How do I transition from Engineer to Product Manager?

One of the latest trends seen today is the tendency of Engineers to take up the role of a product manager. The transition from Engineer to product manager is one of the most common ones and a significant percentage of product managers have an engineering background.

If you are one of them before you make the transition be sure you are well prepared. As an Engineer, you might have great technical knowledge. But that alone will not help you to be a great product manager.

You will have to acquire certain skills that will be required once you start your career as a product manager. This article will help you understand how to get prepared before you make a transition to the role of a product manager.

Interaction with customers:

As an engineer, your interaction with customers would always be minimal. But once you take up the job of a product manager the most important task is to communicate with your customers. You should actually be the voice of the customers understanding what they would want from your product.

For this its necessary that you communicate with them whenever needed. As a product manager it’s your responsibility to provide great user experience for which you have to constantly maintain contact with your customers. So try developing your communication skills.

Look for opportunities:

Always look for openings and vacancies for a product manager in any company. Take up internships and projects of short duration. According to Darshana  Sivakumar, she was able to switch from the role of a software engineer to a product manager by taking up an internship and project with companies like Groupon and IBM

If there are openings for the role of a sales engineer do apply. As a sales engineer you will be more skilled in interacting with customers. But if your ultimate aim to take up the role of a product manager make sure that you move towards your aim after having gained enough experience.

Make sure you show your interest in being a product manager to business leaders in your company. But for this, you will have to continuously demonstrate your skills and aptitude so that they take interest in you. 

Build Contacts :

If you really want to become a product manager you should definitely make contacts with people who can really help you. Hang out with product managers and sales folks. Carefully observe and understand what are the things that effect their job as a product manager.

Since you are an Engineer you can easily solve certain issues that they facing. So helping them at times of need can in turn help you to get into the role of a product manager under their recommendation or influence.

Gain knowledge regarding Product Management:

Before switching to the role of a product manager make sure that you have a proper knowledge on what your responsibilities and duties as a product manager. when I transition from engineer to product manager, what will I be doing as a product manager?

 Always make it a point to read. Read books on product management which will help you to understand the similarities and differences between your current role as an engineer and your future role as a product manager.

These books will teach you the breadth of tasks that you will undertake as a product manager from product definition to sales tools, pricing, sales, customers, etc. Books on product management can help you in developing skills like leadership, strategic thinking, prioritization, and all other skills that are expected from you as a product manager.

you can also start a side project to get into Product Management.

Earn an MBA :

Though an MBA is not a mandatory requirement for becoming a product manager it can be an added advantage. The company that hires you will get the impression that you are well informed regarding the business world. So your chances of being a product manager increases. 

In fact switching from engineering to product management can be very difficult but if you are really passionate about getting the job of a product manager then make sure you fulfill it . Be well  prepared and then move towards your goal.

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