Top 5 Hard Skills Every Product Manager Should Have

Product Management is a one of its kind tech role which doesn’t require a technical background. Having said that, to become a successful Product Manager, you need to have some key hard skills. These Product Management hard skills are transferable skills that will become more important as you move up the career ladder. 

Why Product Managers Need Hard Skills?

Every Product Manager works at the intersection of Business, Technology, and Design. Thus, having skills from all three segments of Product Management is crucial. 

As a Product Manager, you will not be required to develop an app or design an interface. Rather you will have to engage with engineering, design, and marketing teams, set the product roadmap, analyse data trends, plan product user tests, and finally decide what should and should not be built.  

To perform these tasks and be more efficient, fast, independent, and successful, you need subject matter knowledge and master the right hard skills

Top 5 Hard Skills Every Product Manager Should Have

Now that we have understood why hard skills are important, let’s talk about which Product Management skills you need to have. 

Understanding of Technology

When we speak of technical skills, we are often asked this question – Do I need to learn coding to become a Product Manager? The answer is no. To code, you will have engineers on your team. 

But as a Product Manager, you should be familiar with how the technical segments of a product life cycle work. Knowing common technical aspects such as software development, web/application development, APIs, algorithms, operating systems, network security, structures, testing, troubleshooting, and more will help you: 

  • Communicate your requirements and goals better
  • Engage and understand the challenges and requirements of the engineering and development team more effectively
  • Function independently without being dependent on any technical spoc to simplify things for you

Eye For Design 

After technology, design is the second most important aspect of Product Management. You will be responsible for getting designed a user-friendly, attractive, and smart product

As you will not be required to design any feature/product yourself you don’t need to know to design in and out. But as a Product Manager, you must know the process of UI and UX designing and other important designing aspects such as wireframing, prototyping, and mock-ups. 

Have a Way With Data

The third important Product Management skill is Data Analysis. As a Product Manager, you will have to call the shots on important matters such as which feature to add, how the product should look, and more. You cannot go making these important product decisions in the blind. You will need trends, data, and patterns to make these informed decisions. 

Having data extraction and analysis skills and hands-on experience on tools such as Excel, SQL, Tableau, Google Analytics, Pendo, and Hotjar becomes necessary to be a successful Product Manager. 

In addition to data analysis skills, you should also be familiar with different metrics such as time spent on pages, unique users, and NorthStar metrics, to track and measure the performance of your product. 

Knowledge of A/B testing

One of the most important skills in the toolbox of a Product Manager is A/B testing. Also known as split testing, the process includes dividing the user base into two groups and testing two different features. A/B testing eliminates guesswork and helps Product Managers to make informed decisions based on user response. 

As a Product Manager, you should know how A/B testing works, plan a test, analyse responses, and make decisions based on the test. If you’re from a non-technical background, you can always rely on engineering teams to work on the technical aspects of carrying out the A/B testing. To make A/B testing more effective and efficient, you can also use PM tools such as Optimizely, AB Tasty, and Google Optimize.

Business & Marketing Sense 

Without the right business and marketing skills, every Product Manager is incomplete. As a Product Manager, you need business acumen, market research skills, knowledge of SEO, and an understanding of marketing concepts

Further, you should also know core business-related concepts such as revenues, profit and loss, cash flow, budgeting, and more. These business and marketing skills are used at every stage of Product Management – from one of the initial steps such as market research to product launch and post-launch activities. 

These are the top 5 skills every Product Manager should have. If you’re an aspiring Product Manager, then the best way to learn these PM skills is a certification course. A Product Management certification would help you learn the basics and prepare you to crack PM interviews. 

We hope you found this article useful. If you think any more hard skills should be on this list, let us know in the comments below.

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