If you’re a software engineer looking to have more decision-making power on a company’s product strategy instead of being someone else’s coder, you might be looking into a shift to a Product Manager career path. However, as abundant as jobs are for programmers in Silicon Valley, that is not the case for product management jobs: for every 10 opportunities of the former, there is 1 of the latter.

As more and more software engineers are stepping up as candidates for product manager jobs, the benefits of programming skills in marketing are becoming clearer. Nevertheless, they face a catch-22 situation: employers find it hard to trust them with product management positions for a lack of experience in the area.

There are 3 Product Manager skills that you need to leverage on to stand out as the strongest candidate for a position in the software industry.


1. Programming skills


Your technical background is your first go-to tool to differentiate yourself from the competition. Growth hackers are becoming the new cool kids in town by applying programming skills into Product Management.


2. Industry Domain


You know the software industry better than most people since you started working in it in the same position as a lot of CEOs in this city. This can not only give you an edge, but you probably know a lot of the problems that need solving and know how to talk to the people in your team who will code the solution.


3. Communication Skills

Public speaking

This one is probably on the harder side for a programmer, since public speaking is not something that you’ve had to do that much as a part of your current job. However, it is essential for you to be able to communicate succinctly and effectively. If you have an MBA, it can help you prove that you have the skills, if not, you can go to meetups, come up with an elevator pitch or even practice with your friends to hone your skills.


Knowing your strengths and leveraging them, as well as working on product manager skills in which you have the opportunity to be better, can be the difference between being perceived as a programmer transitioning between career paths, and the undoubtedly best candidate for a Product Manager job.


About me

I’m an Engineer with seven years of Product Management experience, I have hired over 100 professionals in the last three years, 20% of which were for product management positions. Currently, I allow Engineers to smoothly transition into Product Managers in just 8-weeks through Product School, a San Francisco-based part time course.

Carlos González de Villaumbrosia