The Career Path Of A Technical Product Manager In The Year 2020

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Our everyday products and services have also started to bear the streaks of technology in the current digital world. Given how it is permeating through every channel, it becomes crucial to identify roles and job positions relevant to promote the growth, development, and maturation of technological products.

As a result of this diversification, there is a growing demand for Technical Product Managers. They are more focused on the technical aspects related to the product, and as such, must possess strong technical skills. Thus, these officials interact largely with the engineering team rather than coordinating with sales, marketing, and business management.

Career Path of a Technical Product Manager

A Technical Product Manager is no different from your regular Product Manager. In addition to the existing roles and responsibilities of a Product Manager, a Technical Product Manager will be more specialized in technical solutions. Therefore, the career path of a Technical Product Manager will cover the following six roles:

1. Associate Product Manager

An Associate Product Manager is an entry-level position wherein you will have to demonstrate your customer-centric product development skills. Thus, you will have to display qualities such as empathy, excellent listening skills, curiosity, leadership, teamwork capacity, and eye for detail. You must also learn to put these abilities to practical use.

Further, you must also take this time to understand the nitty-gritty of product development. Understand how market research is carried out and what goes into making a perfect product pitch.

Get a hold of all the strategies involved in realizing your product, and all the challenges that come in the way. You will be better prepared to take on the role of a product manager.

2. Product Manager

After you have amassed a certain amount of experience, an Associate Product Manager will graduate to the position of a Product Manager. However, you can make a direct entry to this level if you have requisite business experience and can demonstrate your collaboration, prioritization, and communication skill. Enrolling in product management courses could be an excellent hack to get a step ahead of the rest.

A Product Manager is a mid-level position wherein you will have to strategize, create roadmaps, and decide product features. You will also be the point of contact for the various design and development teams that help you realize the product.

Given the tactical and strategic nature of this job, you will have to make several data-driven decisions. Further, you will have to develop strong product knowledge to ensure that the product development process keeps moving further.

3. Senior Product Manager

Once you have proven your mettle as a Product Manager, you will then get promoted to Senior Product Manager. By this point in your career, you would have gained direct product management experience. Since this is a senior-level position, you will have to take charge, lead by example, assume responsibility, make snap-moment decisions, and be accountable for them.

While the basic day-to-day activities remain the same, your actions will be more visible and impactful. You will also be working with the C-suite of your organization and briefing them upon the development status of your product.

While data is still crucial for a Senior Product Manager, managing or analyzing it will be a job that you can entrust your juniors. At this position, you will be more concerned about the customer experience and having a broader overview of the product development process.

4. Director of Product Management

As the name indicates, the Director of Product (or Product Management) is a director-level post. Here, your leadership qualities and team-building abilities will be put to the test. In this position, you will largely be responsible for building and developing an effective product development strategy that can act as a blueprint for most product development activities.

The Director of Product Management diverts from product development, and shifts focus on leading the product development. They need to ensure that the teams are working like well-oiled machines, and if there are issues, they will address it.

Once again, you will fall back to a data-centric approach where you will conduct market research, competition analysis, and strategizing. You will also be responsible for monitoring the individual and team KPIs to streamline the organizational performance.

5. Vice President of Product Management

Congrats on breaking through the glass ceiling and making it to the executive level position of product management!

The VP of Product Management is responsible for high-level support in terms of inputs and resources for product development. You now get to have a say in the budgeting of the product and will make monumental strategic decisions. As you move away from a hands-on approach, you will act as an enabler for product development and promotion.

One of the key responsibilities of the VP of the Product involves future-proofing their product. Thus, you not only analyze the relevance of the product in the current context but also estimate future requirements. Accordingly, you may have to build a team, introduce changes, or develop a new product based on these projections.

6. Chief Product Officer

When you make it to the top rungs of product management, you will assume the charge of a Chief Product Officer. What a CEO is to an organization, the CPO is to the product. Since several organizations have multiple VPs of Product Management, the CPO oversees their actions and performances.

Given that this is a top-tier position in the career path of a product manager, the CPO mainly has the final say in crucial matters such as staff or resource allocation, budgeting, research, and product portfolio management.

You will be responsible for setting up long and short-term goals and motivating your teams to achieve them. Several CPOs get the opportunity to diversify their role further and assume the role of a General Manager, CEO, COO, and other executive-level positions.

Conclusion

As you can see from above, there is a great potential of breaking into the C-suite of your organization even as you start your career at an entry-level position as an Associate Product Manager. As you move up the corporate ladder, your decisions will change from being product-centric to organization-specific. However, at all stages, you will have to be the leader that drives the team!