A product manager or a PM has a vision for a product and works hard to make it a reality. They are the ones who identify the problems and needs of the market, analyze the data and feedback, and understand the customers’ journey.
They also collaborate with various teams, from marketing to engineering, to plan and execute the product development process.
They manage the product roadmap, lead the development team, and oversee the product launch and improvement. A PM is not only responsible for creating new products but also for enhancing existing ones. In short, a PM is the mastermind behind every product you use and love.
In this blog, you will get to know everything about project managers, including their salary, skills, job opportunities, and what certification they can take to enhance their careers.
What is a product manager?
A product manager is a person who guides the development and launch of a product within an organization. They bridge the gap between business, technology, and design and work with different teams to ensure that the product satisfies customer needs and company objectives.
A product manager analyzes market trends, discovers customer problems, plans product roadmaps, sets priorities, manages budgets, and communicates with stakeholders throughout development.
On the other hand, product management is an organizational function that handles product development, planning, pricing, forecasting, launching, and marketing the product.
The product manager is all about:
- Managing product development planning and strategy, application engineering, and development engineering as the product management leader.
- Supporting product management with technical support, program-level enhancements oversight, and overall program effectiveness evaluation.
- Leading the identification and mapping of industry-standard Data Management and Security requirements across the entire platform for the Product Management department.
- Joining the product management team to turn around a technical product line facing financial and operational challenges.
- Establishing a complete product management methodology that included identifying technical market needs, new potential applications, and creating price lists.
What is product management?
Product management can vary depending on the company and the product. Sometimes it involves only the research and development of a product. Other times, it covers the launch and sales of a product. Sometimes it focuses only on the maintenance of a product.
Many companies have product management that deals with all these stages of a product’s lifecycle. Depending on the products and the organizational structure, there may be one or more product managers in a company. These jobs are available in almost every industry.
How does a project manager work?
Product managers are the connectors between various teams in an organization, such as engineering, design, sales, and marketing. They must manage different expectations and requirements while always focusing on the end user. They facilitate cooperation and communication among these teams to deliver well-rounded, successful products.
Moreover, product managers assume a high degree of ownership for their products’ outcomes, making them feel personally invested. This motivates them to constantly gather feedback, adapt based on user behavior and market trends, and carefully balance innovation with risk-taking.
As a result, product managers are at the cutting edge of creating reliable and relevant products that satisfy customer needs and drive business growth.
Benefits of working as a product manager:
- Come up with innovative and exciting products
- Job security and high earning potential
- Career advancement opportunities
- Staying on top of new trends and technologies
- Work hours and location flexibility
How much do project managers make?
A product manager in the US earns an average of $111,729 per year. The annual salary for this role can vary from $81,000 to $152,000, depending on various factors. The average hourly wage for a product manager is $53.72.
What are the skills needed to become a project manager?
A product manager must have various hard skills like market research, product strategy, and QA. These skills should be clearly demonstrated on their resume. They should also have some experience in user interface design, depending on the industry they work in.
Product management (11%): Managed product development by overseeing application engineering, product development planning and strategy, and development engineering leadership.
QA (5%): Conducted weekly meetings among engineering, sales/marketing, and QA teams to improve communication, collaboration, and resolution of product issues.
Product strategy (5%): Collected and analyzed data to define web-based Performance Evaluation System specifications and communicated product vision and functionality to the development team.
Project management (4%): Handled various project management tasks for new customer programs, such as IT requirements gathering, database setup, administration, and data migration.
Market research (4%): Monitored competitive landscape, market trends, and market research to generate innovative and creative marketing/communication strategies and implement new business opportunities.
User stories (4%): Collaborated across functional areas to engage and influence internal and external stakeholders to develop product definitions, requirements, and user stories.
User Stories (4%): Partner across functional areas to engage and influence internal and external stakeholders to develop product definitions, requirements, and user stories.
Besides hard skills, a product manager must also have excellent customer service skills. This is because they must ensure the product and its launch satisfy the customer’s needs and expectations.
Analytical skills: A product manager needs to have strong analytical skills to perform their role effectively. This skill is related to what product managers do because they need to be able to analyze industry trends and determine the best strategies for their organization.
Communication skills: Communication skills are essential for a product manager, as they have to work with a diverse team of other managers or staff members during the advertising, promotions, and marketing process. A product manager will use this skill frequently in their role.
