Becoming a Product Manager

Vanessa Garber
Mar 5, 2016 · 4 min read
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Recently, I’ve had a slew of friends, coworkers, and acquaintances express their interest in becoming Product Managers. They have heard that PMs are “mini-CEOs”, which sounds important and lucrative. Those in Sales or Customer Support who don’t yet know how to code or design hope to find an alternate career path in tech. Developers and designers are tired of being told what to do and want to gain some control over their projects. Others, coming directly out of MBA programs, are seeking opportunities outside of finance and Wall Street.

When they approach me, they ask how I became a Product Manager. They want to know if my experience will teach them how to make the transition. Well, my path was relatively straightforward.

How I became a Product Manager

  1. Got a customer support job in a tech startup.

This list represents what I would consider a relatively common transition from Customer Support into Product Management. Deducing the steps to become a PM wasn’t difficult. Having a good reason why was the significantly harder task.

And now to answer the question I wished people would ask me…

Why I Became a Product Manager

  1. Talking to People. Being with People.
    For anyone who knows me, even a little, they know I love talking. I’m very extroverted. Communicating and collaborating with interesting and innovative people brings me energy and joy. Product managers should be fantastic conversationalists, sherpas of dialogue, and attentive listeners. Exceptional speaking skills are a requirement for Product Management.

You might have other reasons why you want to be a Product Manager, it’s okay to be different. If you still think it is a good idea and you are considering taking the plunge, the next question is…

What is being a Product Manager like?

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