careers of Digital Product Manager and Product Owner appear as one of the professions of the future in a 2020 World Economic Forum report.

And hiring has been growing: in 2019, PM was named by LinkedIn as one of the most promising professions in the United States. Here in Brazil, to have a dimension of demand, more than a thousand results appear in the search for Product Managers in this same social network.

high salaries

Product Manager is a profession with a new and challenging scope. And there is still a lack of professionals with technical skills and soft skills to create amazing products. Therefore, the career is also financially rewarding.

In the United States, Product Manager is already considered the third-best profession in financial terms in a Glassdoor list, behind only Java Development and Data Scientist.

Here in Brazil, the average salary for a Product Manager is R$19,000. And this value goes far beyond, depending on the company and level of experience, and can reach R$ 25,000, according to consultancy Robert Half.

Growth

For those who have the ambition to grow in their careers and rise to executive positions, opting for the product area is a path that makes perfect sense.

You see, the Product Manager carries leadership as one of their main traits, which makes this transition logical.

In addition, some data show that recognition arrives: 16% of CEOs come from the product area. Besides that 31% of the companies surveyed already have CPO (Chief Product Officer) positions, according to a report by the Product School.

How to become a Product Manager

If you’re entering the product area now, you’re walking into expanding territory. Ready to conquer it?

If you were excited, now some questions begin to arise: how to get a job in the area? What is the formation of a Product Manager? Is there a specific course? Should I go to college?

But there, the recommendation is to seek technical and practical knowledge in the area, through courses, certifications, and boot camps, as well as events and reading. (Incidentally, this is true not only for starting in the area but also for maintaining oneself: continuing to learn is a key part of the success of any career these days, right?).

Also, another important point is being able to show the employer that you are prepared. In this sense, preparing your portfolio is essential.

And if you’re thinking of pursuing this career, take this opportunity: to help you decide your next professional steps, we’ve released free classes on Product Management and other topics related to the New Economy. Click here and sign up.

The other news is that Conquer has launched a Bootcamp on Product Management. In it, you will have an immersive, fast and gamified experience to learn how to create unforgettable products and fly professionally. 

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