Creativity: Creativity is another important skill for a product manager, as they must develop new and original product ideas. This skill is relevant to what product managers do because they are responsible for creating and shaping products that solve problems and delight customers.
Interpersonal skills: A product manager must also have good interpersonal skills to carry out their duties successfully. This skill is related to what product managers do because they have to interact with various people in different roles, both inside and outside the organization.
Organizational skills: A product manager must also have excellent organizational skills to efficiently manage tasks. This skill is crucial for product managers because they have to plan and execute their projects within time and budget constraints while leading and motivating their staff members.
What are the responsibilities of a product manager?
A product manager leads product development, delivers the best marketing strategies, and effectively handles the sales and marketing team. A product manager's duties include tracking market trends and conditions, finding business opportunities and planning initiatives, and working with the appropriate departments to launch the product.
A product manager also develops ideas on enhancing product features, setting timetables and reasonable pricing, and evaluating product sales. A product manager must have excellent strategic and decision-making skills to contribute to its growth and profitability.
Here are some examples of tasks from real product manager resumes that illustrate what they typically do in their roles:
- Lead collaboration efforts within the PMO, vendors, customers, and internal stakeholders.
- Manage developers responsible for coding, database development, UI implementation, and system architecture.
- Manage inventory service levels/overstocks/defective inventory and supplier buy-in opportunities to maximize ROI.
- Lead customization of the company’s administrative SaaS software solution by defining features and functionality for internal/external stakeholder teams.
- Lead weekly meetings among engineering, sales/marketing, and QA teams to improve communication, collaboration, and resolution of product issues.
- Handle design and specification of administration system requirements to efficiently manage, operate, and support client API configurations and sessions.
- Market data, CRM, acquisition/retention programs via project/client management, and business development.
- Facilitate overall scrum agile development process, which includes management of bi-weekly development sprints.
- Engage with small dog owners by launching a Facebook initiative.
- Create a Facebook presence, and participate in blogs and Twitter updates.
- Maintain departmental online filing records of skincare and supplement products, operating procedures, and FDA compliance requirements.
- Support the Sr. PLM with product data ensuring data accuracy to support category partners during the product creation milestones.
- Re-Vamp NPD stage-gate development processes, including design and documentation controls to comply with ISO and FDA, qualify system regulations.
- Collaborate with regions to identify sales and GTM hurdles and develop HW solutions and messaging/training plans to address them. Conduct regression analyses to associate game behaviors with desired outcomes.
Product manager career opportunities
As a product manager, you have various career options and paths. In some cases, product managers can advance to executive-level positions, such as product marketing director or senior brand manager, based on their experience and success in their current roles.
There are several career paths a product manager can take in the future, including jobs as a brand manager and a senior product manager. Most of the time, project manager starts their career path as consultants, which can lead to a senior project management role after some experience.
However, here are some of the career options for certified project managers:
- Project Manager:$91,578
- Consultant: $78,912
- Product Manager: $111,729
- Brand Manager: $97,789
- Senior Product Manager: $133,868
Here are the best certifications for product managers
Project Management Professional (PMP)
The Project Management Professional (PMP) is a globally-recognized credential offered by the Project Management Institute (PMI) to individuals specializing in project management.
The Project Management Professional (PMP) certification validates the skills and knowledge of project managers, demonstrating their ability to effectively lead projects within any organization or industry. To earn the PMP certification, individuals must meet specific eligibility requirements and pass a rigorous 180-question exam.
The PMP exam is developed by experienced project leaders and is designed to assess real-world project management competencies. Successful completion of the PMP certification process signifies that an individual possesses a high level of expertise in managing people, processes, and business environments.
Certified Scrum Product Owner (CSPO)
The Certified Scrum Product Owner (CSPO) certification is designed for individuals who have been taught about the Scrum terminology, practices, and principles that will enable them to fulfill the role of Scrum Product Owner.
To become the CSPO, you must attend a course taught by a Certified Scrum Trainer or receive private coaching from a Certified Agile Coach and complete the Scrum Alliance profile. The CSPO certification is a foundational scrum product owner training course for primary stakeholders in the scrum team. The course teaches the framework, principles, and values that make scrum work, plus key skills and tools needed to be effective. The certification includes a two-year membership in Scrum Alliance.
A product owner decides what the team will create next to deliver more value to the customer. In a Certified Scrum Product Owner (CSPO) course, you’ll learn the framework, principles, and values that make Scrum work, plus key skills and tools you need to be effective.
