9 product management bootcamps for learners of all technical backgrounds



GettyImages 1448823265 e1711476437810

Are you deeply curious about how humans behave or interact with technology? If so, you might make for a great product manager (PM), according to Andrew Breen, an adjunct professor of tech product management at the NYU Stern School of Business who spent 30 years as a product manager for both startups and large corporations. 

“Whether it’s an existing product and improving in that, or you’re entering as a new product in a large company or a startup, you’re always focused on customer needs,” Breen says. In addition to keeping the customer top of mind, PMs are always searching for solutions and iterating on their approaches until they reach one. 

ADVERTISEMENT

Yale – Accelerated Management

Accelerated Management Program: 8 weeks, online from Yale SOM Exec Ed

Tuition $3,500
Duration 8 weeks

Visit Website

Explore fundamental management topics such as decision-making using quantitative models, developing a competitive strategy and leveraging social networks, with industry insights from Yale SOM faculty.

Explore fundamental management topics such as decision-making using quantitative models, developing a competitive strategy and leveraging social networks, with industry insights from Yale SOM faculty.

Product management has only become more in-demand over time. And even with talk of AI taking over tech development, “the things that are the most important to product management will remain unscathed, which are really the soft skills,” says Paul Canetti, a professor and founder of Columbia Business School’s product management curriculum who also provides training for product managers through his executive education company New Tech Business School. 

“Demand still outweighs supply,” Canetti adds. “So there’s more product management positions in the world than there are qualified product managers, which is a good place to be.”

Of course, not everyone can afford to go to school (or back to school) full time to pursue a career in product management, which is why there are now so many online or remote offerings, from bootcamps to certifications to part-time MBAs. 

Ready to explore your options? Read on for top product management bootcamps you can take from the comfort of your home—and often on your own time.

1. Product Gym’s Product Management program

Cost: $6,000

Length: About 3 months

Structure: Part-time, live or self-paced

Course Report rating: 4.95/5 from 393 reviews

Product Gym, founded by a former technical recruiter and a product manager, is a training program specifically built to nurture product management talent. Its product management program is broken into two categories: skills development and career acceleration. 

In live or recorded sessions, you’ll be taught fundamentals including UX design and research, customer empathy and product roadmapping, and how to set investor expectations. Once that’s completed, you’ll be trained on common PM interview tactics, provided resume and negotiation coaching, and given access to a network of more than 1,500 alumni who work at companies such as Tesla, Google, and Nike.

2. Product Manager Nanodegree Program by Udacity

Cost: $249 a month

Length: 3 months

Structure: Self-paced

Course Report rating: 4.7/5 from 626 reviews

Udacity was started by two Stanford professors and computer scientists who wanted to expand into online teaching. The product manager nanodegree compiles together the company’s catalog of product management courses, including problem identification and product vision, product design and prototyping, and testing, gathering feedback, and preparing for launch. The courses are led by two Google product managers who have worked on Chromecast, the Google Pixel phone, and its iOS app, and combine lectures with real-world problem solving. Upon completion, students earn a certificate.

3. Online Product Management Bootcamp by Fullstack Academy

Cost: $6,750

Length: 12 weeks

Structure: Part-time, live

Course Report rating: 4.79/5 from 399 reviews

Fullstack Academy says it employs students at more than 1,500 companies including Google, Etsy, and Spotify. Its online product management bootcamp combines live instruction with workshops, and because courses take place at night, this could be a great option for those who want to keep their full-time jobs while upskilling. 

The program begins with the basics of product management and how product companies function before jumping into team management, product-market fit, agile processes, and portfolio presentation. Its multiple instructors span a variety of fields, including consulting, tech, and education. After finishing the bootcamp, graduates receive career coaching in networking, job searching, and salary negotiation.

4. The Product Management Boot Camp at UNC-Chapel Hill

Cost: Not listed, UNC online bootcamps range in price from $9,000 to $14,000. Contact the school to learn more.

Length: 18 weeks

Structure: Part-time, live

Course Report rating: 4.83/5 from 95 reviews

UNC’s product management bootcamp is targeted at developers, project managers, and designers who want to further advance their skills—but you don’t need a college degree or prior product management experience to apply. Curriculum topics include market analysis and segmentation, defining value propositions, product optimization and A/B testing, and sprint planning. Beyond a certification, students receive access to a network of instructors, tutors, peers, and career coaches.

5. Professional Certificate in Product Management by Kellogg

Cost: $6,950

Length: 6 months

Structure: Part-time, live or self-paced

Course Report rating: 5/5 from 12 reviews

Under the Kellogg School of Management at Northwestern University’s executive education training is a product management certificate that’s incredibly comprehensive, touching on key soft and hard skills relevant to the field. In the program, you’ll master the product development process from start to finish, learning how to prototype, design a business model, manage relationships, and even implement AI and machine learning. The certificate ends with a capstone project that summarizes all your learnings and puts them into practice.

