“What has been the most important part of your career as a product manager in tech?” – This question was asked in an AMA at Facebook HQ. Deborah Liu, VP of Marketplace at Facebook and Co-founder of Women in Product, replied – “Finding my voice”.
She shares her story of starting Marketplace at Facebook and now leading as a VP – she talks about the importance of women breaking the stereotypes of leadership in tech and actively taking up the product manager role.
It’s 2019 and only 30% of women in the US are in entry-level product roles, as per a Glassdoor study. What is needed to ‘move beyond pink’ and have more women lead as product managers and tech leaders?
Here are some tips curated from the blogs of the ‘Women In Product’ community.
- The best way to transition into product is to look for ways to learn the skills. Join hackathons. Do a side project. Push yourself to learn the in’s and out’s of being a PM. Get ready for the opportunity/ your next job in that function.
- The most important skills for the C-suite – adaptability to cultures; empathy; a learning mindset and the ability to analyse data and adjust the MVP (Minimal Viable Product).
- Mentors can help. ‘Women in Product’ was founded by Facebook Marketplace VP Deborah Liu and Facebook’s Head of Video Fidji Simo who said they could can relate to feeling stuck and “not seeing a path to the top jobs.” This is a community that mentors and supports women transition into the product manager role. Attend networking events – meet and learn from leaders. Find a sponsor and move into a new role in a different company, if you really want to be a product manager.
- You don’t have to know code. Technical expertise in CS/ML/AI is not necessary. You need to understand code and relate it to decisions on the customer – facing product but you don’t need to be an expert in all technical fields.
- Have a 2 year roadmap as a PM. Most unsuccessful PM’s create a 3 – 4 month roadmap and this keeps them stuck in an unfulfilling role. Often, making a 5 year plan is great. Work backwards from it and build your skills and expertise in your current role.
This ‘International Women’s Day’, celebrate your career by taking the right steps to becoming a product manager! Check how you can upskill and empower yourself with these great international certifications –