Product Management Job Descriptions – The Ultimate Guide

Product management is an exciting and challenging career. Positions in this field require you to merge your background experience in technology, engineering, or business with managerial skills in order to work together with various stakeholders to develop a marketable and saleable product. Although the specific work can vary widely depending on the industry and company for which you work, the following key components of product management remain constant across the field.

Product Management Key Responsibilities

While the type of product and industry will drive the specific job responsibilities in product management, there are several skills that are needed to successfully fulfill any role in the field.

Strategic Planning and Problem Solving

The role of a product manager requires you to develop the vision for a product, identify the purpose it will serve for the consumer base, and to work together with a team of developers in order to create it. Therefore, this position requires significant strategic planning in order to merge the short-term objectives of getting the product developed and launched with the long-term effects, such as the potential future needs for the consumer base or within the industry. 

As a result, the position also requires strong problem-solving capabilities. Incorporating feedback from the consumers, developers, or research is crucial to ensuring that the product is able to meet its vision and serve the needs of its users. Product managers should always be on top of the landscape of the industry and competitors within the market to ensure that they are able to foresee and quickly change any concerns that arise throughout production.

Effective Communication and Collaboration

The development of a new product involves a consumer base, business or investor, and a development team, all of which are tethered together by the product manager. Each of these groups likely has a different priority when it comes to the product, and it is the job of the project manager to merge the needs of all of the stakeholders into the most effective product. 

The ability to effectively share the overall vision, feedback, and updates with all parties involved are essential to the success of the product manager. Additionally, collaborating with developers as the experts on production and the business on their goals and parameters is essential to creating a product that will serve the consumer’s needs. At times, you may need to pitch an idea that is contrary to typical practices or protocols, and need to be able to clearly communicate your thoughts and explain your reasoning in order to keep production in line with the larger vision. Strong interpersonal skills are helpful in navigating these responsibilities.

Conflict Resolution and Mediation

Along with serving as the center of the different stakeholders in the product development process, the project manager will need to support the different groups in resolving a disagreement in vision or how to proceed. Additionally, the stakeholders may disagree with your vision or provide contrary feedback.

It is important to allow others to be heard and to carefully consider opposing viewpoints, but to always bring everyone back together on the same track toward the successful development of the product. Developing a process for resolving conflicts and mediating disputes is essential for working through these roadblocks quickly and effectively.

Product Management Job Location

Product managers can find work in nearly any state.  However, some states have a higher concentration than others. California, New York, and Illinois are the states with the highest employment of product managers. 

The industry in which you are working can drive your location as well. For example, technological companies and developers are likely to have headquarters in California. Additionally, the job may involve travel in order to meet in person with different stakeholder groups, as well as remote online meetings to collaborate with groups outside of your organization.

Product Management Experience and Education

If you are seeking a position in product management, you will need a minimum of a Bachelor’s Degree in business or a field related to product development in a certain industry, such as computer science. Additionally, experience in the field will help you to be prepared to take on a role as a project manager.

Education Requirements

In order to take on a product management role, you will need to have completed a Bachelor’s degree. Typically this will be in business, engineering, or a technological field of study. You will want to take on a course load that prepares you with tech lingo, marketing, or computer science knowledge in order to understand the industries and products that you might be working on.

 In some cases, a Master’s degree in business, engineering, or computer science might be requested or necessary for a specific position. Since product management requires overseeing and coordinating with several different stakeholders, the additional expertise acquired from pursuing these degrees can help you in your role. Additionally, while you may not need to complete a degree, you may decide to seek additional certifications to support your specific job or career aspirations.

Experience Requirements

While you do not need to have experience specifically in the field of product management, this is often not an entry-level position. Previous work experience in a business, technology or junior product management position or internships can provide good preparation and skills for taking on a new role.   

 

Product Management Salary

While there is no specific salary information for product management, the US Bureau of Labor Statistics states that the median salary for advertising, promotions, and marketing managers [https://www.bls.gov/ooh/management/advertising-promotions-and-marketing-managers.htm] is about $140,000 per year. Salaries can vary based on location, the industry in which you work, and the level of experience and education required for the position. 

Salaries for jobs in this field are highest in areas with a high cost of living and concentration of the positions. New York, New Jersey, and California provide the highest average salaries in the field.

Product Management Resume Tips

As product managers are needed within a wide variety of industries, you will want to use the job posting for the desired position as your guideline for the skills and experience to highlight. Typically, though, you will want to write about your relevant education, work experiences, pertinent certifications, and skills that will demonstrate your likelihood of success in the position.

 In the work experience section, list the jobs you have held in descending chronological order with your most recent employment at the top. Choose the positions that are most relevant to the job for which you are applying, and include internships if you do not have a significant work history to draw from. For the skills section, including those that highlight your aptitude and capability for the prospective job to show your potential employer that you are the best fit.