It’s an old trope to comment on how little the average consumer knows about the process involved in the design, manufacture, marketing, and delivery of the products they end up buying from the store shelves (or through their devices). And it’s often mentioned in order to explain and highlight the various roles and people involved in production and supply chains, particularly the product team—which doesn’t always receive credit for their part in the process. However, there is one person who is frequently omitted from this narrative (and, ironically, it’s the person most responsible for everything): the product manager.
The product manager (who also is sometimes referred to as the program manager) is responsible for a product’s development throughout its lifecycle. From determining a new product’s viability to managing its release into the marketplace, it’s the product manager’s job to conceive product strategies and utilize operational information to shepherd a product from concept to finish—all while maintaining an ongoing dialogue with all of the stakeholders throughout the process.
In the job market, product management is a particularly valuable skill, as it is in demand—from startups to long-established corporations—across all manner of industries, including: aerospace, energy, finance, information technology, software development, transportation, and more.
Below, you’ll find our product manager job market 2022 report, as well as:
The following positions represent the product manager jobs that are most in demand in the current market (and the ones jobseekers should keep their eyes open for):
Associate product manager: This is the most feasible entry-level position for those looking to secure a job right out of school (or transition to a new field), as it usually only requires a bachelor’s degree, plus some work experience. Associate product managers work closely with senior product managers, focusing on such detail-oriented tasks as market research and other data-related metrics, and are often called upon to be team leaders. The median salary for an associate product manager in the US is $72,560.
Product manager: After a few years of experience as an associate product manager (or equivalent experience in an adjacent area, such as marketing or engineering) and an established track record, you may be hired or promoted to product manager, which has many of the same responsibilities of an associate product manager, but at a larger scale and possessing more authority. This is a middle management role, but one that is paid well. The median salary for a product manager in the US is $98,556.
Senior product manager: The next step on the ladder, a senior product manager has anywhere between five to eight years of product management experience under their belt. A hallmark of this position is that you will be expected to oversee multiple programs—both the development of new products and the maintenance of existing ones—often balancing the needs of one against the requirements of another. You also are expected to coordinate with other departments on strategies related to production, promotions, and sales. The median salary for a Sr. Product Manager in the US is $131,449.
Project manager: If the product manager is responsible for designing the product roadmap, the project manager is responsible for driving the route. The project manager is responsible for assembling the workforce, ensuring that everyone involved has a clear sense of the project’s objectives, securing whatever agreements need to be in place before work can commence, and bringing the work in on time and within budget. The median salary for a project manager in the US is $96,002.
Product owner: The product owner is responsible for creating a database of stories that inform the organization as to what the product needs, based on customer experience. The product owner also takes part in regular meetings to determine how well the product is living up to those needs, as the production proceeds (in the industry, these team meetings are known as "scrums"). This information is used for determining what sort of product features may be most advantageous. The median salary for a product owner in the US is $107,650.
Technical product manager: Technical product manager jobs go to those who have comprehensive backgrounds in technology. Technical product managers are assigned to a specific area or called in to advise whenever technological know-how is required, particularly in such areas as architecture, specifications, networks, engineering, and e-commerce. Their expertise also is useful in competitive analysis. The median salary for a technical product manager in the US is $117,699.
Digital product manager: A digital product manager does everything a “regular" product manager does, only for digital products: video games, websites, apps, and other types of software development (not surprisingly, many digital product managers start as software engineers). They also are involved in promotion, competitive analysis, and determining necessary upgrades to existing digital products. The median salary for a digital product manager in the US is $107,870.
Product marketing manager: Your team may have the benefit of masterful product vision and impeccable product design, but if the public doesn’t perceive your product to be what it needs to be, it’s all for naught. The product marketing manager’s job is to ensure that the company’s vision is in line with what the public wants and that the product’s position, messaging, and brand are all communicated in a way that optimizes sales. Additionally, unlike most product managers, the product marketing manager sometimes plays a role in pricing. The median salary for a product marketing manager in the US is $67,159.
Director of product: In contrast to a product manager, the director of product is more directly involved in the actual production, overseeing all of the teams involved, starting with design—determining and communicating product initiatives—and working their way through to such latter elements of the production process as delivery, marketing, and user experience (UX). The median salary for a director of product in the US is $148,774.
Technical program manager: Like many of the jobs on this list, technical program managers are involved in the production of a product from beginning to end. They must determine requirements during product development, the scope of the production, and ensure everything is delivered on schedule. As well, they formulate and evaluate solutions to whatever problems may arise during the production process. The median salary for a technical program manager in the US is $133,003.
A Master of Science in Information Management program will prepare you for a successful career in product management by enabling you to:
Information management is focused on:
According to the University of Washington, a Master of Science in Information Management is an interdisciplinary approach to the study of information management for students who intend to become experts in this field. MSIM students learn to utilize information to set organizational strategies and improve productivity and help others make better sense of the information they encounter and use at work and in their lives.
Some of the most highly-regarded Master of Science in Information Management programs in the country include:
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