When knowledge can be freely available, why pay for it?

I have seen a lot of questions and discussions concerning certificates, courses, and other forms of “education” regarding product management on this platform. Also it seems there is more product schools and 2000$ training programs popping up by the day.

I have not come across a single piece of premium material in my now very extensive product career that wasn’t also available through a few free articles, YouTube videos, or one or two fifteen dollar books. Additionally, the majority of those paying for these have probably not read any of the top 10, 20, or 30 PM books, which will be of much greater assistance to you.

Really, this information is available for free or very cheap now more than ever before, so think about it 11 times before you consider purchasing a $2,000 course from a product guru or business.

Sorry to all the product gurus who are trying to earn a life, but your product simply doesn’t address any issues besides your own financial need.

To sum it up, why spend thousands of dollars on gurus and product schools when you can get the same value from free materials or books?


I completely agree with your viewpoints. Going a step further, I’ll add, “Read the manual” when you run into trouble and “learn by doing.” Simply by experimenting, you don’t incur any costs or harm to yourself.

I could spend the entire year reading ten books about weaving, but it would not qualify me as a weaver.


However, many of those $2000 training programs are being administered by individuals who have little background beyond reading a few books and instructing students in them.

I observe a lot of entrepreneurship programs being sold to corporate businesses to educate their staff members about innovation. However, the mentors are merely imparting what they have read in a book because they have no prior experience founding a firm or working in a startup. Participants hurl sticky notes around in some sort of visual framework, turning it all into innovative theater.

I agree that “learning by doing” is a good idea. It is the most affordable way to study. Purchase some books, read them, and make an effort to apply.


It makes sense to use “certifications” to enter certain roles. Getting to know your classmates in a course or cohort can also be a great value proposition when it comes to networking for your future position.

In any case, I agree with your viewpoint. Free resources abound, and working with mentors or other PMs is the greatest way to learn the profession.


It makes sense to use “certifications” to enter certain roles. Getting to know your classmates in a course or cohort can also be a great value proposition when it comes to networking for your future position.

In any case, I agree with your viewpoint. Free resources abound, and working with mentors or other PMs is the greatest way to learn the profession.


Your observation about the proliferation of paid courses, certificates, and training programs in the field of product management is indeed noteworthy. In an era where information is abundant and easily accessible, it is natural to question the value of investing substantial sums in education when similar knowledge can be obtained through free or affordable resources.

I understand your perspective, and I’d like to share my thoughts on this matter. While it’s true that a plethora of free articles, YouTube videos, and inexpensive books are available to gain knowledge about product management, the decision to invest in premium courses or training programs should be evaluated based on several factors.

  1. Structured Learning: Premium courses often provide a structured learning path, carefully curated by experienced professionals in the field. This structured approach can save you time and effort in piecing together fragmented information from various sources.
  2. In-Depth Insights: While free resources can give you a general understanding of product management concepts, premium courses often delve deeper into specific topics, providing insights and perspectives that might not be readily available elsewhere.
  3. Hands-On Experience: Many premium courses offer hands-on exercises, case studies, and real-world projects that simulate the challenges faced by product managers. This practical experience can be immensely valuable in applying theoretical knowledge to real scenarios.
  4. Networking Opportunities: Enrolling in a premium program might give you access to a community of like-minded individuals, experienced mentors, and industry experts. Networking can open doors to new opportunities, collaborations, and insights that go beyond what self-study can offer.
  5. Credibility and Recognition: Some employers and organizations place value on certifications from reputable institutions. While knowledge is paramount, having a recognized certification can enhance your professional credibility and improve your chances of advancing in your career.
  6. Guidance from Experts: Premium courses often involve direct interactions with instructors who are experts in the field. The ability to ask questions, seek guidance, and receive personalized feedback can significantly accelerate your learning process.
  7. Deep Dive into Complex Topics: Certain advanced concepts in product management might not be fully covered in free materials. Premium courses can provide the opportunity to explore complex subjects in greater detail.
  8. Time Efficiency: While scouring free resources can be a cost-effective way to learn, it can also be time-consuming and require substantial effort to filter out reliable information from noise. Premium courses can provide a more time-efficient learning experience.

