What do people do after product management?
That is an excellent question, the answer is probably an it-depends kind of thing (but on what does it depend?) Some take up specific disciplines required to make products a success. I’ve swapped between marketing, sales, engineering, management to further the success of the product. Some strikethrough the mini part of mini-ceo and become the leader of company or (more frequently) have learned enough to run their own, Others end up in teaching (as I did) simply because there is great fulfilment in spreading the light to others.
So it depends, on what you want out of life. Product Management is arguably one of the best professions since it opens up so many other passions you can pursue. But first ask yourself why you want to leave it?
The short-list from my experience: Executive leadership positions, e.g., head of a business unit or company. Marketing (all flavors). Business development (role varies by org, but usually involves precise market segmentation and connecting sales with those segments). Back to engineering leadership roles (many PMs started out in technical roles). I see this a lot in orgs that remain technology-driven (with little PM empowerment). Most of my experience is in the B2B space, where, in Central Europe at least, I see fewer C-level product executives. In most cases (based on my clientele), I see CTOs running product.
A Chief Product Officer (CPO) is the most senior product person in an organisation. They usually manage more than one team of product managers and represent product in the C-suite or management team.
It’s tough to be a product manager nowadays, and more and more of them are losing confidence in their own profession. While the amount of people majoring in courses preparing people for a job as a product manager isn’t necessarily dropping, fewer and fewer people are applying to become product managers in the first place and the workforce itself is looking grim. With so many product managers no longer sticking around, this begs the question: What are they all doing now? I was curious, so I looked through the resumes of former product managers to see what kind of jobs they were moving into after leaving the field? I shortlisted the most common jobs taken up by former Product Managers and can be found below:
- Senior Product Manager,
- Marketing Manager,
- Project Manager,
- Product Management Director,
- Vice President,
- Marketing Director,
- Program Manager,
- Senior Project Manager,
- Sales Manager.