Do you know what Satya Nadella, Marissa Mayer, and Sundar Pichai have in common? Besides becoming CEOs of massive tech companies (Microsoft, Yahoo, and Google, respectively), all were product managers.
Product managers use their broad skill sets to make trade-off decisions, ensure alignment between different functions, and bring cross-functional teams together. Many go from managing a product to entire companies, fast filling what McKinsey has dubbed the “new CEO pipeline for tech companies.”
To build your product management knowledge, you can read books, listen to podcasts, watch online webinars, and attend in-person events. These are great for long-term career success and gaining valuable information about the latest trends and technologies.
However, there’s another way to become an expert, grow your repertoire of credentials, and boost your resume or LinkedIn profile: product management certifications.
Certifications for product managers provide a solid foundation for your career journey, as well as being a globally approved way to expand your skill set and knowledge. But how do you choose the best product manager certification to fit your purpose, career stage, and budget?
In this article, we will learn more about product manager certifications, including the best ones available and how to pick the one that works for you.
What is a product management certification?
Product management certifications are industry-recognized programs that impart training on how to plan, organize, and launch products across any industry. They are offered by leading product organizations and are available both online and in person.
Successfully completing a product manager certification validates your skills to conceptualize, plan, and launch products in any industry.
Top product management certifications typically involve a combination of academic lectures, classroom sessions, project-based assignments, and examinations.
Why should you get a product management certification?
Becoming a certified product management professional is an excellent idea for current and aspiring product managers.
Specializing in product management can help boost your opportunities for a potential role or a promotion, as well as add a valuable credential to your repertoire. Recent research confirms that employees can get an average annual salary bump of $12,000 after gaining new skills or certifications.
Before deciding on the best product management certification, let’s dive into the benefits of getting one.
Launch your career in product management
Product management is a highly dynamic and ever-evolving field. Do a simple Google search and you’ll quickly learn it’s a niche domain that requires specialized education and experience.
If you’re considering product management as a possible career option, getting certified is one of the best ways to fast-track your career. Certifications in product management can help you learn the PM fundamentals and stand out when applying for your first product manager role.
Advance your skill set
Whether you’ve been a product manager for a year or a decade, you can’t let new product management industry trends pass you by.
Having a growth and learning mindset is essential for success, regardless of where you are in your career.
It is critical to stay up to date with advancements in product design and development, different launch strategies, and vast opportunities in digital product management.
Whether you want to learn product strategy, in-depth knowledge for tech products, or Agile methodologies, there is something available for every current or aspiring product manager.
Increase your career opportunities
Throughout your career, there may come times when you’ll be in the position to accept greater responsibilities, lead a team, or steer the technical side of the business.
Product management certifications can equip you with the requisite skills, competencies, and, most importantly, the confidence you need to take on these newer roles.
Successfully completing the relevant product manager certification will empower you to perform these additional duties efficiently and let your employer know you’re committed to advancing your product management career.
Deepen your domain knowledge
People are often stressed about time. With numerous professional and personal issues constantly vying for your attention, carving out dedicated time for a career advancement program may prove tricky.
However, there are many certifications for a product manager that can be comfortably completed within a single month or even five days.
Another option is to choose an on-demand program. This can help you learn product management competencies, skills, and real-world experience from industry experts at your own pace and routine.
In this way, you can take time out of your busy schedule to keep learning while being employed at the same time.
8 product management certifications that are worth the time
With so many product management certifications available on the market, how can you choose the one that’s just right for you?
We’ve curated a list of eight product management certifications you should check out, in no particular order.
Whether you’re looking for a certification in product management fundamentals suitable for beginners or an advanced one on enterprise product management and strategy, you’ll certainly find something that works for your needs.
1. Certified Product Owner — Product HQ
Gain the skills to become a certified product owner with this program from Product HQ.
It’s a perfect fit for beginners in product management or those wishing to transition into the non-tech space in the product industry. Here are some reasons you should consider it:
- Does not require any prior education or experience
- Provides downloadable templates, 50+ product owner interview questions with sample answers, interviews with global product owners, and 90+ interactive lectures by award-winning product industry leaders
- Gives you access to a product manager Slack community
2. Product Manager Certification™ — Product School
This certification from Product School is perfect for product management beginners. If you want to transition into product management or land your first product manager role, this is the one you need. Here are some highlights:
- You need just five working days (full-time) or eight weeks (part-time) to complete this live-instructor-led online program
- Get all the mentoring, learning, and prep you need to land your first PM job with personalized training in small cohorts of about 20 people each
- Top product leaders from Silicon Valley will share their product management best practices, experiences, and real-world applications with you
3. Become a Product Manager — Udemy
Learn the entire gamut of product management skills, from UX wireframing and prototyping to user stories, ideation, product research, testing, and launch strategies. This course is a Udemy bestseller in the field of product management.
Check out the top three reasons why you should consider it:
- There are no prerequisites (although being familiar with business concepts will be useful)
- This accessible course offers up to 120 downloadable resources and closed captions, and can be accessed on mobile and TV
- With more than 200,000 students and a fantastic rating of 4.6 out of 5, it is the go-to option for many product manager aspirants
4. New Product Development Professional — PDMA
Available from the Product Development and Management Association (PDMA), this NPDP program is a not-for-profit certification.
