Product Manager Education Requirements to Land a PM Job

Updated on May 25th, 2021
Product Manager Education Requirements to Land a PM Job

Are you wondering what product manager education requirements you need to meet in order to land a job as a product manager?

Product management is a fast-paced, rewarding career with plenty of opportunities for growth and development. If you're interested in product management as a profession and want to know what the education requirements are, then this post is for you.

In this post, we'll examine what educational qualifications are necessary to land your first product manager job and which PM skills employers look for when hiring great product managers.

What is a Product Manager?

A product manager is a product strategist responsible for the management of products in various industries, including media and entertainment, business to consumer services, and manufacturing. Product managers are often referred to as "chief" or "head" product managers when they oversee more than one type of goods within an organization.

The product manager role includes taking care of every aspect of a product from conception to the end of its lifecycle, including formulating ideas for new products and overseeing all stages in between.

A product manager job description might include some of the following tasks:

  • Analyzing market research to determine what consumers want
  • Designing and creating prototypes, mockups, or models for evaluation. 
  • Gathering data from their team that will help in the decision-making process of a product's design and development stage. 
  • Creating product roadmaps and analyze PM metrics.

Product managers are often involved with pricing as well as promotion strategy decisions. They also work on forecasting future demand and supply curves to ensure there is always an adequate quantity available when needed by customers.

Product Manager Education Requirements 

In order to become a product manager, there are some requirements that you may need to take into account. Some of them are:

1. Bachelor's degree in business or a related field

Product managers usually have a bachelor's or a master's degree in business or management. The skills that you develop as a product manager will be applicable to other fields, but these degrees provide the foundation for the knowledge of marketing and economics. 

If your major is not focused on one of those subjects, then some coursework may need to be added to your education plan before applying for jobs with responsibilities like pricing and promotion strategy decisions.

Some schools offer specialized programs specifically designed to prepare students who want to pursue careers in tech innovation management; however, this isn't necessary if you're already well-versed in related topics such as marketing and finance from an undergraduate degree program. You can also take additional courses at the graduate level to round out your education.

Some of the courses that employers prefer when looking for the right PM candidate are:

2. Communications Course

It's important to have a good grasp of communication skills when applying for Product Manager positions. For example, if you're presenting at an event or meeting with executives, your presentation style should be professional and informative. Those are the qualities employers will look for in candidates who can manage their team effectively as well as those who can work on tight deadlines without sacrificing quality.

Communication courses teach students how to communicate more efficiently through speaking and writing. This skill set is essential because PMs need to create presentations and reports that articulate product strategy goals while also having conversations about these topics with various teams across the organization. 

2. Marketing course

Taking a marketing course will help PMs understand the marketing perspective and how to integrate their product into a campaign. This is another skill that will be helpful for presentations, as PMs often need to present or market their product on-site at trade shows or off-site in meetings with other teams.

3. Economics course

Another aspect of product management is economics. Product managers need to understand the financial impacts of their strategies, which often means understanding how changes in prices and costs can affect revenues and profits over time.

Getting familiar with economics can help PMs make decisions about how to price their product, what the appropriate level of inventory is for different time periods, and more.

4. Public relations course

While not all PMs have to become PR reps, many will need to know how to communicate a company's message and product in an effective manner. Product managers, therefore, need to know how to accurately answer questions, address customer concerns and complaints in a positive way, and keep up an engaging presence on social media.

5. Statistics Course

Understanding statistical analysis can help PMs make more accurate forecasts, determine the popularity of a product by examining historical trends or survey data, and understand how changes in supply or demand may affect their company.

A statistics degree isn't necessary to become an effective Product Manager, but knowing some basic key concepts can be very helpful, especially if you learn them in a reputable course. 

6. Advertising Course 

Product managers need to have a good understanding of how to advertise their products. This includes knowing the difference between advertising and marketing, as well as which channels work best for different types of campaigns.

Students will also learn about print ads, TV commercials, radio spots, billboards, social media posts featuring hashtags or sponsored content from paid sponsorships with potential customers on popular sites like Instagram and Facebook.

It's important that product managers know ways in which they can advertise their product so it has maximum impact among its target audience.

7.  Agile Methodology Preparation Course

Product managers need to be able to communicate with the rest of their team about product development.

This is especially important when it comes time for a release--a product manager needs to know how much work they can get done in order to avoid last-minute rework, which produces stress and wastes resources. 

To that end, an Agile Methodology preparation course will teach students what agile methodology entails so that they'll have the basic knowledge necessary for those crucial conversations later on down the road.

It's also worth noting that this course teaches product management students Scrum as well as Kanban methods so they're ready for whatever type of project management might arise during their career ahead.

