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Acting as the glue between technology, the business and its audience – the Product Manager is responsible for ensuring that a business’ products and services are fit for the purpose of its users. These are varied and hybrid roles that require an analytical approach, the communication skills to bridge Commercial and Technical teams and extremely strong prioritisation skills.
Why consider a career as a Product Specialist?
If you value ownership, accountability, problem-solving and influence in your work, there will be fewer disciplines better suited than a career in Product Management. You can find Product roles in a wide range of industries and in almost all agile environments – whether you’re working on a software / SaaS business, a technology agency or consultancy or an in-house digital team looking to evolve its online product suite.
Typical role titles include
Senior Product Owner
Senior Product Manager
Digital Product Manager
Head of Product
Head of Product Development
Chief Product Officer
Career progression example
Senior Product Owner
Senior Product Manager
Head of Product
Salary and Day Rate Benchmarks
Here, we aim to provide an overall range of day rates and salaries.
There are always factors to consider when assigning a day rate and salary to a role, such as the skill demand, location, complexity, level of responsibility as well as what other benefits are on offer, such as remote working. It’s also worth noting that the ‘number of years’ of experience is not an ideal measure. However, as a general guide, it should provide some ballparks and pointers…
Looking at the ‘product’ market in the South West, at an entry level, you can expect your first Product Owner role to see you earning anywhere from £35k upwards. Many people transition into Product Owner roles have started their careers in disciplines like Business Analysis, Project Management or User Experience – so it’s not uncommon for someone with a career in an adjacent discipline to start their Product Management career from £45k- £50k upwards.
The commercial impact that you can have on your employer’s business as a Product specialist is significant, and the salary ranges reflect this as you advance in your career. Specialist Mobile Product Management roles will start from around £60k and upwards with leadership roles taking you easily over the £100k+ range.
At an entry-level, for a junior/graduate a typical day rate would be around the £300 mark, at the mid-level around the £400 mark and seniors can expect a day rate of £500+ as a benchmark.
Is it right for me? The skills it takes…
The skills needed can be split into 3 categories; technical skills, strategy / commercial skills and communication.
Technical skills: Data and Insight are the fuel that drives Product Managers’ success – so having skills in things like Excel or Google Analytics will be an important foundation. If you’re working on a Digital or Technical product, you’ll be working very closely with the Developers building the product – so an understanding of how the technology works, its capability and its limitations will be equally important
Part of your role will be keeping on top of an evolving technology landscape – understanding what tools and technologies are coming out which could be leveraged to better solve your users’ problems, keeping on top of what techniques your competitors are using or trialling new ways of working
Strategy & commercial skills: You’ll be responsible for ensuring that the enhanced features and functionality that you deliver to users is translated into revenue and profit – so an ability to build business cases, financial models and forecasts will be important. Prioritisation is a huge part of being a Product person, so an ability to decide what to be doing when and why will be key to your success.
Depending on the nature of your role, it may well be that part of your roles is to build the business model, design the go-to-market strategy and work closely with the marketing function on communicating product updates to the world – so an appreciation of marketing will stand you in strong stead.
Communication skills: Given the way that product management sits at the intersections of so many disciplines and teams, one of the most fundamental skill sets for a successful Product Manager will be stakeholder management.
You’ll be able to communicate with colleagues at all levels and backgrounds – from highly technical Developers to CEOs and Board Members.
Your ability to influence colleagues and bring them on side with the customer/user’s point of view will be an important skill in prioritising the product roadmap against user needs.
What qualifications does it take?
One of the great things about Product Management is that people can come from a wide range of different educational or professional backgrounds – you may have started in Project Management, Business Analysis, User Experience, Development or even Marketing.
There are no prescribed qualifications needed to get into Product Management, but if you are looking to cement your skills or advance your career you may consider the Certified Scrum Product Owner (CSPO) qualification from the Scrum Alliance.
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