Career path for Product Management

Product Management
July 6, 2022
6 mins read

Welcome you all to another guide about the Career path for Product Managers. In our last blog, we discussed Breaking into product management. We briefly talked about the tips which would help you to kick start your career in product management. We will suggest reading that blog before you start with this blog. Well moving forward in this blog we will talk more about the most common hierarchy found in companies for product management.

At most of the companies, Product managers are not necessarily meant for entry-level positions however in few companies they even did. Some companies have associate and senior product managers having a wide range of responsibilities to look at whereas some have a single person looking up for all those responsibilities all alone. It all depends upon company to company, the kind of product they are dealing with, the budget of the company, business goals of that company, the number of people working in that company and what not. Let’s dig it up a bit and get to know more about entry-level, mid-level, and some senior-level product management positions.

Entry-level Product manager positions

Product Manager Intern- Well if you are coming straight out of college, you may look up for this role to have a better understanding. You can experience being a product manager and can see if this is what you want to be in the future. This position suits best college students who are in the learning phase and exploring their fields of interest. This can be a kind of good training experience for those who want to start their career in product management.

Associate Product Manager- Well, this role is a full-time role offered in some companies. You will not be burdened up with a lot of responsibilities at first but you may get other related things to do. Like you may not be asked to design a road map or set up strategies but can be asked to prioritize things for your project. You may be asked to keep your team and other related teams updated about certain work or may be asked to get the updates from all the teams in scrum meetings. It all depends on the working style of the company. Associate product managers are expected to work and collaborate with teams associated with their products. You will be asking yourself a question “do we need this feature?” and “is this solving a problem?”. You as an APM would continuously be speaking about what and why of the product.

Mid-level Product manager positions

Product Manager- This is the real role one likes to reach while climbing the ladder. To reach this position one needs to be grilled enough in their initial roles. Product managers are expected to be skilled enough with each aspect of product management. You are expected to be good at communicating things between the teams, collaborating with your peers, and prioritizing your tasks. You are going to be the point of contact for your product. You are answerable to all the queries raised by your team. A product manager needs to be well informed about all the stuff related to the product.

Senior Product Manager- Well, you can’t directly reach this position by any chance. You need to have prior experience in product management. As you climb the ladder the more responsibility you get to have. You will have a bunch of product managers under you, whom you will instruct and mentor. You will collaborate with more people of higher authority and set up strategies with them. This is a kind of leadership position where everyone will look up to you for certain instructions. The range of duties is of the same level by far as it was for a product manager. A senior product manager looks up for a broader range of activities and responsibilities of a product manager. You work independently and get to make changes in the features of your product as per your product sense. A senior product manager is in charge of leading the design and development team.

High-level product manager positions

Director of Product- Once you qualify for all the above stages, you reach this role to handle more responsibilities. Well, keep your dyes ready because more responsibilities mean more Grey hair, lol. The person holding this position looks up to the product development department as a whole and oversee if the teams are meeting their goals or not. You are in touch with the VP and CPO along with the CEO to make major decisions. The individual role of managing a product finishes here and rather an overall aspect of the product development team is seen. A director looks up for the existing processes and improves them with changes if required. Director relies more on the numbers to see the success. They constantly lookup for the changing market trend to make their product stand out in the competition with all the value addition.

VP of Product- This role doesn’t involve the product development team directly. The main focus of the VP is to see the budgeting for the organization. The role makes sure that the products are made according to the business niche. The main concern is to make strategies for a product in the coming years. VP is directly in contact with the stakeholders and deals with the related problems. The main aim of the VP is to think about increasing the company’s business through products. Not just that, a VP is also a resource for his team which mentor them from time to time.

Chief Product Officer- A CPO is one who is in charge of a broad range of responsibilities. He is a leader who makes strategies, a person with good product sense and vision, a team supervisor who looks up to the product development team, an advocate who advises about the decisions in an organization. He holds a special position in the company as he is considered to be the driving force for the teams. A CPO may lookup for a single product or product, depending on the range of products a company deals with. A person on this post will always have an eye on data. All the decisions made by this position holder will be data driven. They will be more concerned about the profits and revenue generated by the company through products. They will always check for user engagement within their products. User retention will be their main concern as they will draw more profits to the organization.

These were some most common positions you will find while working with any organization. We Hope our blog helped you in providing the road-map for all these roles. If you liked our blog then follow us on Medium.

Mahima Arora
Associate Product Marketer at
A marketing enthusiast, trying to influence society by means of media and drive sustainable good.
Like the article? Share it with your friends!

Join 5000+ product managers

Subscribe to get our weekly product newsletter and helpful resources right into your inbox.