What can be done for getting turned down for not being "technical" enough?

Business is my major. Due to my love for technology and the industry’s significantly larger development potential than my previous one (consumer packaged goods), I opted to transition from brand manager to product manager.

For the past two to three years, I’ve been working as a PM for a large non-tech company, developing websites, apps, etc. The problem is that we don’t have a lot of in-house development resources, so the majority of the work is completed by development consultancies. My interactions with coders are therefore minimal.

Summary of skills

  1. Excellent with data analytics;
  2. Outstanding with marketing and business expansion; and, in general, the business side of things
  3. Excellent team-building skills
  4. Good at design (I can quickly create mockups using Figma, etc.).
  5. I’m good at being user-centric; to be completely honest, it’s more of a habit than a competence.

Apart from basic HTML and CSS, I have no knowledge in programming. I’m taking CS50 right now, and I’m finding C to be really difficult. I’m not sure if I have the drive to become a programmer. My main areas of interest are problem definition, product prioritization, business growth, and even design. The stuff about “how it gets built” doesn’t particularly interest me.

What can I do to get better, in your opinion?

It’s good that I recently received a PM offer from a Tier 3 software provider. But my goal is to join a high-growth startup so I can advance more quickly to a leadership position, have a greater effect, and perhaps strike it rich with a potential exit (luck is the crucial word here). I’m aware that it’s unusual.


I came from a background in business and joined a high-growth startup. To gain a PM position, you don’t need to know how to code unless it’s for a technical product. Thus, I must ask: Have you only been applying for technical positions? I don’t think the fact that a position is “not technical” is the real justification for it.

Some further ideas:

I take it that you are proficient in SQL. If not, the expense is unquestionably justified.

It’s challenging to learn C. It will probably be easier to understand and more practical to know how the client and server interact.


I’d go so far as to suggest that you don’t even need to know how to code for technical items. To map out new features, understand the demands and desires of your users, or comprehend how your product is positioned in the market, you must conceptually understand what is happening. Although the standard is a little better than for a user-facing software, it is still primarily product work and not engineering.

You absolutely do not need to sit down and ship code as a PM (unless you’re short-staffed at a startup or something), as that is not what you are supposed to be doing. To suggest that being able to make things is necessary is going too far, although it is helpful for expanding your understanding of technology. If not, why even have an engineering team?

Finally, being informed that you lack technical proficiency is frequently code for “not understanding and being able to articulate technical concepts.” very distinct from merely not knowing how to code. can only be resolved by increasing your reading and expertise.


To be honest, it doesn’t seem like you would be a good fit for a technical PM post. Conversations on “how it gets built” will inevitably be included in some requirements and prioritizing decisions. Determining whether to construct something new or extend an existing solution, knowing if you are overbuilding, and other such decisions. My observations indicate that the PM must be in charge of these discussions and possess the necessary technical knowledge to be taken seriously.

I was an undergrad in sociology, so I don’t have any formal technical training either, but I’ve been directing my career toward the technical side because that’s what I’m most interested in. (the FAANG PM at the moment). You ought to concentrate on PM positions, where the position is more skill-focused. For instance, marketing or growth hacking roles might not align with your interests and goals.


@HerbertWarnick This sounds like sensible advice. Sincerely, I anticipate huge job growth. Which is far more appealing to you. You must abandon the agency business model and begin working with internal developers and architects. For technical work, C is not required. I began as a TPM with SQL and comical levels of Python. It won’t take you long to learn systems if your arithmetic and logic skills are excellent. Just establish strong communication with your developers and ask for inquiries. You’ll discover.

Starting with C is kind of the deep end when learning to code. I advise putting less emphasis on it and more on Python. Even if you want to work with TPM, you are much more likely to come across higher-level languages than C, such as Python, Java, C++, and JavaScript. And writing it is not a must! I believe I have developed two Python scripts and around 100 SQL queries in the last two years. I’m not as skilled at it as my coworkers are, so none of them make it into the production world.

Second, product marketing can be a better option than product management if you aren’t all that interested in the technical aspect. Many people I know who work in that field have amazing jobs and have a significant positive impact on their organizations. In our organization, though, I am in charge of getting the product built and making sure it has a market, so the exact line between PM and PMM tends to vary from organization to organization. It is our PMM’s responsibility to provide it to sales and determine the best strategy for varied customer segments.


Thank you for your advice! I believe that since my next position will be at a real software company, I will be able to significantly speed up my learning and development. It may not be an FAANG, but at least it is a B2B SAAS offering with both domestic and foreign developers.

I appreciate the suggestion. I only learn C because it is required in CS50’s curriculum. I’m hoping I can move past it and begin Python shortly.

Fortunately, I had some aptitude for math when I was younger (in high school, I took first place in the American Mathematics Competition). However, I am now unable to perform a simple calculation without a calculator.


I’m just a marketer, but I combine product management and product marketing. In addition to managing existing goods, I also develop new ones. Should I only apply for product manager positions, or would it be preferable to start with PMM positions? I’ve found that employers only select PMMs with three to five years’ worth of experience. I reasoned that I should begin with product management, practice it for a while, and then switch to PMM. Only if it was an e-commerce PM would I continue to be in PM.


I don’t know a lot about the product marketing track. The majority of the folks I know there switched from sales or marketing after receiving their MBA. I believe that if you work in marketing, you are in the ideal setting to travel around. If PMM is where you want to work, I’d concentrate on finding organizations that can refer you to others. That will frequently land you the first interview. If you possess the necessary skill set, you ought to be able to secure an offer (although the current state of the employment market should be taken with a grain of salt). Within various industries, there have been numerous layoffs in the product and product marketing fields. (There is therefore a large pool of talent.)

Do you work for a company that has PMM positions? You may easily aim for that.

Someone recently told me that when you start a new job, you have the option of changing your role, employer, and industry. It is harder to change all three than just one or two.


I appreciate your thorough response. I do indeed answer to a product marketer. I believe it would be simpler to continue down the product management path before transferring to product marketing. It’s required that you have five years of experience in some job listings for PMMs.


Personally, I believe such an approach is overly convoluted, particularly if you work for a marketing business. As long as you have appropriate experience, most positions are relatively flexible based on those years of experience. A recommendation will help you a lot in finding a job. The largest obstacle to those years of experience is that many entry-level positions require a minimum amount of experience.


Thank you. I’m pretty open to taking any PM or PMM job as long as it gives me experience. I quite enjoy PM but I don’t want to stay in this field too long.


I do concur with the sentiment expressed here. Product promotion and growth are desirable goals. In addition, I think there are a lot of opportunities in the marketplace and ecosystem as a whole. Finding new growth opportunities is a useful ability to have. However, it is important to consider the potential risks and challenges that may arise.


I could be incorrect, but I believe that in the B2C market, growth is more crucial. PMM simply seems to be pretty similar to slide builders for sales in B2B. While having a strong PMM team can be advantageous in the B2B market, it is critical to understand the constraints and potential inefficiency of PMM in the B2C market.

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Terrific suggestion. In my current situation, my role calls for me to be more technically skilled than I actually am. I think the product owner would be better prepared to answer my questions on vision, user experience, and other topics. As long as the vision is realized and the KPIs I’ve established are satisfied, I don’t care how it is developed. keeps me away from the technical arena, which isn’t my strong suit given the glut of highly technical developers, analysts, etc. on the market.