Membership in the PDMA is mandatory to take the online multiple-choice exam. Here are a few other things you should know:
- A preparatory program is available but not essential. You can do self-study and then take the exam
- This is a good fit for product managers with some experience but who are on the lookout for a verifiable credential to further their careers
5. AIPMM: Certified Product Manager® — AIPMM
Sharpen your skills for conceptualizing and debuting new products with this widely recognized product management course from AIPMM.
Its program content frequently evolves to match the profession’s needs and changing times. Check out the key elements of this certification:
- It’s available in-person across several countries and also online from AIPMM’s preferred partners’ list
- Non-members can complete the program
- All enrolled participants get a copy of The Guide to the Product Management and Marketing Body of Knowledge® (ProdBOK® Guide)
- It is recommended for product managers with at least two to three years of work experience
6. AIPMM: Agile Certified Product Manager and Product Owner™ — AIPMM
Gain a comprehensive understanding of product ownership and Agile product management with the ACPMPO™ credential.
This is what you should know:
- You can go deeper into Agile methodologies and their applications in product management, as concepts such as Scrum, Kanban, Lean, and XP are covered in this program
- It’s suited to product managers with significant real-world experience
- Exam prep courses are offered by AIPMM partners and an extensive study guide is also available when you sign up for this certification
7. Product Leader Certification™ — Product School
If you wish to level up and lead product teams at your company, this product leader certification from Product School should be on your radar.
Empower yourself to lead “the people behind the product” with this program.
Here’s why you should consider this course:
- You can make the move from an individual contributor to a team leader
- You gain access to program resources for two years in this part-time program that can be completed in eight weeks
- There are small class sizes of about 20 students, hands-on projects, and live-instructor-led programs, making this a smart option for senior product managers looking to make the leap
8. Product Management With Lean, Agile, and System Design Thinking — EdX and Boston University
Offered by EdX and taught by Boston University professors, this product manager certification focuses on product management while delving deeper into complementary concepts such as Lean, Agile, and system design thinking. It is part of the MicroMasters® program at Boston University.
Here are the key things you should know about this course:
- EdX offers two different tracks for this self-paced, on-demand program. With the audit track, you can gain all the knowledge for free but without a shareable certificate. Alternatively, you can choose the verified track and pay the full course fees to get unlimited access to course resources and EdX support
- Prerequisites include high school algebra and basic mathematic concepts, as well as a background in the concepts of project and process management, marketing, and software engineering
Product manager certification FAQs
What is the best product management certification?
With so many options available for getting certified as a product manager, a one-size-fits-all approach cannot be applied.
Beginners in the field might pick a certification focusing on Agile methodologies, while more experienced professionals can choose a program that dives deeper into product strategy, leadership, and advanced launch methodologies.
What factors should be considered before deciding upon the best product management certification program?
If you are debating between the different product management certifications, there are some variables that you should review for each program. Here’s a brief list of things to consider:
- Duration: Consider the time you have and review your weekly/daily schedule closely before you commit to a certification program. Some programs can be completed in a week while others require a greater time investment, so assess if you can complete it comfortably.
- Cost: While some certifications for a product manager can be free or low-cost, others can cost up to a couple of thousand dollars, so consider the potential career impact before going for one. Otherwise, it may not provide enough ROI for the time, effort, and financial investment that you will make.
- Program delivery: When reviewing the programs, you would have noticed that some are in-person with strict dates, times, and locations, while others are self-paced and delivered online. Consider your preferences, learning style, and availability carefully before committing to any product management certification program.
What are the key responsibilities of a certified product manager?
Completing your product manager certification will help you gain proficiency in the entire product life cycle. You will gain advanced knowledge about product management concepts, from ideating a product and designing a product strategy to a product launch.
Here are some key responsibilities that you will likely handle as a certified product management professional:
- Gather requirements about the product
- Evaluate the market dynamics with detailed research
- Design the product and decide on its features
- Review competitors and their products
- Engage cross-functional teams
- Document stakeholder needs
- Determine product positioning in the market
- Validate existing hypotheses and select the testing and release processes
- Formulate a product launch strategy
What is the average salary for certified product managers?
Increasing use of data-driven management, growing customer-centricity, and rapid progress of software development methodologies are fueling the demand for product managers.
Glassdoor confirms that highly lucrative salaries are offered for product managers across industries, with the average annual compensation crossing $100,000 in the US.
Product managers are the superglue that brings all product functions together, from engineering and customer success to sales, marketing, operations, finance, and legal.
Product managers empower companies to discover growth opportunities and build customer-focused solutions. They influence every element of how products are created and launched in the market. They need to be on top of their game and find appropriate ways to learn and grow in the dynamic product management domain.
In the coming decade, product management is poised to grow faster with an increased focus on data, more prevalent usage of product management software, and a greater influence on non-product decision-making.
Want to know more about product management? Get in-depth information with our comprehensive product management guide.
To learn more about product management software, start a free Wrike trial and see how it can help you increase team productivity, visualize product priorities, and deliver successful products in less time.