As we all know, product management is one of the most influential careers in the corporate world. Every decision you make as a product manager can influence the behaviour of millions of people using your product. It doesn't come as a surprise that such a heavy-weight job profile attracts a good salary and makes product management the most well paid and rewarding job in the corporate sector.
McKinsey & Co. refers to the product managers as mini CEOs. Product managers are the glue that binds many functions associated with a product like engineering, designing, sales, customer success, finance, marketing operations, legal, and many more. Product managers own the decisions about what gets built and influence every aspect of how it gets built and launched. There are reasons why product managers are called mini CEOs. One of them is that product management as a career also serves as a training ground for future CEOs. Renowned CEOs like Indra Nooyi, Satya Nadella, and Sundar Pichai were all product managers at different levels of seniority at some point in their careers.
Did you know?
Less than a third of a product manager's time is spent on strategy.
Product Manager Salary in India
Product management salary in India is relatively high depending on the organisation you work with. Due to the high demand, this profile is one of the highest-paying jobs in the corporate field.
Also Read: What is Bank Manager Salary in India?
An MBA graduate from India can earn an average salary of around ₹15.2 lakhs per year, and this excludes the other salary components like bonuses and other perks. But this is just an approximate value. The highest median base salary offered to a product manager to work outside India by companies like Amazon, Microsoft, Flipkart, and Paytm, which regularly hire top MBAs from campus selection in premium business schools, is about ₹38 lakhs per annum. They earn a minimum starting salary of ₹16 lakhs per annum, excluding bonuses and other components. Coming to the salary earned by product managers in India, the entry-level median base salary of ₹10 lakhs per annum goes up to ₹23 lakhs per annum. This further increases in the form of increments as the experience increases. It is not surprising that tech companies pay product managers the highest salaries. Although other sectors like telecom, retail, media & entertainment also offer lucrative product management roles.
Who Is a Product Manager?
A product manager is like the captain of the ship or a mini-CEO of the product, and they need to be involved in everything right from the big picture to the tiniest of details related to the product. They are members of the core feature team, and they will be working with the designers and engineers to ship great products. A product manager uses credibility and not authority to lead the team.
What Qualifications Does a Product Manager Need?
There is no minimum qualification to apply for the role of a product manager. Depending on the company, some companies prefer product managers who have gone to business schools, and some companies prefer product managers with a technical background. A product manager's role is like filling in the white space. Different companies need product managers for different needs, and thus they hire people with various qualifications depending on the necessity.
Let us discuss the skills product managers need to have:
- Product skills – This is required to design and deliver a great product. It involves customer and data insight.
- Execution skills – This is required to keep the team running successfully, which is essential in delivering a bug-free product on time.
- Strategic skills – This is required to have a long-term vision of where your product is and where you want it to get to, and you also have a plan for how to get there.
- Leadership skills – A good leader should be able to explain to his employees everything related to the organisational goals and specific tasks and lead them towards achieving the same.
To summarise the exact qualification required to be a product manager, companies want to find out if you can make good decisions for the customer, the business, and the technical teams involved in building the product with the goal that quality product gets delivered on time.
If you are a student, here are a few points to note to increase your chance of becoming a product manager.
- Take on a leadership role – Leading a sports team or organising a college fest.
- Start a side project – Have a mobile app, website or some service of your own that tells the recruiter that you had exposure to product design and customer focus.
- Internship – Intern as a PM or a software engineer, which allows you to learn on the job.
- Start a small company – Starting a small company with friends will give you excellent exposure to leadership skills and interesting product management stores to share with your interviewer.
If you are an experienced professional working as a developer or a designer, here are a few points to note to increase your chance of becoming a product manager.
- Create a spectacular profile – List down everything you have done and share it on a job board.
- Work for a start-up – This will allow you to work in many roles, including a product manager role.
- Start networking – Meeting people who have already done what you want to do and take their guidance.
- Internal transfer – This is an excellent way as it also allows you to have more internal knowledge about different departments that you will be overseeing as a product manager.
- Regular talks with customers, product managers, and the sales team will help you understand the target audience.
- Attend customer calls – This will help in building customer empathy.
- Check and work on your previous performance reviews – This will help address any leadership or communication concerns.
You can move to a product manager role as long as you get some hands-on experience to acquire the skills.
What is the Career Path of a Product Manager?
The career path of a product manager depends on the company you work for. Each company defines the career path in different ways as per their requirement. Depending on the responsibilities and initiatives you are willing to take, the company decides to move you to higher roles. However, the standard career path for a product manager with the terminologies used in the industry is as mentioned below.
Associate Product Manager / Junior Product Manager / Product Analyst – Works for a project under the guidance of a Senior Product Manager who acts as a mentor and provides on-the-job training on becoming a good Product Manager and delivering the customer requirement.
Product Manager – You will be leading the entire or a portion of the product delivery. You will be accountable for the product from scratch. That is, from the design phase to the delivery phase. Though multiple teams like designers, engineers, and sales teams are involved, the success or failure of the product will be dependent on you.
Senior Product Manager – You will be guiding several product managers. Here you will have less of an executive role, but you will be setting up the vision for the product portfolio as well as the team, and you need to make sure the company is moving in the same direction, which is in alignment with the customer.
There is a more significant requirement for product managers in India as companies must deploy software or deliver products with high quality and on time. The analysis also shows that the demand for product managers will increase. The prominent deciding factor for a product manager's salary depends on the skills you have built, the mastery you have in executing them, and how you utilise them to grow quickly and help the organisation succeed. We hope this article helped you in understanding the role of a product manager and how you can move towards achieving it.
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