If you are reading this, chances are you are asking the question: Is there any value to getting a product management (PM) certification?
The answer: Yes. There are many benefits that go with it and we will discuss these benefits in this article. Also, we will show you the options that are available to you, so that you get the best value out of your investment.
What is a product management certification?
According to Wiktionary, a certification is defined as a professional qualification confirming one’s ability.
Extending this definition, we can then say that a person who has a product management certification is confirmed to be able to perform product management expertly and professionally.
When you become a product manager, you will be responsible for how your company’s products will perform in the market. That is, every time there is a new product that your company introduces, you will do the planning and execution of a plan so that the new product does well throughout its life cycle.
This managerial responsibility involves:
- Gathering and prioritizing requirements of products and customers
- Defining the product’s vision and product roadmap
- Building business cases and case studies
- Conducting market research user interviews
- Working with design team to improve the user experience
- Coordinating closely with other teams (engineering, marketing and sales)
- Assisting engineering team with product development
- Providing support to ensure consumer satisfaction and revenue goals are met
- Working with the product marketing team to successfully launch new features
- Ensuring that company products support the overall mission and vision of your company
Learn more about what product managers do by reading our guide.
What are the benefits of becoming a certified product manager?
The benefits of getting certified as a product manager differ depending on the stages of your PM career both personally and professionally.
Entry-Level (0-2 years)
- Personally – As a student, you can join a community of PMs and maximize your opportunities to get the best jobs in the industry. You also have the chance to leverage your resume with a highly sought-after qualification, which helps you to stand out among other candidates. This way, you differentiate yourself in the competition when you get certified as a product manager from schools like Product Faculty.
- Professionally – On the professional level, you will learn about the foundations, best product management processes for particular situations, and the confidence to manage products with success. You will also get access to templates, frameworks, and strategies used by the best PMs.
Mid-Level (2-5 years)
- Personally – Meet product people who are as interested in the field as you are. Surround yourself with the next Product Directors, CPO’s, and Founders. Make connections that last and keep paying off for years to come.
- Professionally – Upon successful completion of the course, your chances of promotion in your company become significantly higher. Adding to your skillset puts you on a shortlist for senior product positions. With the knowledge gained, you can also assess yourself in terms of experience in product management so you can proceed to work on your weak areas and further strengthen your strong points.
Senior-Level (5+ years)
- Personally – As a senior product manager, this will be your opportunity to assist junior PMs, make connections with future hires, and network with the guest speakers to advance your own career.
- Professionally – After undergoing training, many product professionals become more adept on how to coach others to conduct user research, customer need evaluation, and product project management. You need such delegation skills to effectively advance your career.
What should I look for in a product management course?
There are plenty of product manager courses to apply to. Consider the questions below to find the best school for you:
- Does the course cover fundamentals such as feature prioritization, roadmap planning, and tracking success metrics?
- Are the classes conducted by experts from top-rated institutions in the industry?
- Aside from basic and advanced theories, will the course give you a chance to practice job-applicable skills?
- Does the teaching and learning format suit your needs?
- Will you acquire hands-on experience with software tools that experts currently use?
- Does the program offer flexible payment options?
- What are the past students saying on social media?
- Does the certification have a community built around it?
- How does the price of the course compare to similar bootcamps?
- How highly is the course rated on review sites?
What is covered in product management certifications?
After completing the bootcamp, certified product managers gain a better understanding of how to champion their new products in the market. In particular, they learn the best product strategy to use in every stage involved in product life cycles – launch, growth, maturity and decline.
For example, Product Faculty’s 6-week certification course covers the following topics:
Week 1 - PM Foundations, Product Strategy & Retention
Product Management is a broad domain that is impacted by many factors: we will discuss these factors and why they matter. Good product strategy is about making trade-offs that align with your vision; we will delve into a commonly used strategic framework to help you make the right trade-off decisions. We’ll also get a deep understanding of Retention as being a prerequisite to product growth.
Week 2 - Product-Market Fit & Developing Roadmaps
We will explore how to validate your business idea using lean approaches, as well as, walk through a roadmapping process that drives meaningful progress. We will cover the 4 steps in the roadmapping process in detail: collecting inputs, prioritizing inputs, creating a roadmap and communicating a roadmap.
Week 3 - Product Design, Discovery & Delivery
As a PM, your role boils down to 2 things: Product Discovery (build the right thing) and Product Delivery (build it right). In this module, we deep-dive into each element, breaking down the science of doing both, along with sharing real-life examples. In the Product Delivery module, we will cover Agile delivery best practices and how they differ from large organizations to start-ups.
Week 4 - Product Growth & Metrics That Matter
To effectively deal with stakeholders, you need to visualize the metrics that matter. We'll cover a framework to present your metrics on a page & explore the process involved to get to 1 page. In Product Growth, we'll deep-dive into various growth models & explore how the top B2B and B2C companies in the world grow. In a world with limited customers, talent & mindshare, companies that employ exponential growth strategies will win in the long-run.
Week 5 - User Psychology & Experimentation
As much as we’d like to think we are logical, the human brain is wired to prioritize emotions over logic. We first make an emotional decision and then justify that decision logically. You’ll learn proven psychological frameworks that will help you understand user behavior, and how to influence decisions. More than 50% of features we build will fail - customers are just not as excited about things as we are. Experimentation is a prerequisite for product-led organizations that want to be relevant for years to come.
Week 6 - Key Technical Skills for PMs
In the Tech-skills module, we'll deep dive into most common technical concepts & technologies that PMs need to know, making you more confident in your interactions with Engineering. We'll cover everything from front/back-end technologies to database types, APIs and technical architecture.
Online vs. In-Person
If you are debating whether to do your certification online vs. in-person, here are the pros and cons to each option:
- Pros – Aside from the lower cost, you will enjoy the self-paced learning that an online course offers. You can also take lessons wherever you are at the appointed time.
- Cons – Make sure that the convenience of online learning does not cause you to procrastinate. Online courses also tend to require a greater amount of time for readings and assignments.
- Pros – Nothing beats the real thing. Being in a classroom with other motivated product professionals is hard to compare. Not only in terms of engagement but also creativity and community aspects of learning.
- Cons – Having to meet at a fixed location at a fixed time can be inconvenient. Factoring in commuting and travel expenses, attending class can become very expensive.
How to ask your employer to support your education?
Employers love it when their employees are seeking to learn new skills that could potentially help the company. If you have a problem with budgeting, talk it over with your employer. They might agree to reimburse your total expenditure or suggest to you possible ways of acquiring financial support from the government. Almost every country also has its own education bursary:
London - Learners who are professionals can apply for grants and bursaries to help them pay for training and courses. Usually, the city of London does not require students to pay the money back.
Dubai – Dubai has a mission to develop an innovative educational system for producing competitive individuals in a competitive society. Their grants include all age groups to meet labor market demand for the future.
New York – The Big Apple awards tax credits for costs related to an eligible training program for current and new employees.
This article outlines the importance of acquiring product management certifications for those looking to effectively advance their career through a training program.
Such a career move not only involves money, but also support from the company you are currently working for. Schedule a meeting with your boss to know early on the kind of support they can provide.
For entry-level hopefuls, remember that hiring is a package deal and a certification can boost that package. It can help differentiate your portfolio from the others.
When you’re in, figure out how you can get the most out of the training and make as many quality connections as possible.