Skip to content Skip to Live Chat

BUSINESS CAREER GUIDES

Product Manager Career

OVERVIEW

What Is a Product Manager?


 

Whether a company offers physical or digital goods, product managers focus their attention on all aspects of a product’s life cycle. Larger companies often use multiple product managers at the same time to maintain high-quality products from creation to release. 

Product managers are also responsible for identifying customer responses to any sold products. When customers particularly enjoy a product, product managers take note. When customers react negatively to a product, product managers advocate for product changes that will change public opinion for the better.

 

RESPONSIBILITIES

What Does a Product Manager Do?

On a daily basis, a product manager fulfills a wide variety of tasks. They are primarily responsible for evaluating product quality at every juncture of product creation, from the idea phase through customer reception. Specifically, the day-to-day responsibilities of a product manager can include:

  • Market research to identify how customers could potentially react to product releases.
  • Optimize product features based on customer response.
  • Identification of product strategy that will govern how products are created and distributed.
  • Short- and long-term product reporting to forecast potential product reception and identify potential sales.
  • Arrive at product pricing based on competitor price points, product-market valuation, and customer opinion.
  • Management of staff responsible for product creation and distribution under your guidance.
  • Addressing investors regarding product successes, shortcomings, and optimizations made.
  • Recommendations for future product releases based on reception of current products and market interest in related goods.

These and other responsibilities largely govern the everyday tasks of a product manager, as the product manager is the individual primarily responsible for product strategy, creation, distribution, and reception.

EDUCATION & BEST DEGREES

How Do I Become a Product Manager?

Product managers must complete appropriate education before they can be considered for hire. They typically must complete at least a bachelor’s degree in business managementsupply chain and operations management or another closely related field. A business background will help them be ready to step into entry-level business and product roles. 

After gaining some experience in the field. qualified product managers often complete a master’s in business administration (MBA) or a master’s in business management and leadership, both of which can be completed online. Though lengthy, these master’s programs provide necessary education used daily by product managers. Aspiring product managers develop an in-depth understanding of the core business functions, including the financial, strategic, and operational aspects of a company that contribute to long-term success.

Best Degrees for a Product Manager

Business Management – B.S. Business Administration

Hone your business acumen and garner added respect:...

Hone your business acumen and garner added respect:

  • Time: 70% of graduates finish within 42 months.
  • Tuition: $3,755 per 6-month term.
  • Courses: 40 total courses in this program.

Sample careers and jobs this business degree will prepare you for:

  • Account executive
  • Business analyst
  • Program manager
  • Director or senior director
  • Vice president

This online degree program is an excellent choice for kick-starting your organizational management career.

Supply Chain and Operations Management - B.S.

This online supply chain and operations management program will prepare...

This online supply chain and operations management program will prepare you for real-world experiences in business.

  • Time: 70% of graduates finish similar programs within 42 months.
  • Tuition: $3,575 per 6-month term.
  • Courses: 36 courses in this program.

Some careers and jobs this business degree will prepare you for:

  • Operations Manager
  • Facilities Manager
  • Industrial Production Manager
  • Distribution Manager
  • Buyer/Purchasing Agent
  • Project Management Specialist

With incredible growth opportunities in supply chain and operations management, this program helps prepare students to meet industry needs and become credentialed experts.

Master of Business Administration

The flexible MBA program you need, focused on business management,...

The flexible MBA program you need, focused on business management, strategy, and leading teams:

  • Time: Graduates can finish in 12 months.
  • Tuition: $4,755 per 6-month term.
  • Courses: 11 total courses in this program.

Sample careers and jobs this business degree will prepare you for:

  • President and CEO
  • Vice president
  • Executive director
  • Chief strategic officer

Our competency-based model gives you an innovative learning experience you won't find anywhere else—and our MBA grads tell us they loved accelerating their program to see a faster ROI.

Management and Leadership – M.S.

An online master's degree focused on change management, innovation, and...

An online master's degree focused on change management, innovation, and leading teams:

  • Time: 70% of graduates can finish in 20 months.
  • Tuition: $4,755 per 6-month term.
  • Courses: 10 total courses in this program

Sample careers and jobs this business degree will prepare you for:

  • President
  • Vice president
  • Director of operations
  • Executive director

Develop a comprehensive suite of leadership skills and your confidence to navigate changing business structures.

How Much Does a Product Manager Make?

$108,790

While exact product manager income rates can vary based on a variety of factors, including years of experience, location, product revenue, and team size, a product manager’s salary averages $108,790 per year, according to data from the BLS. This means that the bottom 10% of product manager salaries began at $67,100, while the top 10% of product managers earned upwards of $181,220.

What Is the Projected Job Growth?

1%

While the BLS’s estimated growth rate for the position of a product manager is only 1% from 2019 to 2029—slower than the average for all jobs—the position still maintains a positive outlook. Some manufacturing industries are expected to see declines in total employment due to more efficient productivity levels. However, the need remains for product managers to effectively manage inventory and optimize customer reception, a need that isn’t expected to decline in the years to come. Specifically, industries like vehicle parts manufacturing, machinery shops, and medical manufacturing are expected to add product manager jobs in the coming years.

SKILLS

What Skills Does a Product Manager Need?

The role of a product manager requires certain skills necessary to continually manage product creation, release, and customer feedback. These specific skills can include:

  • Operations management. The ability to maintain strict control of product inventory, as well as the vital business processes that contribute to immediate and lasting success.
  • Creative problem-solving. The ability to come up with new strategies and solutions to product issues.
  • Interpersonal communication. The ability to correspond with fellow team members and corporate executives, to clearly communicate product goals, and suggest product optimizations to further improve customer response.
  • Data-based product reporting. The ability to create user-friendly reports that convey accurate product reception metrics, and present findings regularly to interested stakeholders.
  • Financial management. The ability to understand financial benefit or loss, as it relates specifically to product-related costs and dividends.
  • Holistic marketing. The ability to understand, and leverage, cross-channel marketing to promote products across appropriate channels.
  • Research and analysis. The ability to analyze past and current product reception trends to inform future business operations and product strategies.

These skills and others help make a product manager successful on a day-to-day basis. High levels of creativity and a strong desire to communicate are central to this role, whether a product manager is presenting results to investors or developing more efficient production processes.

Our Online University Degree Programs Start on the First of Every Month, All Year Long

No need to wait for spring or fall semester. It's back-to-school time at WGU year-round. Get started by talking to an Enrollment Counselor today, and you'll be on your way to realizing your dream of a bachelor's or master's degree—sooner than you might think!

Next Start Date
{{startdate}}

Interested in Becoming a Product Manager?

Learn more about degree programs that can prepare you for this meaningful career.