Product Management Career Path

Do you want to become a Product Manager? If yes, then you must wonder what shape your Product Management career will take in the next 7 to 10 years. It’s a fairly worrying and important question.

Product Management roles vary largely across industries, companies, products, and within a company as well. Understanding the Product Management career path is important to choose the right role according to your experience, skills, and interests.

In this post, we discuss the Product Management career path along with roles and responsibilities for each designation. If you are planning to transition to Product Management, check out the article below to find the right Product Management role for you.

Product Management Career Path

1. Associate Product Manager

If you are a fresh graduate or an early career professional planning to transition to Product Management, then an Associate Product Manager role is ideal for you. The position of an Associate PM is very similar to that of a Product Manager in terms of roles and responsibilities. But in comparison to a Product Manager, an Associate PM works on a smaller scale.

Some of the top product companies such as Google, Linkedin, Facebook, Uber, Lyft, Twitter, IBM, and Walmart run an Associate Product Manager program. These Associate Product Management programs are a one-year or more rotational program giving young enthusiasts an introduction to the world of Product Management.

Check out the job description of the Google Associate Product Manager program below.

Photo: Google Careers

2. Product Manager

A Product Manager is a mid-level position in Product Management. The description of a Product Manager role varies with the company and the type of product. Candidates applying for this position are usually not required to have exclusive Product Management experience. However, one must have relevant experience demonstrating the skills and qualities companies look for in a Product Manager.

In a nutshell, the job responsibilities of a Product Manager include:

  • Create and manage product roadmaps
  • Engage with customers and take feedback
  • Interact with engineering and business teams and stakeholders
  • Track metrics, KPIs  for the product
  • Use and present data insights

Check out the job description of the Product Manager at Paytm below.

3. Senior Product Manager

A Senior Product Manager role would be your first step towards becoming a product leader. A senior PM requires in-depth knowledge and experience of Product Management specific to an industry/domain.

The job responsibilities of a Senior Product Manager include more accountability, communication with senior management, and leading the product team.

For a Senior Product Manager role candidates usually require experience of 5 years or more. However, brands also hire candidates with lesser experience and exceptional skills for Senior Product Manager roles.

Check out the job description of Senior Product Manager at Amazon below.

Photo: Amazon Careers


4. Director of Product

A Director of Product is the first leadership role in Product Management. You reach the level of Director of Product after displaying years of experience and a proven track record as a Senior/Product Manager.

A Director of Product is responsible for building, managing, and leading a team of Product Managers, Product Leads, and Product Heads. A Director of Product should have in-depth technical and business knowledge and Product Management experience of at least 10 years to make informed decisions and lead the Product division of the company.

Check out the job description of the Director of Product at Salesforce below.

5. Vice-President of Product

A VP of Product is usually hired by large organizations that have a long list of product offerings. A VP of Product is not involved in day-to-day Product Management and development processes, however, oversees the entire product portfolio of a company. A VP of Product manages a team of Directors and AVP’s across different product divisions of the company.

It’s a high-level position and requires 10 to 15 years of experience with a focus on developing products. To move to a VP of Product role you should have entrepreneurial instincts, display excellent leadership, management, communication, technical, data, business, and marketing skills. A VP of product is responsible for setting the product vision of the organization, making strategic decisions, and leading product teams.

Check the job description of Vice-President of Product at Amazon below.

Photo: Amazon Careers

6. Chief Product Officer

A Chief Product Officer or CPO is probably the highest Product Management position in any organization. Companies hire CPOs with experience ranging between 10 to 20 years, depending on their requirements. A CPO is responsible for setting the company’s long-term product vision, driving product innovation, and growth.

Check the job description of CPO, Payments at Michael Page.

In addition to the above-discussed Product Management roles, companies also hire for specific roles such as Technical Product Manager, Product lead, Growth Product Manager, Customer Product Manager, Sr. Director, Product Management, and AVP Product Management.

If you are interviewing for a Product Manager role, you must check out our article on Product Management interview questions. These questions will help you prepare and crack the PM interview.

We hope you found this article useful. If you want to know more about building a career in Product Management, connect with us here.

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