5 Avenues of the Product Manager Career Path

product manager career path

Your Product Manager career path will likely evolve over time. There are many different opportunities for Product Managers, whether you are just getting into product management, you are ready to grow within the product management field, or you are looking for what comes after product management.

The ability to dip your toes into every part of the company as a Product Manager will help you decide what career path you’d most like to follow. Additionally, the entire community at Product Gym is happy to help you learn about all your options within and beyond product management.

1. Moving up in the Industry

Oftentimes, Product Managers find themselves climbing the corporate ladder. This can be great for those of you who are just entering the product management field and looking to learn the ropes of the company. Another perk of working up the ranks within your company is the chance to explore other parts of the business and learn what interests you the most. 

That being said, there is only so much room for growth in big companies, such as the FAANG companies. We tend to see Product Managers in this area looking for a place where they can continue to grow. Finding a new company in your industry, maybe a smaller startup, will often give you a better chance at gaining a hirer title. These companies will be looking for someone with experience to manage an entire product sector.

2. Going into a Parallel Industry

Despite what you may have heard, it is possible to change industries as a Product Manager, regardless of what stage of your career you are in. If you are just getting into product management, don’t feel confined to the industry you have previously worked in. You will actually benefit from being more open-minded and applying to more positions across multiple industries. This strategy gives you the opportunity to schedule and practice more interviews. The key to landing any product management position is not experience or education but the ability to sell yourself in an interview

Follow Your Passion

As an experienced Product Manager looking for a new challenge, you can also pursue an industry transition. It is not uncommon for Product Managers to leave their industry to find something they are more passionate about. We have coaches and resources to help you move into the industry that you are excited about and interested in: Explore our free webinar training, or get in touch with us to learn how our coaches can help you take the next step in your Product Manager career path.

3. Joining a Venture Capitalist Firm

Over the last three to five years we have seen more venture capitalist firms bringing on Product Managers to audit other product teams before they decide to invest in them. Venture capitalist firms need experienced Product Managers to go into a startup company and really see how that product team is functioning. In this role, it would be your job to identify the roadmap of the company, check the backlog of the team, and really identify if the people behind the product have what it takes to be successful.

4. Offering Startup Consulting

Another career path you may wander down is freelance product management. As an experienced Product Manager, you have expertise that other companies, especially startups, would happily pay for. One way to approach this is by working a few extra hours a week outside of your day job. Eventually, this can reach the point where keeping your day job is actually costing you as opposed to making you money.

5. Starting Your Own Company

Lastly, and the end goal for many Product Managers, starting your own company. A large number of people getting into product management are pursuing this career path to take them to business ownership someday. The reason product management is a good career path for aspiring entrepreneurs is because so much of a Product Manager’s job is taking on responsibility and making decisions similarly to how you would as a CEO or founder of a company. Product management is a great place to practice ensuring success with limited resources and information. 

Where Do You Want Your Product Manager Career Path to Take You?

No one Product Manager’s career path is going to look the same. Your experience, personal goals, and overall eagerness to learn will all play a factor when choosing your product management career path. If you’re still unsure of where you want to go or if you have questions, schedule a call with us today for a free coaching session, and our career coaches will help you decide on the best fit for you.

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