As a first-time Product Manager, do you need to know how to code? No. A Product Manager does not need to know how to code. Coding for Product Managers is often considered to be a fundamental part of the role, but it’s actually not the most important skill to have.
A Product Manager is skilled in many things due to having many responsibilities that involve technology, user experience, and business. It is definitely a plus if the Product Manager knows how to code, but it is not required. What the Product Manager should mainly be worried about knowing is the current market, and delivering communications with the product team to ensure they are on the right path and are meeting delivery deadlines.
Is Coding for Product Managers Helpful to Know?
That said, if you do transition into a product management job from a technical background, you likely have some experience with coding. With knowledge of coding for Product Managers, you might be better off. But if you’re a PM with no coding experience, there’s no reason you can’t learn.
You, the Product Manager with no technical experience, might be able to gain some coding for Product Managers experience just by picking up the skills on the job. Understanding a bit of coding will allow you to gain an idea of how long it would usually take to complete a task that the engineers have to finish, so you can set reasonable deadlines. Of course, you can’t know everything there is about what they are doing, so don’t be afraid to ask your engineers questions.
Having a better understanding of their work is beneficial for you and the team. With the skills of coding for Product Managers, you’ll be better able to describe your requirements and what you want to be made more clear to your engineers. These skills will also make it easier for you to speak to your customers. Having knowledge of what is being done makes it easier for you to speak to your customers about the features that the product has.
If You’re a Coding Expert…
However, if you do have technical experience, that’s great! But, don’t flaunt it. There’s really no reason for you to take part in the engineering process of the product. That is not your job and it might even interfere with the engineer’s work. What’s more important is that you lead your team, collaborate, and keep everyone working toward the product vision.
Knowing how to code may be necessary for certain product management positions, but overall it is not really a requirement in order to be a good Product Manager. Just stick to making the right decisions in order to make the right product and leave the coding to your engineers.
If you’re learning the ropes of product management skills, it helps to have some support. Product Gym is a lifetime membership program for PMs, PM job hunters, and product people of all sorts. Getting people jobs in product management is our bread and butter: that makes us very good at assessing where you’re at in your job hunt and equipping you with the knowledge and skills you need to kickstart your dream career in product management. And that includes necessary information like coding and helping you overcome the challenges of not having a technical background.
If you want to learn more about the ins and outs of Product Manager skills and job search tactics, get in touch with us! We’re offering free career coaching sessions with our in-house team of PM Recruiter experts. We’d love to hear from you.