Starting a career as a product manager equips you with the skills and techniques to develop a product or a service. Product managers play crucial roles such as creating, distributing, selling and obtaining feedback on a specific product or service. Therefore, a product manager is responsible for the overall business strategy for a specific product. Starting a career as a product manager requires diverse skills. This is because you can work in diverse industry sectors. Therefore, you must build business, technology, and interpersonal communication skills.

A product manager serves as the foundation of an organisation, connecting multiple disciplines such as engineering, design, marketing, sales, and customer service. To succeed in this career, you must ensure that you are grounded in the required skills and technologies.

In this piece, I will guide you through the steps that are needed for pursuing a career as a product manager.

How to Start a Career as a Product Manager

  1. Earn a Bachelor’s Degree

    You can start by obtaining a bachelor’s degree. You can gain a bachelor’s degree in fields such as business administration, business management, engineering, information technology, or a related field.

  2. Pursue Certifications

    Certifications are important because they can advance your knowledge and improve your product management efficiency. Additionally, this certification is important because it can cover up if you did not acquire a bachelor’s degree that is related to product management. Therefore, you can obtain certifications such as product manager certification, Certified Scrum Product Owner (CSPO), etc.

  3. Gain Relevant Experiences

    You can gain experience through internships or entry-level roles. You can participate in projects and develop products to gain experience in handling real-world projects. This will improve your skills as well as give you an idea of how to work as a product manager on various projects.

  4. Develop Technical Skills

    You should build skills in product management tools and software. Additionally, you should get familiar with relevant technical skills that are used in any industry you choose to work in as a product manager.

  5. Pursue Advanced Education

    This is not compulsory. However, it can boost your credibility in this field. You can pursue an advanced degree such as a Master’s Degree in Business Administration.

  6. Choose an Area of Specialisation

    There are various industries that you can work in as a product manager. You can work in healthcare, marketing, energy, IT, etc. You can choose to carve a niche in any of these areas and build expertise in them. Additionally, you should learn about the technicalities of each field you decide to specialise in.

Types of Product Managers

  1. Enterprise Product Manager

    Product managers who work for enterprises generally work on platforms, services, or software that are customised to fit the unique requirements of businesses.

  2. Technical Product Manager

    Technology product managers collaborate with teams of engineers to guarantee the effective development and delivery of innovative technologies. Additionally, they manage highly technological products that frequently need a thorough grasp of complex technology.

  3. Brand Product Manager

    Brand product managers ensure that goods are consistent with the overall brand strategy and resonate with the intended audience.

  4. Mobile Product Manager

    Mobile product managers specialise in managing the design of mobile products such as smartphones and tablets.

  5. Consumer Product Manager

    Product managers in this niche develop products that meet or exceed customer expectations. Generally, they analyse consumer demands, market trends and user experience.

  6. Digital Product Manager

    They manage digital products, such as software programs, websites, and online platforms.

Skills Required for Product Management

  1. Problem-solving
  2. Communication
  3. Leadership
  4. Time management
  5. Organization
  6. Project management
  7. Knowledge of product fundamentals

Universities in Africa that Offer Business Administration Degrees

  1. Lagos Business School- Pan Atlantic University, Nigeria
  2. Gordon Institute of Business Science- University of Pretoria, South Africa
  3. Strathmore Business School- Strathmore University, Kenya
  4. Henley Business School- South Africa
  5. The American University in Cairo School of Business, Egypt
  6. ESCA Ecole de Management, Morocco
  7. Graduate School of Business, University of Cape Town, South Africa
  8. University of Stellenbosch Business School, South Africa
  9. Wits Business School- University of Witwatersrand, South Africa
  10. Milpark Business School- Milpark Education, South Africa

In Conclusion, pursuing a career as a product manager is an exciting venture. You will be involved in the heart of innovation, strategy and leadership within companies. This career path will allow you to utilise your skills and knowledge to build a product vision for a product or service. Therefore, you need to build your skills and acquire the right knowledge that will enable you to thrive in this career.

Good luck!

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