Information Technology

Top 9 Product Manager Skills

Top 9 Product Manager Skills
Product managers shepherd a product throughout its lifecycle, including development and product launches. Image from Pexels
Lucien Formichella profile
Lucien Formichella August 29, 2022

Product managers strive to develop products to meet ever-changing customer needs. These driven professionals need a potent combination of soft and hard skills to succeed.

I.T. Degree Programs You Should Consider

Article continues here

A product manager is like the hubs of a bike wheel—they support all the spokes (i.e., different teams) to keep projects rolling smoothly and steadily forward.

Product managers shepherd a product throughout its lifecycle, including development and product launches. They typically come from technical backgrounds; they may hold a bachelor’s degree in computer science or information technology. These professionals also need excellent soft skills to collaborate with essential stakeholders. Truly great product managers have a diverse skill set.

Product managers are well-compensated for their robust skills. The United States Bureau of Labor Statistics reports that project managers earn close to $100,000 annually (product management is a subset of project management). Top product managers earn much more; according to Glassdoor, a product manager at Google earns over $250,000 in average total compensation.

This article on the top 9 product manager skills covers what it takes to become a great product manager and get paid like one, including:

  • Top 9 product manager skills
  • Do I need a Master of Science in Information Management to be a product manager?
  • Top Master of Science in Information Management programs

Top 9 product manager skills

Successful product managers need well-rounded skillsets because they collaborate with many professionals, including the engineering team, sales team, product development team, executives, and even customers. It’s possible to break the top product manager skills into three categories: technical skills, soft skills, and financial skills.

Technical skills

Product managers use data science to realize the product vision. While they may not personally operate technology, product managers need a basic knowledge to direct those who do.

Agile methologies

Though not every organization prioritizes agility (it depends on your industry), product managers who understand agile methodologies are in high demand. One of the most recognizable agile systems is Scrum, a framework for breaking employees into groups and pushing them to meet realistic goals in a short time. It can help product managers develop a product roadmap and organize work across cross-functional teams to achieve goals like prototype developments and product launches.


While analysts typically collect data during market research, product managers need the analytical skills to utilize it for decision-making and optimization. They must evaluate data to meet customer needs and business goals, including risk management.

Industry-specific knowledge

Product managers need a deep understanding of their field to develop product features that create value propositions and appeal to consumers. The job description for a product manager typically reflects many industry-specific skills alongside general product management capabilities.

System design

System design involves creating a workflow that brings disparate teams together in pursuit of a single goal. The essence of product management, system design requires technical and interpersonal skills. System designers can utilize tools like Unified Modeling Language (UML) to design and customize systems.

Soft skills

Product managers rely heavily on soft skills to achieve their goals. Understanding advanced machine learning and artificial intelligence is useless if you do not know how to convey your needs and motivate others to work with you. Here are the top soft skills for product managers:


Though you may use technology and data analysis to solve problems, problem-solving is still considered a soft skill. Good product managers have the flexibility, wherewithal, and prioritization skills to quickly address issues without losing their heads. Emotional intelligence and networking can make problem-solving easier. Interpersonal and communication skills may be the difference between getting a team member to do something quickly or not at all.


Communication may be the most important skill a product manager can have. Depending on the job description, they may communicate with executives, sales, product development, and more. It requires advanced communication skills to motivate people of different personalities and keep everyone on the same page.


Leadership is an amalgamation of several skills, including time management and communication. Effective leaders listen to other people’s ideas and select the best ones without fraying egos and letting the environment devolve into chaos. Great leaders are decisive but not rigid; they understand when it’s best to let people manage themselves versus take a more direct role.

Strategic thinking

Product managers focus on the big picture, especially as they advance in their careers. Senior product managers have more say in product planning than junior managers. Strategic thinking requires high-level organizational and prioritization skills, especially when determining where to focus your resources. It can be difficult because product managers focus on numerous tasks, including product marketing, development, product launching, pricing, and user experience. These professionals think about product requirements throughout development to achieve the best product possible.

Financial skills

Budgeting is more than just ensuring numbers line up on a spreadsheet; it involves allocating funds to projects and teams. You’ll need to understand how much something should cost and where it’s possible to reduce costs without sacrificing the result. Depending on your product manager job, you may be given a budget or work on one with executives and other stakeholders on the product team as part of a product strategy.


“I’m Interested in Information Technology!”

University and Program Name Learn More

Do I need a Master of Science in Information Management to be a product manager?

You do not need a Master of Science in Information Management (MSIM) to become a product manager; hiring managers typically put a premium on experience. However, an MSIM (or another master’s degree like a Master of Business Administration) can help you land the most competitive positions. If you want to work in senior management at a top company, consider a master’s.

These programs can also help early career professionals get better jobs and career-changers break into the field. Students can complete them full or part-time, online or in-person. Schools may even offer accelerated tracks for seasoned students.

What is a Master of Science in Information Management?

MSIM degrees cover information management—the practice of improving business practices with technology. They typically take two years to complete on a full-time basis; some programs offer accelerated or part-time options. These degrees lead to many different career outcomes like program, product, or project manager, business intelligence engineer, senior analyst, senior IT consultant, IT manager, and chief information officer.

Skills a Master of Science in Information Management program will teach you

Again, this depends on your career goals and the kind of program you choose. University of Washington specializations include business intelligence, data science, and program management. Each offers a unique set of goals and coursework. Data science students use programming and machine learning to advance business goals while program managers complete leadership coursework and study management throughout the product lifecycle.

Top Master of Science in Information Management programs

Excellent schools to study MSIM or a related field include:

Questions or feedback? Email

About the Editor

Tom Meltzer spent over 20 years writing and teaching for The Princeton Review, where he was lead author of the company's popular guide to colleges, before joining Noodle.

To learn more about our editorial standards, you can click here.


You May Also Like To Read

Categorized as: Information TechnologyInformation Technology & Engineering