The 10 Technical Skills for Product Managers
Product management is crucial for every organization within and outside the tech industry. It involves designing, developing, launching, and managing a product or service.
Consequently, product managers are in high demand and must employ technical and soft skills to discover customers’ pain points and create products to alleviate these. This article will provide you with the top technical skills that every product manager must possess. These skills will help to execute your duties and excel in product management.
1. Data Extraction and Analysis
Data is very important to a product manager as it aids decision-making on product strategy, development, positioning, and marketing. As a product manager, you must know how to extract and analyze product or service data, as these will improve your ability to gain valuable insights and create better products and services.
Apart from extracting useful data and following market trends, you should also possess analytical skills to help you better understand customer needs. Statistics and related concepts, including probability theory, linear regression, and integral calculus, are invaluable to building data analytics skills. You may also need to learn coding languages like Python and learn to use Microsoft Excel as an analytics tool.
2. Knowledge of SQL
SQL means Structured Query Language, which is used to access, communicate with, and manipulate databases. The language is easy to learn, understandable, and invaluable for data management.
As a product manager, not having to depend on business analysts or your organization’s data engineering team to help you manage the data retrieval and manipulation process is essential. While you may be unfamiliar with the language, learning to use MySQL and other SQL packages is easy. Additionally, you don’t have to be an expert at it; basic knowledge will allow you to write queries and generate reports.
3. A/B Testing
A/B testing can also be identified as split testing. A/B testing is market research that compares two or more versions of a webpage, product, or service to determine the best and most effective version. A/B testing also involves splitting your user base into two groups.
These groups would experience two versions of a product, webpage, or service feature. After this, the product manager would examine the gathered data and conclude which feature best serves the user base.
As a product manager, knowing how to perform this testing can be priceless, especially if you frequently encounter situations where you need to test to reach a decision. A/B testing helps solve several issues while generating more conversions. It also relieves the stress of eliminating a product development plan to create another.
4. Fundamental Knowledge of Coding
Knowledge of coding basics can help you better understand and communicate with product engineers on your organization’s development team. As a product manager, learning to code and how it works would help you apply the coding processes to problem-solving.
Additionally, knowing how to code gives you the flexibility to test minor product features without relying on the product engineers who are working on other parts of various projects. It allows you to reason through your product’s technical expectations as you understand coding and how it works.
Prototyping involves making a rough sketch or sample of your intended product. It is an experimental process whereby design teams transfer their ideas into solid forms, whether in paper form or digital form. Prototyping is required to communicate exactly how you want your product to be designed, or product plans to be implemented.
As a product manager, you need prototyping skills to better communicate your plan to your team or stakeholders and offer them a clear picture of what you have in mind. Prototyping streamlines the product development process as you can collect feedback, promptly identify faults, and make necessary changes that best suit customer preferences, thus saving money and time. A prototype also helps you to collect useful feedback.
6. Market Research Analysis
Market research determines the effectiveness and achievability of a new product or service through conducting direct research with potential customers. It is a process that enables researchers to identify customer needs and how much they appreciate a product or service.
Product managers must know how to communicate effectively to extract useful insights from current and potential customers. Market research is essential for product development, making it an important skill for product management. You might be interested in learning how to become a market research analyst.
7. Database Management
A product database contains all relevant product information for marketing, sales, and distribution. As a product manager, it is best to have database management skills to improve product information accessibility.
Skills such as SQL querying and schema design will allow you to store queries across multiple servers without the risk of losing any data. These skills will assist you in managing your database efficiently.
8. Product Roadmap Development
A product roadmap is an arrangement that outlines a product’s intention, direction, process, and progress over time. It is a visual summary of your plans for your product or service. As a product manager, you need to know how to prepare a product roadmap to guide your product development process. You must be able to outline your plans and how you want to achieve them.
To create a product roadmap, you should take marketing strategy and financial resource management classes. Creating a product roadmap will enable you to make crucial decisions that would affect your product positively and give you a sense of organization and pattern.
9. Knowledge of Microsoft Excel
Microsoft Excel is a statistical analytic tool that’s incredibly useful in managing and analyzing big datasets. As a product manager, you must know how to deploy the friendly tools that Microsoft Excel contains, as they will help you organize and sort data into meaningful segments.
You can also use Excel to create graphs or charts and regression analysis to determine how diverse variables correlate with your user engagements.
10. Software Development
Software development involves the creation, design, and formulation of programming instructions that guide the behavior of computer systems and applications. These instructions serve as commands to tell a computer what to do.
As a product manager, basic software development skills are necessary as the job description includes technical aspects such as managing data structures and algorithms. Therefore, software development skills would help you determine what is attainable and prevent you from wasting time and energy on unimportant tasks.
Build a Productive Career as a Product Manager With These Skills
Product management is a career path that is highly compensating and rewarding. However, it comes with a lot of responsibilities. As a product manager, you do not just deal with managing products and services; you also deal with managing customers. If you cultivate these technical skills, your work as a product manager will be much easier and more productive.