what is a product manager?

As a product manager, you ensure a company produces relevant and profitable products matching users' needs. Aside from ensuring the products are feasible, you maximise the return on investment for your employer. Your job is to manage and tackle everything that falls outside the bounds of sales and marketing, developers and designers and end users. Since every business and product has a unique constellation of users, developers and businesses, your specific duties depend on the product niche. For instance, a consumer product is expected to serve millions of customers, and the product manager should manage the design to suit many consumers.

what does a product manager do?

The role of a product manager involves dealing with stakeholders and management. For instance, you define the product vision by determining the problems that the product will solve and the target consumers. You also empower the designing team to deliver the highest value by reviewing product specs and participating in testing. As a product manager, you should be an expert in market trends, quantitative and qualitative data from user research and competitive analysis. When you understand the implications of the product, you can prioritise features and lay out an actionable plan for executing an idea.

Would working as a product manager suit your strategic planning and decision-making skills? Then read on to find out what competencies and qualifications you need to thrive in a product manager role.

product manager jobs

average product manager salary

According to ONS, the median salary of a product manager is £50,000 annually. When you are new to the role, your starting compensation package ranges from £25,000 to £39,581 per year. Experienced product managers earn a salary of over £70,000 annually. Depending on the employer, the compensation package may include medical insurance, housing and transport allowances. Some product management roles also have bonus schemes and share options depending on your company position.

what factors influence the salary of a product manager?

As a product manager, your salary depends on education, experience, location and industry. In most companies, your seniority and experience drive your compensation package. For instance, a recent graduate joining the role earns an entry-level salary; after gaining experience, the compensation package increases as you move up the career ladder. The highest-paid product managers are VPs or chief product managers in the company. Your education also influences your earnings since it determines your expertise and skills in the industry. That's why product managers with bachelor's degrees have a lower income than those with master's degrees.

Some industries also pay more due to the complexity of the role. For instance, the biotechnology and pharmaceutical sectors pay higher salaries than the finance and legal industries.

male having a conversation. Smiling. Two female in the foreground smiling.
male having a conversation. Smiling. Two female in the foreground smiling.

types of product managers

Some of the types of product managers include:

  • technical product manager: as a technical product manager, you work with engineering and product design teams to develop technical products. Your job is to analyse trends, study competitor products, and develop features to improve the performance of the technical products in the market.
  • growth product manager: as a growth product manager, you ensure the existing products maintain their competitiveness. You find avenues for new product growth by working with the research and design teams to create new features to increase profitability.
  • digital product manager: a digital product manager oversees the development and creation of digital products. You determine customer needs and translate them to product features. You also conduct extensive market research to balance customer expectations with business goals.
  • software product manager: software product managers work with developers and designers to create functional software. You analyse software solutions and ensure the product is up to date.



working as a product manager

A product manager oversees product development for a company. Let's explore the roles and responsibilities of a product manager.


education and skills

Some of the educational qualifications of a product manager include:

  • university: to become a product manager, you require a degree related to the industry you intend to work for. You need computer or software engineering undergraduate qualifications to work in technology companies. Knowledge in the relevant field of study also improves your expertise in product development. For instance, completing a degree in chemical engineering improves your expertise in the pharmaceutical and chemical manufacturing industries.
  • work experience: before becoming a product manager, you require work experience to learn the ropes and familiarise yourself with the production process. Entry-level jobs and internships improve your skills and prepare you for your role.

product manager skills and competencies

Some of the skills that a product manager needs include:

  • problem-solving skills: products are developed to solve consumers' problems and pain points. When you have problem-solving skills, you can create and brainstorm product ideas that solve the customers' problems. A problem-solving mindset is a driving force behind decision-making.
  • time management: as a product manager, you split your time between different projects. Time management skills help you prioritise roles and juggle different tasks on your plate. It also helps you promote efficiency and ensure products are launched on time.
  • communication skills: as a product manager, you need proper communication skills to communicate effectively with the product teams and developers. You also communicate with stakeholders when reporting on product success and proposing improvement opportunities.
  • ability to take the initiative: as a product manager, you should be proactive in achieving goals and targets. Your ability to take the initiative motivates your product teams and speeds up the production process.
woman working in her desk
woman working in her desk


FAQs about working as a product manager

thank you for subscribing to your personalised job alerts.