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How Do I Become a Technical Product Manager?

Helen Akers
Helen Akers

To become a technical product manager, a professional needs a combination of technical and business related degrees. A product manager position is a mid-level management job that may require five or more years of experience. Many employers require candidates to have direct experience with certain types of technologies and platforms. Prior experience with product introductions and leadership ability is also helpful.

A technical degree in engineering or computer science is usually required in order to become a technical product manager. Many employers give preference to candidates who obtain a master's degree in business administration (MBA). Since substantial experience and education is needed to become a technical product manager, it is recommended that candidates obtain that experience between degrees. Some companies may consider individuals with as few as three years of product management experience, while others prefer at least five.

Man with hands on his hips
Man with hands on his hips

Technical product managers should be able to lead and motivate others. They should also be able to understand both technical and market driven concepts. Verbal communication and business leadership experience are just as important as technical knowledge. These managers need to be able to explain complicated subject matter to less knowledgeable or advanced personnel and customers.

Gaining experience with a specific technical industry can be a crucial step for someone who wants to become a technical product manager. Some examples of focus include mobile phone technology, software programming languages, web-based application languages and file transfer. An aspiring technical product manager should familiarize himself with current products, market trends, upcoming innovations, and companies that have made a presence in the industry. Gaining an internship that brings an individual close to the product research and development process will most likely prove to be highly beneficial.

In order to become a technical product manager, an aspiring professional should seek out opportunities to lead product development campaigns. Most organizations look to promote internal personnel who are familiar with the development and launch process. While a leadership role may not be readily available, an individual should strive to eventually obtain one. Future product managers should also look for ways to demonstrate their leadership ability, which they may be able to do through special assignments and special interest committees.

Good technical product manager training might also include the development of sales and presentation skills. Since an important duty is to sell and champion previously unknown products to potential buyers, these managers must be able to communicate persuasively. Most MBA programs feature selling courses that may be taken as electives or as part of a concentration in marketing.

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