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November 17, 2022

Career Development

Product Management Jobs You Can Apply for with a Bachelor’s Degree

Product management is a career that involves supervising every aspect of the creation and sales of a product. This includes a product’s development, market positioning, and pricing, along with its launch and post-launch analysis. Product management is an organizational function that focuses on the product’s success in the market and its intended consumer audience. As the primary custodians of a product, product managers oversee the teams that create it, refine it, and release it to the public. Once a product is released, the product manager continues to monitor how it performs with consumers and determines whether course corrections are needed. Product management usually requires a deep, thorough understanding of a product’s mission and its marketplace. Because of this, product management is a great career fit for those who are organized, diligent, and innovative.

What Is Product Management?

As mentioned, a product management role requires a comprehensive outlook of a product from its origin through its life with a consumer. Products can be anything from a pair of shoes to a software program. The role of a product manager overlaps and interacts with other teams involved in a product’s life cycle, including engineering, branding, sales, public relations, and more. Product development, product strategy, and product marketing are essential pillars for a successful product management campaign.

To build the best possible product, product managers advocate for customers from inside their organization. They ensure that the voice of the intended consumer is heard and heeded. For any product to succeed, product managers and their teams must make the needs of the end user—the customer—an important prioritization. The work of product managers allows companies to routinely ship better-designed and higher-performing products. Besides having a keen focus on the customer, product managers must also employ strong communication and delegation skills, as their job rests at an intersection of business, user experience, and technology. They don’t always need complete knowledge in all these areas as much as a well-rounded understanding of them and how they relate to each other.

Product Management Jobs

Individuals can pursue many roles in product management. Different industries call for product managers with varied areas of expertise. For example, a product manager at Nike will have a different skill set from a technical product marketer at a home security company. Some product managers may only focus on one product, while others might be responsible for several. It all depends on the organization, its industry, and what type of consumer audience it’s targeting.

 Below is a list of product manager job descriptions, complete with day-to-day responsibilities and average salary figures.

1. Associate Product Manager

  • Associate product managers work with one or more product managers on any number of product campaigns. Each associate manager enables the other to do their work more effectively. This role might share duties in overseeing more than one product.
  • Responsibilities of an associate product manager include collecting product data, conducting customer research, developing product features, and coordinating with product stakeholders.
  • The average annual salary of an associate product manager in the U.S. is $81,648.

2. Product Manager

  • Product managers work to identify customer needs and the overarching business objectives that a product will fulfill. They articulate what product success looks like and rally a team to convert a vision of a product into reality.
  • The product manager job description includes developing a product roadmap and vision, understanding and representing consumer needs, monitoring the product market, and developing competitive analyses.
  • The average annual salary of a product manager in the U.S. is $90,294.

3. Senior Product Manager

  • Senior product managers lead other product managers while coordinating with engineering, marketing, sales, and other teams crucial to the product’s life cycle.
  • Key responsibilities include building and implementing product strategies that are consistent with the company’s vision. Other responsibilities include collecting and analyzing feedback from customers, stakeholders, and other teams to shape and improve product features.
  • The average annual salary of a senior product manager in the U.S. is $133,995.

4. Director of Product

  • A director of product has visibility of every level of product development, from design to UX to Agile product delivery to marketing and beyond.
  • Responsibilities include leading, overseeing, and managing product teams throughout the entire product development process.
  • The average annual salary of a director of product in the U.S. is $172,491.

5. Vice President of Product

  • A VP of product is usually considered a leader of people in the product management group and in an organization overall.
  • Important responsibilities include setting high-level goals for product development campaigns and tracking key performance indicators across the product life cycle.
  • The average annual salary of a VP of product in the U.S. is $261,303.

6. Chief Product Officer (CPO)

  • A chief product officer is a chief-level (C-level) executive who is responsible for the strategy and execution of all product-related activities within an organization.
  • The CPO’s responsibilities include developing an overall product roadmap, building product strategy, managing all product teams, and acting as chief representative of an organization’s product campaigns.
  • The average annual salary of a chief product officer in the U.S. is $261,301.

How to Become a Product Manager

Just like any other organizational role, certain requirements need to be met to become a product manager. Let’s go through the most important requirements and briefly explain their significance:

  • Learn key skills. Product manager jobs involve a lot of overlap with different aspects of an organization, including sales, marketing, engineering, IT, logistics, public relations, and more. This means that product managers need enough knowledge of these disciplines to comfortably communicate and delegate tasks across teams. The role of a product manager calls for proficiency in organization, listening, and problem-solving.
  • Earn a bachelor’s degree in business administration or a similar degree. A bachelor’s in business administration or marketing provides a strong foundation for an entry-level product manager job. The in-depth, comprehensive knowledge gained from a degree can help individuals achieve long-term success in product management.
  • Gain relevant certification. Not all organizations require certification to become a product manager, but earning relevant certification can go a long way in strengthening a résumé or giving you a competitive advantage in the job market.
  • Seek employment in the field of product management. When deciding on a product manager job, prioritize building a robust résumé and portfolio. Showcase your experience in product marketing, cross-functional teams, and leadership. Be prepared to answer—but perhaps more importantly ask—questions in job interviews. Start in a position where you can immediately put your skills to use.

Finally, consider WGU as the university to prepare you for a successful product management career. WGU offers over a dozen accredited bachelor’s and master’s degrees in business through a flexible, online model with no set log-in times for coursework and assessments.

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