How to become a Product Manager?

New / Strategy 3stocked
Jun 30 31 Comments

Hoping to become a Product Manager in a big N or unicorn tech company and I'm just looking for some advice from the blind community on where to start the transition.

Currently a Canadian resident working at an oil and gas company with 1.5 YOE in business relationship management, project management and general analytics work. Also worked full time tier one tech support while I was a student for 4 years. Any help would be appreciated!

TC 105K

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TOP 31 Comments
  • OSIsoft sin shady
    Transition to Product is not easy if you aren't a PM at your company or dont have a MBA. The best route to get a PM role at one of the big companies is to first transition into a PM role at your current company and get that experience on your resume. You will get calls from recruiters if you have PM experience on your resume.
    Jun 30 7
    • New / Strategy 3stocked
      OP
      That's really interesting, definitely the first time I've heard this piece of advice even after speaking to a couple of friends in big tech (although they are SWEs). Thanks for taking the time to answer!
      Jun 30
    • New / Product xzUE84
      Also, Amazon has the lowest bar for PMs
      Jun 30
    • OSIsoft sin shady
      Some of this is through observations and some through my personal experience applying and interviewing.
      Btw, not sure if it helps or not significantly in getting interviews, but doing one of the PM crash courses (3 months or so) through the boot camp like places might be helpful in wrapping your head around some PM concepts and speaking the lingo that might help you make the switch (it helped me).
      All the best!
      Jun 30
    • New / Strategy 3stocked
      OP
      Thanks for the great advice!
      Jun 30
    • Deloitte broadway74
      I still think amazon is beyond many fortune companies in the pm space. People love to downplay them but they are still a FAANG and you need to interview well
      Jun 30
  • Amazon / Product newsbearer
    Best career advise I got was, if you have a goal (i.e. PM) everyday you spend working on something different is a waste of time - If your company doesn’t have a PM role, and that’s what you want to do then move to a FAANG ASAP and start working towards internally moving to the PM job family.

    Moving to a startup for PM role will be hard! You would have to do the same thing, jump to a role where you can deliver and then work towards moving to PM internally. The problem is that Big Tech has more PM roles opening than startups do, so Big Tech seems your best bet here. Good luck!
    Jun 30 5
    • New / Strategy 3stocked
      OP
      eye opening advice, thanks! I think you're right, if the opportunity doesn't exist then I should move to somewhere that does so I can start working towards the goal. No worries about the tough road ahead, I think I'm pretty scrappy.

      Would you happen to have any recommendations on FAANG companies that would be looking for the experience I've gathered so far?
      Jun 30
    • Amazon / Product newsbearer
      I’d recommend AMZN for two reasons. One, we go after more industries than the rest of the FAANG, and I’ve seen Oil and Gas executives joining my Org; two, your skills tie exactly with Program Management, so look for L5 PgM roles and you will be in a good spot. PgM is close to PM, but with a horizontal focus on assisting the org instead of a vertical focus on driving a product. Relationship Management (Earn Trust), analytics/BI (dive deep) both tie to the role.

      I’m actually moving from PgM to PM, so there you go! I think it’s a good path. Lmk how you do!
      Jun 30
    • New / Strategy 3stocked
      OP
      That makes perfect sense! Glad to see that someone was able to do it, best of luck in role transition, hope you enjoy it 🙂
      Jun 30
    • Deloitte broadway74
      I’m doing the same. Joined amazon from big 4 as l6 program manager. Will network my way to product over next 1-2 years.

      Also we have program manger I roles that require little experience
      Jun 30
    • New / Strategy 3stocked
      OP
      thats pretty solid, good luck! hope we can get to the PM path soon.
      Jun 30
  • Deloitte broadway74
    I would start by getting into a FAANG doing anything (project manager, program manager, business manager). Then work in the company towards switching. If you have no product experience it would be hard to come in as a product manager
    Jun 30 2
    • New / Strategy 3stocked
      OP
      that sounds like pretty solid advice, thanks!
      Jun 30
    • Reddit shhsh
      Switching job ladder in FANG is not as easy as you think. Most require you to have strong statement of support from pm managers and you would also have to re-interview
      Jun 30
  • Nvidia butcorning
    Be a bad engineer, get PIP'd and then just don't leave.
    Jun 30 1
    • New / Strategy 3stocked
      OP
      yikes 😂
      Jun 30
  • Carvana WingItMan
    I would shoot for a healthy earlier stage company before a FAANG or Unicorn.

    The issue is you’re going to need mentorship and any company growing incredibly quick isn’t going to be able to give that to you.

    I would search for Associate Product Manager positions and rotation programs. I know Facebook has/had one, Dropbox did as well.

    In that regard, you’re basically learning the ropes for a 2-3 years before you’re able to go out & apply for larger roles.
    Jun 30 3
    • New / Eng Waterline
      Nice 👍🏼
      Jun 30
    • New / Strategy 3stocked
      OP
      dang, that's a good perspective. I really only ever thought of getting into a fast growing company so that I'd be forced to learn quicker on the job. Thanks!
      Jun 30
    • New / Design Amexdesign
      Nah, this is solid advice.
      Jun 30
  • Facebook / Mgmt Endgamer
    Lots of great advice and strategies above. In addition to that stuff, I'd recommend reading cracking the pm interview and Swipe to unlock. Cracking explains what the pm role is all about and the interview process. Swipe breaks down all the key tech concepts you need to know assuming you don't have a cs degree
    Jun 30 1
    • New / Strategy 3stocked
      OP
      Your assumptions are correct, I do not have a cs degree. I've read cracking the pm interview but haven't heard of swipe to unlock, I'll go purchase it soon. thanks!
      Jun 30
  • Lyft ccxdr
    Product School?
    Jun 30 3
    • New / Strategy 3stocked
      OP
      Looks promising, I'll check it out. Thanks!
      Jun 30
    • OSIsoft sin shady
      That's the one I had done before my transition a couple of years back. It's good to get you acquainted with the important things required for PMs, but when I had taken it the content was very focused towards B2C PMs and for mostly cloud based products (not on-prem/standalone products). I work in B2B and a lot of the things taught by Product School did not completely apply thus do some research before joining it, but it was still a great course to take to get started.
      Jun 30
    • New / Strategy 3stocked
      OP
      Oh, nice! It's good to hear from someone that actually took the course. Thanks for the advice and heads up!
      Jun 30
  • Google / Product
    bmy2012

    Google Product

    PRE
    PayPal, Google, Accenture
    bmy2012more
    Start by asking yourself hard questions. Why do you want this? What is it that you think is desirable? What do you think makes you a good fit? And what relevant skills do you bring to the table?
    Jun 30 1
    • New / Strategy 3stocked
      OP
      100% this! I've started mapping this out to see if I'm truly a good fit and if I want this. Just curious, would you happen to know how tough it is to get into the APM program at Google?
      Jun 30