Product Managers


Education and Training Requirements

High School

A well-rounded education is a good start for future product management work. Take classes in math, business, economics, social science, computers, and English. Knowledge of a foreign language is also helpful.

Postsecondary Education

Product managers have a variety of educational backgrounds. Many employers prefer to hire product managers who hold a bachelor's degree. Degrees may be in business administration, marketing, advertising, or a related field. Product managers may have degrees in fields that pertain to the industry in which they work, such as computer science or engineering. Courses that are useful for product management include business administration, business law, marketing, management, market research, statistics, economics, communications, and technical writing. Classes in business software programs are also helpful.

Certification, Licensing, and Special Requirements

Certification or Licensing

Product managers can enhance their skills and knowledge by getting certification. The Product Development and Management Association offers the New Product Development Professional (NPDP) designation to product managers who have a bachelor's degree or the equivalent, two years of professional-level work experience in new product development, and pass the NPDP certification exam. The Institute of Certified Professional Managers offers the Certified Manager (CM) designation to individuals who meet education and work-experience requirements and who pass three assessment exams.

Experience, Skills, and Personality Traits

Product managers typically have a bachelor's degree and five or more years of experience. Many companies offer management training programs to product managers. The job requires knowledge of the companies' products, competitors' products, and the product industry. An understanding of product development is important. Product managers must be organized, able to prioritize, and have strong communication and interpersonal skills. The job entails working closely with a variety of departments, from market research and development, to advertising sales, and finance. Product managers must be able to clearly communicate product strategies and goals and keep everyone on track for delivering quality work and meeting deadlines. They must also be up to date on management practices and product and project management software programs, including Microsoft Excel, PowerPoint, Google Analytics, Asana, Pivotal Tracker, among others. Successful product managers are able to stay calm under pressure, motivate and manage product management teams, and help companies develop products according to schedules and budgets.