Product Management: Putting Your Dream to the Test

Have you ever wanted to make technology products? If you’re currently in college or looking to get your feet wet in a new field, product management might be the perfect fit for you. Here, we’ll help you learn more about this new area of work and what it may take to become a successful product manager

A goal of this post is that readers will be able to define what “product management” is and how they could pivot into this area of study. We’ll also discuss those who are already working in the product management field and what they do as well as possible career routes someone could take with their interest in product management.

Product management is a college, or in the case of enterprises with significant technology departments, more of an entry level job. The great thing about product management is that it’s extremely diverse and can lead to a lot of different avenues. The downside to this approach is that you are working at a startup or enterprise, and potentially have little experience in your chosen area of study as you may be taking on the role of operations and marketing together.

Product management encompasses a wide range of roles and responsibilities; from ensuring the vision for products being developed is solidified, to creating mockups for prototypes and eventually launching products. It can be a combination of many tasks including product strategy, operations, marketing and engineering. A product manager is responsible for ensuring their products are heading in the right direction and that they are meeting the needs of the customer. This can mean that they help bring on engineering, marketing or sales to ensure new products come to fruition on time.

A great way to get into product management at a tech company would be through internships. Like many entry level positions, summer internships are available and offer a chance to work alongside product managers in different areas and learn about various aspects of the business from all aspects of expertise including design, web development, UX/UI, business development or project management. 

At larger companies, there are many different campuses including San Francisco, NYC or Boston in addition to the main campus in Silicon Valley and other locations around the world. The major differences with these campuses include the size of the companies based on their product and service offerings as well as whether they have tech hubs in various cities across the US or are more global with offices all over the world. Examples of global tech companies are SAP, Salesforce and Google. The most prestigious campus without a doubt is the main campus located in Palo Alto.

In addition to internships, there are many different ways to get into product management including bootcamps or self-study courses online. There are also some universities that have specific programs for those interested in product management or engineering. The University of California Berkeley offers a program called the College of Engineering: Computer Science (Engr: CS) Product Management Specialization where you can learn more about product management and learn how to develop startups and work with new technology as well as study new product development methodologies including lean startup methodology to help you get your ideas off the ground.