Product Manager Fact Sheet: What You Need to Know to Decide If Being a PM is For You

By BrainStation September 18, 2017

In technology circles, you may hear the term “PM” thrown around fairly often. Likely, they’re referring to a Product Manager.

Product Managers are one of the hottest, in-demand positions in the tech world currently. As technology organizations grow, they often take on more Product Managers to successfully oversee current products in their portfolio and help launch new ones.

But exactly what does it take to become a Product Manager? And how can you decipher is becoming a qualified Product Manager is the right career path for you?

Well, we’ve done the legwork for you: Here, we’ll cover the basics on what a PM does and where you can make an impact within an organization as a PM. You’ll also find relevant statistics on Product Manager job outlook, average salary, and qualifications you need to get a toehold in the field.


Product Manager Salary

According to data from job search site GlassDoor, a senior Product Manager average salary is $109,319. This number is based on data from Product Managers across Canada.


Product Manager Job Outlook

Because of a Product Manager’s unique abilities to work across teams, meet tight deadlines, and build out product roadmaps, qualified PMs are in high demand.

Statistics Canada and the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) don’t currently track growth specifically for Product Manager positions. But the BLS likens it to opportunities in marketing management, which is expected increase at a faster-than-average rate of 14% through 2020.


Product Manager Job Description

Although every Product Manager may have unique duties based on their team and the organization, there are a few commonalities to most Product Manager job descriptions:

  • Manage the lifecycle of a new product: From ideation to overseeing design to achieving final approval and shipping.
  • Monitoring timelines to ensure new and existing products meet deadlines
  • Serving a liaison between different departments like engineering, marketing, and public relations, to communicate changes, speed bumps and deadlines.
  • Oversee product/parts sourcing for physical products, or development of apps or software for digital Product Managers
  • Create and launch distribution plan for new and existing products


Career Path for Product Managers

Product Manager

Source: Payscale

Because of a Product Manager’s keen analytical skills, they tend to move up the ladder within their team or the organization. Thanks to their ability to hold product launches to targeted timelines and research existing markets, Product Managers possess skills that are a major boon for upper management.

While there is no set path for Product Managers, Product Managers often advance to more senior marketing roles such to become marketing managers and directors of marketing.


Product Manager Qualifications

You may be asking at this point: how do you become a Product Manager? Because this is a relatively new career field, Product Managers come from a variety of backgrounds. Some Product Managers start out as software engineers or programmers who work their way up to being a PM.

Much of the necessary qualifications will depend on the type of industry and the products you’ll be working on (i.e. software, hardware, other physical products).

Despite this, many Product Manager roles require a minimum of a university degree — often in business, engineering, or a related field. And some employers even request that successful candidates hold an MBA degree.

However, training and certain skill sets can trump education alone when it comes to hiring Product Managers. Some of the most sought-after skills include:

  • Ability to meet tight deadlines
  • Can communicate clearly with multiple teams and stakeholders
  • Works well under pressure
  • Anticipate customers or user issues with your managed product
  • Background in IT or technology
  • Demonstrable leadership skills
  • Highly organized
  • Familiarity in Agile/Scrum environments

Beyond these qualifications though, Product Managers need to continuously stay on top of new tools and methods. A PM never stops learning, so ongoing education is critical to success.


Moving Forward as a Product Manager

Want to learn more about becoming a Product Manager? Check out BrainStation’s Product Management course to get a deeper understanding of end-to-end product management and learn about product lifecycle management.