Hope this makes sense. :slight_smile:


I agree with your caution against blindly investing in any expensive course without due diligence. Before enrolling in a premium program, consider the following steps:

  • Research: Thoroughly research the course, its content, instructors, and reviews. Look for courses offered by reputable institutions or individuals with a proven track record in the field.
  • Alignment with Goals: Evaluate whether the course aligns with your specific learning objectives and career goals. Will it provide the knowledge and skills you need to advance in your product management career?
  • Value Proposition: Analyze the unique value proposition of the course. Does it offer something that you cannot easily obtain from free resources? Consider the hands-on projects, interactive sessions, and networking opportunities.
  • Financial Considerations: Assess your budget and determine whether the investment is financially feasible. Consider the potential return on investment in terms of career advancement and skill development.
  • Alternative Options: Explore alternative sources of knowledge, such as workshops, webinars, and conferences, which might offer valuable insights without the same financial commitment.

In short, while free resources and affordable materials do provide a wealth of information about product management, premium courses and training programs can offer additional advantages in terms of structured learning, in-depth insights, practical experience, networking opportunities, and industry recognition. The decision to invest in such programs should be made after careful consideration of your personal learning style, career aspirations, and the specific benefits offered by the course in question.

Ultimately, the choice between free resources and premium courses depends on your individual circumstances, goals, and preferences. Both approaches have their merits, and a well-informed decision will lead to a more enriching learning journey.


I think this is rather the dream they sell rather than the reality. On all posts on these topics hiring managers write again and again that the certificate won’t matter.

To me people selling this dream of “get that 100k+ job by doing this amazing training only costing 999$ right now”, are not better than the ones selling get rich quick dream through crypto, dropshipping, etc.

99% of people I worked with made the move to product within a company or were specialist in the field the company operated it. (E.g: marketers in adTech etc.). And definitely not because they had a certificate.


Great topic and wonderful discussion.

I believe that people pay for certificates so they may list them on their resumes.

Additionally, there appears to be a thriving market for helping people ‘break in’ to the product management.


And sadly, it appears that people don’t take the hiring managers advice seriously, who are almost unanimous in saying that certificates don’t add value to a candidate’s resume. But their expertise in the field does carry weight and can significantly impact their chances of getting hired.


They do for sure. You’re right, every post here unanimously hiring managers tell people that certificates don’t push one over the edge.

I have hired many PMs and read hundreds or maybe over a thousand resumes over the past 10 years and not once have I considered someone more because of their pm course.

  1. Experience matters the most
  2. Show that you have worked adjacent to PMs in a role before
  3. If you don’t have any experience, write an amazing cover letter - you don’t have anything else to show for it’s probably worth it

Recruiters read resumes for little more than 9–10 seconds.

They are seeking experience with measurable outcomes.

These product schools and certifications are frauds run by failing project managers who haven’t deployed software in years.


You might want to include a list of the books you’ve read on your CV. It might be less “efficient” to demonstrate that you have actually consumed the stuff. However, it is not so different if the certifications are “pay to play” (i.e., not authorized by an exam).


While I mostly agree with you, the problem that I find with free content is that there’s so much of it that you’ll need quite some time to background check and see what sources are really worth listening to. The problem with most books is that they’re not practical enough.

A 2000$ course might not be much for some people and worth just saving time. But as you’ve said, most PM courses are pretty shit.

One I’ve liked that set the standard for me by it’s structure is gopractice.io (I’m not affiliated to them). Besides the content itself being good and broken down into small bites, they give you practical tasks that you execute in Amplitude on close to reality data… and you also get to learn Amplitude, which is a big plus.

Other one that looked promising (only gave it a small look) and people recommend is Reforge.

TLDR: I think good courses are worth the money (but not crazy $ as Product School), but there are only few of them out there.

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A. Product managers at product management training businesses focus more on businesses than on consumers. Your corporation is supposed to cover the cost, not you.

B. PM qualifications are uncommon, but when they do appear, they are respected ones. Those are probably priceless.

C You are unaware of your ignorance. Even if you believe you are doing your bit, you can be leaving out (sometimes significant) pieces of the puzzle.

There are many BS specialists out there, and Silicon Valley connections do not automatically make someone an expert. The wheat must be separated from the chaff. A quality education is important, especially if your company is paying for it.