How to start career in Product Management

Five common paths into product management:

1. Computer Science Graduate: Large tech companies do recruit entry-level product managers for a 1-2 year Associate Product Manager programme, which includes training, mentorship, speakers, and frequent rotations across many product teams. Google pioneered the program concept, which Microsoft, Facebook, LinkedIn, Yahoo, Yelp, Uber, and other significant tech companies are currently used. It’s a fantastic opportunity to learn the ropes at a reputable tech organization while receiving formal training and mentoring. Other IT companies use similar criteria to hire entry-level Associate Product Managers, but their programs are frequently significantly less regimented. It is not enough to just graduate with honors from these prestigious programmes.

2. Engineering Undergrad + Recent MBA Graduate: Employers value these students because they have not only technical foundations from their engineering backgrounds, but they have also rounded out their knowledge with business concepts that are useful when considering product and business strategy. Many MBA programs are also analytically tough, requiring students to take finance and statistics modules to ensure they have such skills. MBA students also often have a few years of job experience, ensuring that they know how to get things done in a business atmosphere.

3. Adjacent Role: Working with product managers in an adjacent function within a tech firm and then parlaying that expertise into a product role at that firm is one of the best methods to land your first product management role. Designers, engineers, marketers, customer service, sales, and business operations managers have all used this as a route into product management. The goal here is to identify an adjacent function that requires you to work closely and frequently with a product manager and for which you are qualified. These are frequently roles that are part of a larger R&D group. They then astound the product team with which they are working and become an integral member of the team.

4. Entrepreneurs: Entrepreneurs also tend to have a broader perspective on products, as they are usually part of a small team that is responsible for all aspects of the product’s success, such as user acquisition, engagement, monetization, and so on. They are also usually quite experienced with making things happen and the finer points of execution because they are often actively involved in many elements of putting the product together. They also frequently have the opportunity to demonstrate their creative thinking because they are working on a startup attempting to differentiate themselves from the market’s current products.