6. Professional Certificate Program in Product Management by MIT

Cost: $15,950

Length: 9 months

Structure: Part-time, live

Course Report rating: 4.21/ from 84 reviews

MIT’s product management certificate is longer than Kellogg’s but covers much of the same material, from product strategy and research to leveraging data. The course also touches on the school’s unique design-thinking framework. Students can attend speaking and networking events with PM experts, put their leadership skills to practice in workshops, and gain professional development training. Graduates have gone on to work at Oracle, Mercer, and Credit Karma, among other top companies.

7. Product Management and Strategy by Wharton

Cost: $2,800

Length: 6 weeks

Structure: Part-time, live and self-paced

Course Report rating: N/A

The Wharton School, the University of Pennsylvania’s business school, offers a product management and strategy online program through its executive education portal. The short course focuses on building a product portfolio and setting key metrics for performance measurement and success. Training comes in a variety of forms, including live sessions, podcasts, and “try it activities” based on real-world scenarios. A digital certificate is available upon completion.

8. AI Product Management Specialization by Duke

Cost: $59 a month after free 7-day trial

Length: 4 months at 5 hours a week

Structure: Self-paced

Course Report rating: N/A

Duke’s AI product management specialization on learning platform Coursera is specifically targeted at product managers who want to work in artificial intelligence—an increasingly popular field. As a result, some previous product management experience can be valuable. Beyond the basics of machine learning, the course also dives into AI ethics and human-centric design.

9. IBM Product Manager Professional Certificate

Cost: $59 a month after free 7-day trial

Length: 4 months at 10 hours a week

Structure: Self-paced

Course Report rating: N/A

IBM’s product manager certificate is a partnership between IBM experts and Skill-Up Technologies, a digital learning organization. After delving into product management basics, interpersonal skills, and agile development, you’ll complete a capstone project that will evaluate your readiness to pass the AIPMM Certified Product Manager (CPM) certification exam. Coursera also offers resume and interview prep for subscribers.

Tips for breaking into product management

Product management can be a highly lucrative and rewarding career. Just think: You can help develop products that people love and can’t stop using, or that make the world a better place. Canetti adds that PM jobs exist outside the major tech companies—insurance, for example—and even more organizations are in the process of introducing the role as product becomes a priority.

Here’s his and Breen’s best advice for landing a product manager job:

Consider where you’re coming from: PMs are skilled in business, engineering, and user experience and design, among other things. When evaluating continued education, consider how it will help fill the gaps in your knowledge, or alternatively, allow you to hone a strength. For example, if you come from a finance background, maybe sign up for a bootcamp that focuses more on the technical aspects of product management. Or, if you’re an engineer making a pivot, consider a course that will touch more on business acumen.

Be strategic, curious, creative, and comfortable with change and uncertainty: Product managers need to know how to align a company’s vision with the product and execute tactically on a plan, creatively solve problems as they arise, and pivot on a dime with ease. “No one in product management ever hands you a checklist and says, ‘Go do these things and get it done.’ Basically, they say, ‘Here’s this abstract problem, please go figure it out,’” says Breen. 

Additionally, you have to know how to comfortably and convincingly speak with a variety of parties. “You have to be really comfortable in that environment making calls and making hard calls, not based on your opinion, but based on evidence, and being able to be, in some cases, in front of a pretty skeptical crowd,” says Breen.

If you don’t have these skills, an online bootcamp or MBA equivalent could help you hone them. “It’s really difficult to define what makes a great product manager because so much comes down to your intuition. And so what we’re trying to do in training people is, how do I make your intuition better by having certain parameters, frameworks, techniques, best practices so that you can make decisions,” Breen adds.

Get tangible experience beyond the classroom: Breen says he got into teaching product management because he was seeing a lot of entry-level product manager jobs that asked for several years of previous experience. Canetti, similarly, has noticed a “chicken and egg” problem in hiring where some lack experience and are unable to find roles to fill that gap in the first place. “The best people that really break into product management have found a way to break that cycle by creating their own luck,” he says.

Aspiring product managers should go beyond the classroom by taking on projects where they can get involved in product management, or starting their own projects on the side. 

“Getting this certification is not a replacement for getting real experience,” says Canetti. “It’s a good credential. And of course, more important than the credential is actually learning the skills, but there’s nothing you can do to fake experience except actual experience.”

“It gives you more stories to talk about in your interviews, but also it will make you good at product management,” he adds.

Prepare for case study interviews: Breen says a common practice for vetting product managers is case studies, where a candidate is presented with a problem they have to work through in live time. Sometimes, he would designate a “good cop” and “bad cop” to push the interviewee into different directions to see how they respond. 

But, he adds, “We’re not really that interested in the content you come up with. We’re interested in your approach and your process, but we’re also interested in how you communicate and how you deal with people, especially in adversarial environments.”

Canetti notes that product management isn’t for the faint of heart. But, “for people that really thrive on having to juggle a lot of different things and talk to a lot of different people, it’s really fun.”



Source link

About The Author

Scroll to Top