Breaking into Product Management

I have a long experience in software development. I am looking to do more interesting things & recently I am getting interested in Product Management.

Is there a way to break into Product Management without having Professional experience in Product Management? Or is it a “Chicken and Egg problem”, i.e. without job one does not have experience & without experience hiring managers do not prefer you? My quick research is telling me that PM certifications are not of much value.

Would appreciate feedback from anyone who works/“have worked” as/“closely with” or hired a Product Manager.

Following is something I got from Quora:

With all due respect to AIPMM and the good work they do promoting product management as a discipline, I’ve never considered any PM certification of real value in interviewing or hiring real-live PM candidates.

My #1 criterion for interviewing and hiring product managers is that they’ve actually done product management before. Not in a class, not from a book, and rarely in a position that “has a lot in common with product management except under a different title.”


An ex-coworker of mine did some project management courses at CMU and later worked at Microsoft doing project management. She had software engineering background. I guess if you got your certification from well known schools like CMU or Berkeley it can still open some doors?

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Project management is not the same as product management.

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How so?

Product management is an organizational lifecycle function within a company dealing with the planning, forecasting, and production, or marketing of a product or products at all stages of the product lifecycle.

Project management is the discipline of initiating, planning, executing, controlling, and closing the work of a team to achieve specific goals and meet specific success criteria.

The biggest difference as that mentioned by Roy321 is brand management. Project managers don’t deal with brand management.

Product manager in a Software company is more like a brand manager equivalent in a Consumer Products company.

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OK I see. Then maybe you need to do an MBA first… :smile:

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It is easier to make the transition from Engg to Product Management in your current workplace and then find something at a better employer. This way you are playing to your strengths ( previous knowledge about the product ) rather than trying to make a transition outside to a different product line.


It’s not required to have a MBA to do product management. Why don’t you try to switch in your current company? Maybe first volunteer your time to help PM to get a feel

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Most PMs are engineeers then MBA school. Talk to the product managers you work with. It’s probably easiest to make the move within your current company.

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