How to break into PM without technical background?

I want to work in tech and I’m really keen on getting into a product management role. I feel like I have a good understanding of the role (talking to people who work with PMs, reading articles and JDs) and think that I would really enjoy it.

I have a Bachleors in Commerce and a CISA. I’ve had experience working as a financial auditor for 2 years and am currently close to3 years in my current job as an IT Auditor/Consultant. All the years were spent at Big4 firms facing clients in various industries. So I have a good grip of finance and a high-level understanding of tech.

What I know/have (that may be relevant to a PM role):

  • Critical and analytical thinking
  • Knowledge of finance and accounting, including costing and pricing models
  • Stakeholder management (senior internal people, team management, client handling)
  • Grasp of IT management infra (change management, incident management, security etc)
  • SQL experience
  • Ability to understand very basic LINUX stuff
  • Knowledge (not experience) of the SDLC
  • Knowledge (not experience) of Waterfall and Agile (Scrum, kanban)
  • Research and ability to understand an industry/market

What I don’t know/have (that may be relevant to a PM role):

  • Sales and marketing experience
  • Ability to code any language or understand system architecture
  • Ability to understand even slightly complicated code
  • UI/UX design ability
  • Digital marketing techniques
  • Networking
  • Business Management Skill or Degree

My questions for the community:

  1. What are things I should know/have and is online learning good enough?
  2. Any specific language to learn?
  3. Do you think getting a MBA is a good option here?

Thank you for helping out!

I transitioned from a business background to product. Seen many others do it. Some next steps for you to consider:

  • Easiest transfer without product experience is internally within a company once you’ve built credibility
  • Given your finance background, recommend joining a company whose product team leans more business-minded - Amazon, Facebook are good examples. Plenty of smaller companies too. You can start on the business team or something more product-adjacent and transfer into product
  • The other path is to join an APM program but given your YOE I recommend the above instead
  • Beef up on SQL
  • No need to learn how to code, but understand the basics of how clients and servers work

Good luck!

I definitely agree with the above suggestions. My list of things to know would be:

  • Understanding the building blocks of an application
  • Familiarity with APIs and API structure
  • Understanding the software development process
  • Understanding common developer terminology
  • Learning how to collect and analyze data

I would also add:

  1. technical skills: focus on system architecture. Take a basic cloud cert as I’ve found it’s the best way to learn about architecture - AWS cloud practitioner may be a good course
  2. start a side project - can be anything. Just go out and build something. It will allow you to demonstrate you’ve done this before
  3. don’t try to do everything. Focus on these two things and read the occasional blog etc.

Good luck!

@yuriroman your post is fantastic! Thank you.

Unfortunately, my company doesn’t have PM roles per se. However, we do have service offerings where we assist clients with PM. However, these are rare and few and not in my location. I have reached out and applied to them, here’s hoping for the best!

I would not mind joining as an Associate PM or Junior PM, assuming it is a good company.

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