But even for software products, the MOST IMPORTANT skills have nothing to do with computer science. A product manager's job is to determine which problems your company should solve, and so you need to understand your target customers' problems better than anyone. It also requires strong analytical skills, because you get feedback from many sources as a PM and you are responsible for prioritizing all of the feedback and requests.
A product manager then works with a team of engineers to figure out HOW to develop a solution to solve these problems. Those engineers certainly should have CS skills if the product is a software solution, but it's really optional for a Product Manager. In fact, Product Managers with CS background can too easily get sucked into the HOW, which can constrain their thinking about which problem to solve. PMs without CS background actually have an advantage in this regard.
In short, I don't think CS skills are a requirement for being a good PM, but many software companies ask that PMs have a CS background because it's shows familiarity—and interest in—software development, which is how software products are built. You may encounter CS background as a "required skill" on job descriptions for PMs at software companies, but I don't think it's a requirement to do the job well. If you encounter this, you may want to apply anyway and include a cover letter explaining why you believe you can overcome your lack of CS experience/skills with your strong analytical skills.
This article is a bit old, but often-cited in the Bay Area as a seminal article on the role of a PM: https://a16z.com/2012/06/15/good-product-managerbad-product-manager/
Beth recommends the following next steps:
I like it this quote:
“You are kind of the mini-CEO – with all of the responsibility…but without any of the authority.”
-JOSH ELMAN – PARTNER AT GREYLOCK, FORMER PRODUCT MANAGER AT TWITTER, FACEBOOK, AND LINKEDIN
Pls visit below website and you will learn about five, basic technical skill necessary for each PM.
Depends *heavily* on the company. Some companies basically require a CS or similar degree (math, other engineering) and some basic understanding of relevant bits of CS. Other companies, you can get a PM job with essentially zero background.
So no, you don't *need* to have some basic CS skills, but it would be very helpful, and for some companies it'd be required.
I identified three skills that - I think - are important as a Product Manager:
- Cross-functional Teamwork: Leading without managing is something you will hear a lot as a Product Manager, you work with a Product team that does not report to you and you have to be able to: make the connections, understand everyone's way of working & pace, as well as motivations & needs, etc. Adapting is key here.
- Strategizing and Prioritizing: You have a sometimes lengthy product roadmaps and backlog items. You need to be able to: weight opportunities, understand priorities, see the bigger picture, etc. Organization here is the key.
- Data Analytics and Market Knowledge: Understanding markets and trends, gathering data and input, looking into numbers and health of your industry & product portfolio, implementing success metrics, measuring ROI and other ratios. Analytics here is the key.
There are as many types of Product Managers as there are Product Managers, and this is a non-exhaustive list of skills. Industry and product knowledge is definitely a plus but know that the skills to drive a team and leading through influencing is critical to be successful in this role.
Hope this helps,
Being a product manager may or may not require CS Skills depending on the company and the team . But to be really successful in what you are doing there has to be some amount of CS Skills, most good Product Managers I have met were previously Software Developers. The job also becomes interesting and you know what the developers or architect is talking about when you have CS skills and experience , otherwise you will be blank when they talk about technical difficulties to achieve something.
Hope this helps.
Thanks and Regards
Additionally, aim for 'T' based knowledge- go deep in one area and know the basics in other relevant areas. This means that you can show expertise in anything- say number crunching, data analysis, etc. while having working knowledge of other more technical aspects.
Hope this helps!
To build on that, you should know enough to be able to ask the right questions to your development team - but not to define the how yourself.
Building a great relationship with the engineering team will be key to your success. Without them, you won't be able to ship a product in time or shipping the product you had in mind. What has helped me throughout my career to build a trusted relationship with the engineering team was:
- making sure they understand the customer's problem they will be solving - this will help both of you when you will need to find tradeoffs
- make them feel proud of their mission. Keep them constantly posted on your customer's relationships
- be respectful of their time - be crystal clear on the product requirements, do not leave anything to interpretation
- ruthlessly prioritize your requirements and carve out a minimum viable product to ship first
- trust their judgment about resource estimation - but always ask questions about they got to that conclusion
I hope this helps!
As someone who started her career in a physical engineering field (civil engineering) with lots of book learning on physics and chemistry and then transferring into the software engineering, I found that the most transferrable skill and mindset for product management is curiosity with a practicing behavior to ask a lot of clarifying questions like: Why do you do that? Tell me more ...
Having a high level understanding of lots of technologies that your company uses and a deep understanding of the processes behind making changes should be your main focus.
As the above comments say, having good relationships with the engineers who can fill you in on the technical side and why a task may take longer than expected, you don't necessarily need to know or understand the technical side but have connections with people who do know.
It does help if you have a technical background but I have worked with a lot of great product managers who don't have a technical background.
It depends on how the product interacts with end users. Do you have to manage the software/drivers too to ensure the product is functioning as it should and being targeted to the right audience? Then CS skills may be required. Most of the time I find having general ideas on IT hardware and working with a mentor/colleague is the best way to transition to a PM role. Industry experience and knowledge of CS skills are added bonus.