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The Product Manager Career Path

Posted on 
September 14, 2021
|
by 
Team Interview Kickstart

Product Management is a highly popular and sought-after career path at mid-tier and Tier-1 tech companies. Due to the high demand for talent for product management roles, large tech companies hire product managers throughout the year, offering lucrative salaries. The role of product manager bears significant responsibility and requires considerable analytical skills. The product manager career path offers exciting opportunities for growth and personal development. 

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In this article, we’ll understand the core responsibilities of product managers and the growth opportunities this role presents over the course of 5-10 years.

Here’s what we’ll cover in this article:

  • New Product Development Career Path — Types of Product Managers
  • Role and Responsibilities of Product Managers and Technical Product Managers
  • The Product Manager Career Ladder — Product Manager Levels
  • How to Prepare for Product Manager Interviews at FAANG Companies

New Product Development Career Path — Types of Product Managers

You will require a few years of experience to qualify for a product management role. 

There are two types of product management roles:

  • Technical Product Manager (TPM)

Engineering Managers or engineers with considerable years of experience on a particular product graduate to a TPM role. 

  • Product Manager (PMs who don’t deal with technical projects)

If you don’t have sufficient technical experience but have considerable experience working on a product, you’ll typically move to a PM role. 

How to Gain Product Management Experience

Engineers typically progress to a PM role through successive promotions or by undertaking an Associate Product Management program. APM programs educate you on the responsibilities of PM roles and how to fulfill them. This qualifies you to either apply to open PM positions at new companies or move up laterally within your own company

Role and Responsibilities of Product Managers and Technical Product Managers

Product Managers play a crucial role in ensuring that projects progress and are delivered seamlessly. In this section, we’ll look at the responsibilities of PMs and TPMs, and how they help companies achieve their financial and growth objectives. 

Responsibilities of Technical Product Managers

TPMs are essentially PMs who deal with the technical aspects of projects. However, they aren’t responsible for functions such as writing code or designing system architectures. 

Responsibilities of a TPM include:

  • Allocating resources for the completion of technical projects
  • Planning budgeting and finances of projects
  • Foreseeing project risks and taking appropriate responsive action
  • Understanding product behavior and metrics and devising appropriate strategies
  • Working across teams to ensure projects progress smoothly; eliminating roadblocks
  • Conducting market research and quantitative research
  • Gathering insights from data; liaising with technical teams to build tools and applications

Responsibilities of Product Managers

Product Managers are responsible for processes related to a particular project. Below are the responsibilities of a typical Product Manager:

  • Determining the scope of projects and oversee progress from start to completion
  • Understanding consumer data and trends to devise effective growth strategies 
  • Tracking product metrics and understanding consumer behavior to drive effective strategies
  • Performing market and quantitative research; devising product success strategies
  • Analyzing project risks and taking steps to eliminate them
  • Allocating resources effectively to ensure the smooth functioning of projects 
  • Coordinating teams to improve project performance and build applications

The Product Manager Career Ladder — Product Manager Levels

PM career ladders at large tech companies usually feature different job levels based on experience and skill levels. 

Below are the most common Product Manager job levels:

  • Associate Product Manager (APM) — Entry-level Management

APMs are entry-level product managers who assist senior product managers in devising product strategies. APMs focus on understanding consumer behavior, tracking data metrics, and suggesting areas for improvement.

APMs earn annual salaries or compensations ranging from $90,000 to $110,000, including cash bonuses and restricted stock units.

  • Product Managers and Senior Product Managers — Mid-Level Management

Mid-level product managers are responsible for ensuring teams work optimally to meet project deadlines. 

Mid-level PMs focus on quantitative research and project metrics. They also work cross-functionally to ensure the smooth running of projects.  

Mid-level Product Managers in the US earn annual salaries or compensations ranging up to $250,000.

  • Product Leaders, Group Product Managers, and Principal Product Managers — Senior-Level Management 

PMs at this level are responsible for company-wide goals and objectives. 

They oversee the progress of projects and devise strategies for overall success. They also focus on planning, budgeting, project financing, and risk management, among other things. 

Typically, 12-15 years of PM experience is required to get to this level.  

Group PMs and Principal PMs can earn annual salaries or compensations ranging up to $500,000 in the United States. Compensations depend on experience and seniority.  

How to Prepare for Product Manager Interviews at FAANG Companies

If you’re a software engineer, a coding engineer, or a software developer looking to land a Product Management role with a FAANG company, check out Interview Kickstart’s Product Manager Interview Course. It is the first-of-its-kind interview preparation course specifically designed to help product managers nail the toughest tech interviews.

At IK, we’ve helped thousands of engineers land lucrative offers at FAANG and Tier-1 companies. Find out how we can help you — register for our free webinar today.

FAQs on the Product Manager Role

Q. What is the interview process like for product managers?

A typical product manager interview process includes a phone screen and an on-site interview. The phone screen involves an initial phone screen with HR or a recruiter and 1-2 phone interviews with existing PMs or the Hiring Manager. During the on-site, you can expect 3-7 interview rounds, including multiple coding interviews, a system design interview, and behavioral interviews.

Read Product Manager Interview Process and Preparation to learn more.

Q. What is the salary of a product manager?

The salary will depend on a variety of factors such as the company and your experience level. For example, Google product managers can earn anywhere between $167,000 to $727,000 per year, while at Apple, the annual salary range for product managers is $35,000 to $505,000. 

Recommended Reading:
Google Product Manager Salary
Amazon Product Manager Salary
Apple Product Manager Salary

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