8. Product management program

The last educational requirement is to be enrolled in a program related to product management.

Product managers need to have the skills and knowledge required to work successfully in this industry, which includes an understanding of finance, business administration, operations research, and marketing analytics among other things. 

A college degree or comparable experience can help students get into an accredited product management program so they know what they're learning will prepare them for success as a product manager.

In order for aspiring product managers to become an Uber, Airbnb, or Google product manager, their first step usually requires enrolling in one of these programs where they can learn exactly what's expected of them by employers before entering the workforce.

Product Manager Skills

In order to become a great product manager,  it's really important to hone skills that are related to their job function. Remember, product managers need to be able to research what customers want and present it in a way that resonates with them so they'll buy the product.

Product managers usually gain their initial skills by attending a product management bootcamp or by joining a product management certification program.

Some of these skills include:

1. Communication Skills

Product Managers need to be able to clearly communicate their ideas and key marketing messages to stakeholders in order for them to understand the value of what they're proposing. 

Product managers also have a responsibility to translate complex technical requirements into understandable language that is actually useful for both customers and internal teams.

Their presentations should be compelling enough so stakeholders will approve product moves, which requires strong communication skills.

Communication skills are vital when developing comprehensive customer profiles and conducting competitive analyses as well because PMs must convey what competitors offer with ease if they want any chance of taking over market share from those competitors.

2. Teamwork Abilities

Product managers are typically responsible for tasks that span functions and departments, which means they must be able to work well with others. 

They need to have strong team skills in order to lead teams of engineers, designers, and customer service representatives on projects. That also includes the ability to coordinate cross-functional efforts between teams when necessary as well as provide input into those collaborations. 

They should always maintain a collaborative mindset rather than act like someone who is "better" than other employees in the company because it's more important for them to get results together. 

Product managers use their teamwork abilities every day by asking questions during meetings about how decisions will affect various groups within an organization before they make any final moves regarding products or features themselves.

3. Time management skills

Product managers are often responsible for managing their own time and the time of a team. This means they need to have strong skills in self-control, planning ahead, prioritizing tasks based on deadlines or importance, and organization as well.

4. Leadership skills

Product managers need strong leadership skills in order to motivate their team and lead them to a successful product launch. This includes hiring, training, coaching, and delegating tasks when necessary. 

Also, product managers must have a strong understanding of the company’s goals so they can lead the product team in a way it allows them to accomplish those goals in an efficient manner. 

5. Business management skills

Product managers need strong business management skills in order to create and maintain a profitable product. This includes understanding the company’s goals, budgets, financial forecasts for revenue-generating products. Also, it includes forecasting customer demand rates, understanding how competitors' offerings affect their own product's performance, and more.

6. Problem-Solving skills

Product managers need strong problem-solving skills in order to identify and solve product problems. Product management is a lot of problem-solving, so it's important for them to be able to efficiently find solutions that will make the company or their own products more successful. 

Employers value the ability to analyze, synthesize and think critically. Product managers can't just rely on how they feel or what has worked in the past; rather they need a systematic approach that is flexible enough to work across any industry.

7. Knowledge in product strategy, product marketing, and product roadmap development. 

Product managers need to have knowledge in product strategy, product marketing, and other areas of the business. Product management is a lot more than just execution; it's also about how you try to get your products out into the market.

This means understanding what competitive advantages are important for success, knowing which channels will give you access to customers or opportunities, etc. Product managers should be well versed not only in their own company but others as well so they can do better when dealing with issues that come up in the way.

It's also essential for them to understand all aspects of building a roadmap from concept through launch day because this informs every aspect of running the program effectively—including where resources go, what tools to use, and how technology should be leveraged.

Product managers are the interface between engineering and marketing, but they need to understand both areas thoroughly if they want their programs to succeed. And since product management is a "full-time job," this makes it all the more important for them to have excellent communication skills because they're constantly dealing with stakeholders across many different teams.

Product Manager Average Salary

According to Glassdoor, Product Managers earn a median salary of $111,227. in the U.S.

This is how it compares to other positions in the tech sector: 

- Engineering Manager - $149k median base salary.

- Data Scientist - $115,293 median base or midpoint salary

- Project Manager -  $87,440 in the U.S.

Is the product manager career path the right option for you?

Product managers are the leaders of product development and oversee all aspects from start to finish. It is a demanding role that requires great analytical skills, creativity, expertise in different functional areas such as marketing strategy or data analysis for instance. 

If you think you have such skills and would like to be a part of software innovation companies, the PM job might be the right option for you. 

It's not an easy job, but you will get the hang of it if you prepare yourself and take some of the courses mentioned above, they might really come in handy when trying to land your first PM job.

Good luck.