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Career Profile: Software Product Manager

Why Is Software Product Management a Job of Tomorrow?
Technology has pervaded every aspect of modern life. It
has largely replaced cash with credit cards that can draw funds electronically from bank accounts, replaced beepers with handheld mobile phones that can not only instantly connect callers, but also act as a tiny web browser and gaming system, and pushed globalization into overdrive through the World Wide Web. With personal computers as common in businesses as pots of break room coffee, the race is always on to push computer technology further. The technological boom shows no signs of slowing down, with new software being cranked out every day. It is little surprise that with the amount of competition to push the latest and greatest software, that software product managers are finding their workload increasing. Employment opportunities for software product managers expect to grow 28 percent by 2016, according to CNN Money. Software product managers make an average salary of $106,000 annually.

What Does a Software Product Manager Do?
Software product managers are responsible for handling all of the different teams that work on a software product. From the product’s origin in concept to the moment it hits the market, software product managers are there to guide its development along. They track the software’s growth as it gets passed from software engineers to developers to marketers, ensuring that it is being handled in a timely manner as well as preparing for the product’s launch. Managers research the product’s projected life cycle and its target audience, searching for clues into which way would be best to introduce the product into the market to guarantee a profitable business return. Unlike marketing, software product managers are more involved in the entire process of a product’s life rather than coming in at the end and deciding how to successfully sell the product to consumers.

What Kind of Training Do I Need to Become a Software Product Manager?
There are no set education requirements for software product managers, but most employers prefer those who have a substantial background in marketing, business, and computer science. With more formal education, such as a bachelor’s degree in business management with an emphasis on technology or e-commerce, software product managers are more likely to advance to better paying and higher ranking positions within a company. A bachelor’s degree takes four years to earn, and covers topics such as management skills, finance, and other related courses.

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