7 Roles in the Product Manager Career Path You Need to Know

Product Management
April 12, 2023
5 mins read

Freshers and seasoned professionals with a knack for problem-solving always look for a role that will challenge them while giving them opportunities for growth. For such individuals, there is nothing better than choosing a career path in product management.

Different companies and industries offer unique career paths for product managers.

At most companies, the career path to product manager doesn’t begin at an entry-level position. For instance, a technical product manager career path begins from the associate and senior level having a wide range of responsibilities to look at.

While selecting a product manager career path, you have to look at two important things: growth opportunities and salary.

In this article, let’s take a look at the career path of a product manager and salary to help you make the right decision for your professional life.

Entry-level Product Manager Positions

Product Manager Intern

This role in your career path for product manager will help you understand what you will be looking forward to. You can experience being a product manager and can see if this is what you want to be in the future. 

This position suits college students and freshers who are in the learning phase and exploring the digital product manager career path. This also provides good training experience for those who want to start their career in SaaS product management.

The average annual salary for a product manager intern is $44,000.

Associate Product Manager

The associate product manager career path is offered in some companies. There is a diverse set of limited responsibilities that you will have to handle. For instance, prioritizing the product backlog and hosting the daily stand-ups. 

You might also be responsible for sharing updates and information with multiple teams. It all depends on the working style of the company that offers you this position in your digital product manager career path.

You will be asking yourself questions like “do we need this feature?” and “is this solving a problem?” while keeping the what and why of the product in your mind.

The average annual salary for associate product managers is $85,000.

Mid-level Product Manager Positions

Product Manager

Your career path to product manager will begin to make huge strides from this role. To reach this position one needs to be grilled enough in their initial roles. Product managers are expected to be skilled enough in each aspect of product management. 

For instance, if you are on the software product manager career path, you should have good communication, collaboration, and prioritization skills. This role requires you to be the point of contact for your product where you are answerable to all the queries raised by your team. 

The career path after product manager will require you to be a strategic thinker who can guide the team throughout the product management process. You will also be in constant touch with your customers to understand their changing needs.

The average annual salary for product managers is $115,000.

Senior Product Manager

You need to have prior experience to get to this position in your career path for product manager. In this position, you will mentor and guide a few product managers who will report to you regarding their respective progress.

You will collaborate with external stakeholders, upper management, and c-level employees and set up strategies with them. This is a leadership position where everyone will look up to you for perspective and guidance.

Usually, a technical product manager career path to this position means you will work independently and change the course of product development as per your product sense. A senior product manager is in charge of leading the design and development team.

The positions after your senior product manager career path are more strategic and perspective-oriented rather than being involved in the daily sprint operations of the product management process.

The average annual salary for senior product managers is $150,000.

Senior-level Product Manager Positions

Senior-level product manager positions

Director of Product

In this position in your career path for product manager you will oversee if the teams are meeting their goals or not. Whenever there is an issue, it is your responsibility to ensure that the team is equipped with the right resources to solve the problem.

You will collaborate with the VP and CPO along with the CEO to make major decisions by providing them with tangible information. Professionals on the data product manager career path look forward to this position.

At this stage in the career path of a product manager, the individual role of managing a product finishes here, and rather an overall aspect of the product development team is seen. 

The Director of Product monitors the market trends to make their product stand out in the competition. They are assisted by professionals on the product marketing manager career path who have a more comprehensive understanding of the market.

The average annual salary for the Director of Product is $175,000.

VP of Product

The main focus of the Vice President (VP) is to see the budgeting for the various product management processes. They make sure that the products are developed and managed as per the needs of the users and develop the product roadmap for 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 and mentors them from time to time.

Professionals on the career path for product marketing managers are more comfortable in this role because of their prior experience in market analysis.

The average annual salary for the VP of product is $195,000.

Chief Product Officer

A CPO’s position in the product manager career path has many responsibilities such as making long-term strategies, guiding the product’s vision, supervising various product teams, and decision-making for the organization.

A person on this post will always have an eye on data. Individuals with data product manager career paths usually aim for this position. They closely track the monetization metrics such as monthly recurring revenue (MRR) and average revenue per user (ARPU).

The average annual salary for the chief product officer is $205,000.

Summing up

The product manager career path begins from an entry-level intern position and goes all the way to a C-level position. You will have a diverse set of responsibilities where you will solve various kinds of problems through data.

Besides the right skills and knowledge, you will also need the right tools that will help you carry out your responsibilities on your career path to become a product manager.

Zeda.io is a suite of product management tools that will help you build and manage products throughout the product lifecycle. Apart from being highly customizable and easy to use, it comes with many integrations to get you started in no time. Start your free trial


  1. What does the career path product manager look like?

The product manager career path starts from an intern position and ends at the chief product officer position. The most common intermediate positions offered in various companies are associate product manager, product manager, and senior product manager.

  1. Is a product manager a good career path?

Yes. The career path for a product manager is filled with learning opportunities that come with high-income potential.

  1. Do product managers have a future?

Yes. After the product manager role, you can look up to positions such as senior product manager, director of product, VP of product, and chief product officer.

  1. Is a product manager a high-paying job?

Yes. The average annual salary for a product manager is $115,000.

  1. How old are most product managers?

The majority of product managers, nearly 38%, are in the age group of 30-40 years with an average of 38 years.

  1. Why do product managers quit?

Dysfunctional processes, uncooperative teams, uninspiring leadership, and the lack of the right tools and resources are the primary reasons why product managers quit.

  1. Do I need an MBA to be a product manager?

No, you just need the right skills and experience to land a product manager job.

  1. What are the jobs of a product manager?

Understanding the needs of the user, managing the development process, and overseeing the daily operations are the primary jobs of a product manager.

  1. What are the top 3 skills of a product manager?

Strategic thinking, problem-solving, and communicating effectively are the three most important skills of a product manager.


Jacob Koshy
Product Marketer at Zeda.io
A marketer in love with SaaS products. When away from work, I'm either spending time with my cats or adding miles on my motorcycle.
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