What Key Skills Do Product Managers Need? (Coding Isn't One of Them)
As a relatively young field, Product Management is still in the process of defining itself, with responsibilities that can vary significantly from company to company and project to project. Despite this uncertainty, there are a few key skills that are consistently important for Product Managers. Over the years, we’ve had multiple PMs with vastly different backgrounds on our platform, giving us an inside look at what these key skills are.
Their insights clearly indicate that anyone can become a product manager and that an MBA or technical background is NOT required to start a career in product management.
We’ve even asked ChatGPT, in its infinite wisdom, to list out a few key skills required for Product Management:
We would like to add another point here: Sufficient Technicals. Why?
To be an effective Product Manager, it's important to have a solid understanding of technical aspects related to your product and the team. This knowledge can help Product Managers gain a better understanding of the product's context and possibilities.
For instance, if a PM is working on a fintech platform, knowledge of the underlying technologies can aid in making informed decisions. Moreover, understanding the technical limitations of engineering and design partners can aid in forming a strong partnership, mutual respect, and effective communication among the team.
The good news is that once you've covered the base with all the core skills required, the rest of the formal product management skills, such as working with engineers and designers, wireframing, sprint planning, and execution, can be easily picked up.
Learn from PM Experts - Booking.com, Atlassian, Microsoft, Flipkart, Citrix & Work on 2 Live Industry Projects!
Summing It Up
Breaking into product management is not like any other job — there are no direct routes to the product team. Unlike most skills, which can be learned through books and YouTube videos, learning product management requires you to build products or solve problems. Regardless of your industry or background, getting your hands dirty with industry projects and experiencing the product development process firsthand is one of the most effective ways to break into this role.
What can also help here is enrolling in a certificate course that will help you develop sufficient technical skills and make sense of each step involved in product development. If you can afford an MBA program and wish to study, go ahead. But the truth is MBA is not necessary, and if you want a better return on investment: Apply for the program & take our Career Fitment Test to know whether you fit in the PM space.