You will discover how to juggle multiple stakeholders’ needs, get hands-on practice creating a product vision, and learn new ways to get to know your customers so that you can choose the right next piece of value to bring to market for them.
Master Project Manager (MPM)
The Master Project Manager (MPM) credential is awarded by the American Academy of Project Management (AAPM) to individuals specializing in project management. The MPM certification is designed to enhance project managers' technical, business, and ethical competencies.
To be eligible for the MPM certification, individuals must have at least three years of project management experience and submit a resume to the AAPM board for review. The MPM curriculum covers essential project management principles, process groups, knowledge areas, and leadership skills.
It is important to note that the MPM certification is distinct from the Certified Project Master (CPM) certification, which assesses project leaders and innovators against various competencies and skills.
Certified Software Manager (CSM)
The Certified Software Manager (CSM) certification is offered by the Global Association for Quality Management (GAQM) for individuals specializing in IT asset management. The CSM certification equips individuals with the skills and knowledge to effectively diagnose, resolve, and manage complex software licensing issues.
The CSM course prepares participants to take and pass the exam required to earn the widely-recognized Certified Software Manager professional designation. IT asset management (ITAM) encompasses business practices that combine financial, contractual, and inventory functions to support the life cycle management and strategic decision-making of IT assets, including software and hardware elements found within a business environment.
Certified Product Marketing Manager (CPMM)
The Certified Product Marketing Manager (CPMM) certification is offered by the Association of International Product Marketing and Management (AIPMM). The CPMM credential indicates a thorough understanding of the product marketing functions responsible for ensuring the product's success in the marketplace. The CPMM focus begins with a successful launch and continues as the product moves through growth, maturity, and eventual decline.
The CPMM exam covers pricing actions, product-focused marketing communications activities, and how the CPMM represents the product to salespeople, the channel, and customers.
The CPMM credentials demonstrate skills in both strategic and tactical marketing functions throughout the product life cycle, creating and executing the marketing plan and budget, managing the creation of marketing deliverables, creating marketing campaigns to drive customer acquisition and revenue, assessing the marketplace, customer, competition, and trends through research analysis, evaluation of relevant data, translating insights into compelling business, product or service opportunities, measuring and analyzing product and business performance, recognizing and recommending opportunities for improvement.
Certified Product Manager (CPM)
The Certified Product Manager (CPM) certification is offered by the Association of International Product Marketing and Management (AIPMM), which offers the Certified Product Manager certification based on global best practices and covers the front end of the product life cycle.
To obtain the CPM certification, candidates must complete an education program from a product industry organization and meet the requirements of a product management certification program offered by a relevant, reputable product industry organization. Additionally, candidates must pass an exam that covers business and technical product management competencies.
The Certified Product Manager certification demonstrates a thorough understanding of the functions responsible for championing new products throughout the front end of the product life cycle, from inception through to launch.
The Certified Product Manager focuses on “go-to” functions that orchestrate internal activities and ensure the best possible outcome for the product. Individuals holding the Certified Product Manager certification have validated their product management skills in building case studies, writing business plans, market planning, competitive analysis, project planning, product specifications, and developing product launch plans.
Certified in Production and Inventory Management (CPIM)
The Certified in Production and Inventory Management (CPIM) is a professional certification offered by the Association for Supply Chain Management (ASCM). The CPIM certification is widely recognized as the standard of professional competence in materials management, master scheduling, forecasting, production planning, and how it applies across the extended supply chain.
To earn the CPIM designation, candidates must complete two process-oriented modules and pass two exams. The CPIM program is designed for production and inventory control professionals who work with an ERP system, either as an IT professional or system user, work with other manufacturing systems and technologies, plan at any level of the planning hierarchy, work with the master production schedule, work with materials requirement planning (MRP), manage capacity requirement planning, manufacturing inventory management and control, plan procurement and external sources of supply, scheduling, releasing and tracking production orders and schedules, measure production performance, or manufacturing finance.
Certified Manager Certification (CM)
The Certified Manager Certification (CM) is a highly-regarded credential that verifies an individual’s ability to manage and lead competently. The Institute of Certified Professional Managers (ICPM) offers the CM certification in the United States of America.
The CM certification is designed to develop and enhance general management skills and prepare individuals performing or aiming at performing managerial duties to take the CM management certification exams. Those who successfully complete the CM exams achieve the CM Certification, a prestigious credential that recognizes the competency and professionalism of managers worldwide in all fields.
