How to learn product management

Why product management?

Wondering how to get a product management job? Product management is unfortunately subject to the experience paradox. Most product managers learn how to be product managers on the job, but need experience in order to be hired... to learn how to do it on the job. The path isn’t as linear as it is to being, say, a software engineer or an accountant. Product management skills, however, are just as in demand. LinkedIn rated the role of product manager as one of 2020’s most promising jobs, with a 29% growth rate year over year.

Aside from the impressive title and paycheck, product management is meaningful work. Product managers have a highly impactful role in guiding the creation of tools that people use every day. Depending on the company, the work they do could support anything from streamlining payments for small businesses to literally sending vehicles into space. Every product needs a product manager. By developing the skills to be a product manager, you’ll have the flexibility to work on products that align with your own passions and interests.

How do you learn product management?

Product management courses are a great way to learn the skills needed to land a product manager job and be successful. Any product management course should include the following:

How to learn product management
How to learn product management - it can be fun as well!
  1. A strong foundation in product management skills. Product managers have to be both generalists and experts. They need to know enough about what each part of the team is doing to make impactful decisions, like prioritization, while also being an expert on product management methodologies. They need soft skills to write empathetic user personas, while also having the business chops to create a business plan, plus enough technical knowledge to define their team’s new innovation.

These core competencies build on each other, and they’re a lot to cover. At Alpe, we created our product management course to not only teach these individual competencies, but to show how they’re interconnected and how they’re most likely to show up on the job.

  1. Soft skills, including emotional intelligence. So, what separates the good from the great product managers? Emotional intelligence, or EQ. Product managers almost exclusively work cross functionally; much of their job is relationship building. Internally, that often means herding the cats of engineering, design, customer success, finance, and more toward one shared goal. Externally, product managers use EQ to better understand their customers. The good product managers will look at the interview data. The great product managers will do that, too, but understand their customers emotions and concerns by reading tone and body language.

EQ can be learned, but it takes time and attention to cultivate. Fortunately, it pays off, not just with higher employability and increased success at work, but with increased happiness.

  1. An emphasis on continuous learning. In case the first two points didn’t convince you, product managers have a hard job. They need to be able to adapt to shifting priorities, company pivots, and surprising customer feedback. The best product managers have a lot of power and very little ego. In order to be effective as product managers — and less stressed out as people — product managers need to operate from a place of curiosity, which helps them be resilient in the face of an ever-changing landscape.

At Alpe, we’re huge proponents of lifelong learning. Being in the process of learning makes you more resilient, endure stress, and adapt to whatever life throws at you. Like increasing your EQ, developing product management skills has benefits that can improve not just your career, but your life, too.

Why should I do a product management course?

There are a million resources to learn and improve product management skills. Of course, the best tool is the one you’ll actually use. Busy people need learning tools that can fit into their lives. At Alpe, we’ve created a product management audio course that meets learners where they are and allows them to learn whenever — and wherever — works for them. By reducing the friction to learn, our courses increase the likelihood that you’ll actually complete the course (or is it just me who committed to a MOOC class and only watched the first session?). Our learning model is supported by cognitive science. Thoughtful learning design, including repetition, makes every minute count, and reinforces learning as a habit.

Our content is constructed in a way that doesn’t just tell you what you need to know: it makes it stick. Audio is a storytelling tool. Narratives are more powerful in aiding understanding than lectures, and more memorable than rote studying. Plus, our courses are created by professors leading industry experts. They have great stories. Learners will not only get the knowledge they need, but the context to make it meaningful as they apply it to their job.

Our course covers the core competencies of product management, like the Lean Startup Method, product management best practices, and product strategy. More than that, though, our course teaches you not just what you need to know to be an effective product manager, but how to actually be one.

The difference? Soft skills like communication and EQ. Audio is uniquely powerful when learning about product management. The soft skills that separate the good from the great product managers are better learned in an audio course, where factors like tone matter. Learners can actually hear intonation, inflection, and emotion in their instructor’s voice, which is far more impactful than the words alone.

Level up your career. Check out our product management course here.

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