Many tech professionals follow a product manager career path because it blends responsibilities and exciting job duties.
Product managers are often called “mini-CEOs” because of the influence they have on a company. They manage complex products and work with team members in all departments.
Preparing for PM interviews? Learn the essential skills to ace your PM interview with hours of example questions, videos, and tips.
Overview of Product Management as a Career in 2023
Curious about starting or continuing a career in product management? Here are some of the key considerations:
High Salary, Compensation
The average salaries for various product management positions are:
- Junior PM/APM (0-1 year of experience): $80,000/yr
- Product Managers (1-3 years of experience): $112,000/yr
- Senior Product Manager (3-5 years of experience): $146,000/yr
- Product Leader (5+ years of experience): $190,000/yr
Switching Careers? Transition to product management from other careers like consulting, software engineering, and product design.
The most in-demand benefits among product management roles are:
- Flexible working hours and remote work
- Health insurance + robust benefits
- Unlimited paid time off
Top Companies Hiring PMs
According to Glassdoor, these are the average salaries for product managers at tech’s biggest companies:
Salary Negotiation: Connect one-on-one with recruiting and hiring experts to negotiate a higher salary.
On average, it takes about 5 years to manage a product team and 10 years to own the product.
- The demand for product managers isn’t slowing down. Product leaders will always be needed as companies grow and new technologies emerge.
- You have the opportunity to shape the future of an organization as a PM. You’ll help set the product vision and roadmap for what you build and why.
- You’ll work with many teams and stakeholders. You’ll build relationships with dozens of team members and can influence many parts of an organization.
- Your work will rely on technical and strategic skills to finish projects.
Inside Scoop: What will your first 30, 60, and 90 days as a product manager look like?
How to Become a PM in 2023
- Gain Experience: Work in a related field like business, engineering, or product marketing. These are great stepping stones in product management.
- College Degree: Most product managers have at least a bachelor’s degree. About half of all senior product managers also have an MBA or master’s degree.
- Learn About Product Management: Develop an understanding of product management concepts and processes. Take PM courses at school, shadow a product manager at work, take courses on Exponent to learn the fundamentals of PM interviews, or take certificate programs to expand your product knowledge.
- APM Programs or Internships: Intern for top tech companies or apply for their Associate Product Manager teams to get an inside look at the product at their organization. Your university or college may also have extra resources to help you apply for these roles.
- Work as a Junior PM: Talk to leaders at your current company. Ask if you can shadow another product manager or participate in product management meetings. Even if your job title doesn’t say product manager yet, you can still gain experience.
Necessary Skills for Product Managers in 2023
In a recent Product Plan survey, these skills were considered the most in demand for PMs this year. They were the most frequently mentioned in product management job postings.
- Prioritization (23%) — Being able to talk to users and empathize with their pain points is critical to being a great PM. You’ll have to prioritize which projects have the most significant impact in the least amount of time. Prioritization is the single best skill for product managers to have.
- Communication (18%) As a product manager, you’ll interact with many teams and departments. One day, you could chat with engineering leads about a technical roadblock you must overcome. Another day you might present to upper management the status of your product updates. Communication skills are essential to good product management.
- People Management (16%) — Your team will need you to lead through uncertain product cycles. You’ll work with engineers, marketing teams, the C-suite, and sometimes even investors to deliver a product. Good leadership skills to inspire and direct your team are how you’ll build successful products.
- Technical (13%) — Technical product management skills aren’t as popular anymore. Many non-technical PMs are joining the field more than ever before. However, knowing how to interact with engineering teams is still essential. You may not need to code a product, but you’ll need to understand technical documentation and the overall engineering pipeline.
What is your interviewer thinking? Read this PM interview rubric to learn what skills and qualifications your interviewer is looking for.
Tips for New Product Managers
- Get experience in related fields: If you’re not yet working in product management, spend time interacting with product teams however you can. Volunteer to collaborate on specific projects. Contribute to open-source blogs. Apply to product management internships or APM programs to get a taste of life as a product manager.
- Develop a deep understanding of the product: Spend time studying your company’s product. What pain points does it solve for users? How might you improve it?
- Develop a network of contacts: Attend product workshops or conferences. Offer to collaborate with your company’s product team. Reach out to other product managers on LinkedIn for advice and inspiration.
- Stay up to date with the latest technology: Pay attention to product trends. You’ll notice a lot, from UI decisions to functionality patterns, when you read product blogs or keep up with the most popular apps in your space.
- Take advantage of learning and development opportunities: See if your employer will pay for extra learning courses or resources to study product management. Ask friends for product mentorship or build your network to grow.
We know it’s exciting and nerve-wracking to jump into a new career! That’s why Exponent put together a complete interview prep experience to break into product management. It includes:
- Courses: Learn to ace your behavioral and product strategy interviews with in-depth product manager interview courses. Ace even the most challenging interview questions.
- Company Guides: Get the inside scoop into tech’s biggest companies and what they’re looking for in effective product managers.
- Interview Coaching: Get private one-on-one career and interview coaching.
- Resume Reviews: Spruce up your resume to be more product focused. Highlight your best PM skills even if you haven’t broken into the field.