Product Management 101 and Career Prospects

Product Manager – a new age job title that you often keep hearing about. You hear about that guy who went and did his MBA and now works at a Technology Major as a Product Manager.

You wonder how; given that he didn’t study Computer Science in college. You’re also sure that Business Schools don’t teach the subject. So how is it that he ended up as a Product Manager at a tech giant?

More importantly, you wonder what he even does at the firm! 

To top all this off, you often keep hearing catch phrases such as they are the Mini-CEOs and very young but have a founder-like role and get paid handsomely.

You start questioning –

A job similar to that of a startup founder, while still having the benefits of a paycheck. Is this really the best-of-both-worlds job you’ve been looking for?

What are the skills that will get you within arm’s length of this role? 

Can these be learned and picked up online & how do people transition into such careers?

How do I gain the respect of the core developers when I have little or no knowledge towards coding and how do I even evaluate estimated timelines given by the tech team.

What does career progression in the Product Management space look like?

In this blog, we will try to find some answers to these questions, through the lens of numbers.

We analyzed over 8,000 profiles of Product professionals from the data reported on 6figr.com to dissect what skills they possess, how much money they make, what age group they fall into, what is the gender distribution, where do they go next, etc.

Age Distribution

From the above data, we can clearly see that Product Management, as a profession, came into existence very recently. This also emphasizes the constantly changing landscape in the Tech Industry and the importance for one to constantly keep up-skilling as per the market demands. 

Product folks mostly fall into the age group of 31-36 years; their designations could be across the spectrum, i.e., they could be Associate PMs or Senior PMs or even VP of Product. However, this is the broad age range and not limiting. Our database has an entry of a VP of Product who lies within the age bracket of 21-26 years. He was the founder of a startup which got acqui-hired by another firm and voila, and now he is the Head/VP of Product at the larger firm.

One of the beauties of the Product domain is that it is the most democratic form of assessment towards how much value one has added. Here, the pure metrics would be the number of people who used the product and spoke highly of it and the associated traction numbers. Hence, you could be extremely young, (in some cases straight out of college or a fresh graduate) and build something amazing, and soon be catapulted to a VP of Product role as well.

Fairly impressive as a career choice, isn’t it?

Let’s now figure out the other pieces of the puzzle, which need to be addressed to successfully transition to being a Product Manager.

Firstly, get rid of the question referring to ‘which degree you need,’ to become a Product Manager. Skills, not degrees, count for being a Product Manager. 

At 6figr.com we analyzed data to find out what skills a Product Manager needs to have. From over 5,045 profiles analyzed, the trending skills are as below.

The Product Management Career Guide

 

Trending Skills

So, those who held Product Management as a skill, what other skills did they possess in common?

Broadly, all of the above skills combined, explain the role. Building the right product, for the right people and making the business profitable. This coordination with multiple stakeholders – from identifying value, to building it, to getting the buy-in from Marketing & translating this value into business metrics, is what makes the role all the more interesting. Hands-on learning while building something. Those with an innovative streak, excel at such roles.

Salary Distribution

The Median Salary for Product Managers is around 17.3 lakhs.

Top Schools

IIM shows up as the top most college so far. However, I’d like to reiterate that it’s more of a preferred pool at this point and not a mandatory one.

Career Progression

What does career progression for Product Managers look like? What new titles can they assume on being promoted? We analyzed promotion data to find the top moves for a Product Manager. Many go on to start their own product startups. When it comes to promotions, you can move up to being a Senior Product Manager and then go on to become VP of Product.

10 Essential Skills for a Product Manager

 

Gender Distribution

The Male to Female Gender Ratio among Product Managers is nearly 5:1.

Monthly Take Home Salary

Also, the icing on the cake is that Product Managers earn a lot more when it comes to the Monthly Take Home Salary as compared to people in other roles with the same CTC, as per the data reported on 6figr.com’s Monthly Take Home Calculator. Below is the example of a Product Manager with 3 years of experience: 

If you have any questions related to Product Management careers, you can check out the UpGrad Careers-In-Shorts video series on Youtube or the UpGrad Product Management Career Guide; or just comment below!

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Vinod Chandrashekar

Vinod Chandrashekar

Vinod is the Founder of 6figr.com. The website lends insights into various career options, salaries, etc. Prior to this, Vinod has founded various other companies like DataKind - India chapter and Mishapp. Vinod was also a Data Sciences Manager at Souq, an e-commerce company that was eventually acquired by Amazon.
Vinod Chandrashekar

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