I would say that in general if a TPM and PM are at the same level the TPM is likely to be the higher paid position. Whether the “Technical” implies more niche-skilled work, or more boring work, either way the higher pay is needed as an additional incentive. (Put another way – if the TPM is equally qualified for an engineering role, you need an incentive to keep them on the product side.)
There are two common definitions:
- “Technical Product” Manager – this person is managing the specifically technical aspects of a product. Customer-facing APIs, developer experience, SDKs or integration platforms, etc. Sometimes in conjunction with a PM, or sometimes on their own (if, for example, a product is specifically technical in nature, then you might only have a TPM.
- Poorly-titled Program Manager – Many companies use “Technical Product Manager” in place of the “Technical Program Manager” title. This could mean they manage an internal platform or product, or it could mean they are specifically in charge of execution and delivery.