The Certified Manager Body of Knowledge is organized into 3 modules, each taught in 30 classroom training hours. All training is performed by instructors approved by ICPM, holders of Ph.D. degrees, and appropriate practical experience. The knowledge domains of each module are assessed by a corresponding CM certification exam (three exams in total). Eligibility requirements must be met, and three CM certification exams must be passed to earn the CM Certification.
Program Management Professional (PgMP)
The Program Management Professional (PgMP) certification is a Project Management Institute (PMI) credential that demonstrates the ability to manage multiple related projects that align with organizational objectives. To earn the PgMP credential, one must meet the experience and education requirements, pass the panel review and the multiple-choice examination, and prepare vigorously for the exam.
A PgMP oversees programs, defines projects, assigns project managers, and ensures the program's ultimate success. A PgMP also has governance, prioritization, escalation, resource management, benefits realization, and stakeholder management skills. The PgMP certification signifies advanced experience and skill and gives a distinct advantage in employment and promotion.
Certified Scrum Master (CSM)
The Certified Scrum Master (CSM) certification is offered by the Scrum Alliance to professionals who thoroughly understand the Scrum framework and its applications. The CSM certification is designed for individuals who are currently or aspiring to be Scrum Masters and those who are new to Scrum or Agile methodologies.
The CSM course provides comprehensive instruction on the Scrum framework's roles, events, and accountabilities. It equips participants with practical skills that can be immediately applied in real-world scenarios. Individuals will earn the CSM certification after successfully completing the course and passing the CSM exam.
Certified Business Analysis Professional (CBAP)
The Certified Business Analysis Professional (CBAP) is one of the well-regarded and widely-accepted certifications offered by the International Institute of Business Analysis (IIBA). The CBAP certification is designed for individuals with extensive business analysis experience and is considered the leading senior member of the BA community.
To earn the CBAP designation, candidates must complete at least 7,500 hours of Business Analysis Work experience in the last 10 years. Within this experience, at least 900 hours must be completed in 4 of the 6 BABOK® Guide Knowledge Areas, for at least 3,600 of the required 7,500 total. Candidates must also complete at least 35 hours of Professional development in the last 4 years, provide two references, agree to the Code of Conduct and Terms and Conditions, and pass the exam.
Google Data Analytics Professional Certificate
The Google Data Analytics Professional Certificate is a comprehensive training program developed by Google data engineers and offered through the Coursera platform as part of the Google Career Certification program.
This program provides participants with practical skills and knowledge required to succeed as a Data Analyst, utilizing real-world examples and interactive video lectures. The curriculum comprises eight courses covering essential topics such as data preparation, data analysis, data visualization, and R programming.
The program is designed to be accessible to individuals with no prior experience in the field and can be completed in less than six months. It is important to note that this certification differs from the Google Analytics certification. It is earned by passing the Google Analytics Individual Qualification (GAIQ) Exam and focuses on using the Google Analytics web analytics service.
International Accredited Business Accountant (IABA)
The International Accredited Business Accountant (IABA) is undoubtedly a well-paid certification offered by the Accreditation Council for Accountancy and Taxation (ACAT).
The IABA certification is designed to recognize accountants with entry-level knowledge and skill to provide competent financial accounting, financial reporting, financial statement preparation, taxation, managerial accounting, business law, and ethics for small to medium-sized businesses.
To become a certified International Accredited Business Accountant (IABA), one must pass the exam. This certificate requires more than two years of work experience. Once earned, the certification is valid for life and does not require renewal.
The bottom line
If you are looking for a rewarding career involving technical and interpersonal skills, product management might be the perfect choice. Product managers are highly sought-after and well-paid professionals who have a deep understanding of the market and its trends and who can create products that meet the needs and expectations of their customers.
To be a successful product manager, you need to have a combination of hard and soft skills that are rare and valuable. Product management is not just about developing a product; it is about creating a vision and strategy.
If you are interested in pursuing a certification in product management, such as CPMM, PMP, CBAP, IABA, CPM, CSM, etc., you need a reliable source to help you prepare for the exam. CBT Proxy has been helping IT professionals achieve their desired certifications for over 10 years, and now it’s your turn to get yours!
To learn more about the different certifications and how CBT Proxy can help you, just click on the chat buttons below (WhatsApp or Telegram), and one of our guides will contact you soon.