How to Become a Product Manager in Canada in 6 Step
Do you wish to become a product manager in Canada? Maybe you are a fresher or someone with zero experience in product management? The idea of a steady monthly income is quite appealing, and the fact that you don’t need so much education to get started. The fact is, the product manager’s position has become very popular and you should give it a shot.
Whether you had a different educational background is not the issue. Individuals from varying educational backgrounds, more often than not, can make it as product managers. All you have to do is to follow the right steps, and have the relevant soft skills and certifications to get you started.
That being said, this article provides the necessary steps, soft skills, and all you need to become a product manager in Canada.
Who is a Product Manager?
A product manager is in charge of developing, directing, controlling, and evaluating the operations of a manufacturing firm or production of goods for an organization. They are also in charge of the product (physically or digitally), product strategy, as well as its functional needs, and future releases. Moreover, product managers oversee the work of a variety of other departments (such as software engineers, data scientists, and product designers) and are ultimately accountable for the final product.
And while it’s true that product managers oversee the development of a product, they achieve this by managing people-motivating, coaching, and ensuring that different teams, such as manufacturing, marketing, and sales are aligned.
Before now, it was normal to see product managers in technology companies and marketing departments, but now, they have expanded to fields like engineering and even product-specific areas. In addition to this, product managers are in-demand in Canada and are listed on the Canadian NOC code 0911.
Responsibilities of product managers in Canada
Generally speaking, product managers perform a wide range of responsibilities. They are responsible to:
- plan, direct, organize, control, and evaluate the operations of a manufacturing establishment or the operations of a production department in a manufacturing establishment.
- develop and implement plans to efficiently utilize materials, labour, and equipment to meet production targets.
- manage and plan the establishment of the departmental budget.
- develop production schedules and maintain a record of raw materials and finished products.
- plan and implement changes to machinery and equipment, production systems, and method of work.
- direct quality control inspection system and develop production listing procedures.
- develop equipment maintenance schedules and recommend the replacement of machines.
- hire, train and supervise the training of employees in the use of new equipment or production techniques.
Why is a product manager a good career in Canada?
You’ll want to ask, why is production manager a good career in Canada?. Well, the answer is simple. Every manufacturing industry needs a product manager, and you should get your chance.
Individuals working as production managers have different job prospects depending on where they are in Canada. In 60% of Canadian provinces, the job prospects for manufacturing managers are fairly good.
According to the Canadian Occupational Projections System(ESDC), throughout 2019-2028, new job opportunities resulting from expansion demand and retirement for managers in manufacturing and utilities are predicted to number 31,700, while 35,000 new job seekers – resulting from school leavers, immigration, and mobility, are predicted to be available to fill these openings.
The average income for a product manager, according to sites like Glassdoor and Payscale, ranges from $86,000 to $117,000, depending on the industry. For example, an experienced Software product manager can go home with around $96,000.
Undoubtedly, product manager professionals in more senior roles at large organizations will earn more. For instance, as much as $123,000 to $200,000 could be earned by a director or vice president of a product management establishment. While a Chief Product Officer could earn anywhere from $130,000 to $274,000 per year—and much more after bonuses and stock options are included.
Steps to Become a Product Manager in Canada
Of course, you can not become a product manager in Canada with zero experience. You need to get the right skills and steps to get started. Here is the proven 6 steps method to become a product manager and land your first job.
#1. Learn Product Management Fundamentals
One of the first steps you should take to become a product manager is to learn product management fundamentals. By learning product management fundamentals, what do we mean? The fundamentals of any job are the basic day to day requirements of the job.
Product management involves basic skills—(both soft and hard) and experience. If you do not have these skills, a company might not employ you. User research, execution, wireframing, problem solving, stakeholder management, and communication are all skills you should have.
To master these skills, take structured courses. It should take you about 3 months to master it. If you complete this successfully, you’ll be ahead of 90% of people applying for the same position.
Asides from this, you need to have both the experience and up-to-date knowledge of the latest innovations in your sector. Get first-hand knowledge of your industry and your client, do a lot of research and discover fresh opportunities. You can also learn the in and out of necessary skills like usability testing, resources, and your company’s strategic goals.
Basic Product Management Skills
In general, there are both hard and soft skills in the product management field that you should have. The first category of hard skills involves skills such as techniques and methodologies specific to product development; user experience and design thinking. The others are:
- Design Sprints
- Organize and rank your list of features.
- Modelling of pricing and revenue
- Identify market trends and opportunities.
- Know how to perform customer interviews, research, and testing
- Take business and technical requirements and translate them.
- Use explicit metrics to quantify and measure your success.
#2. Choose an industry
Once you’ve learnt product management fundamentals, the next step you should take to become a product manager in Canada is to choose an industry you’ll work in.
Choose a sector that is based on your educational background, your passion or work experience. Sectors like fin-tech, food-tech, edu-tech, health-tech, crypto, and SAAS, are some of the sectors you can choose from.
Again, after you have selected the sector you want to work in, carry out extensive research into the entire aspect of the industry. Frameworks like Porter’s Five Forces and SWOT analysis can help you do this.
Make a list of ten firms in the industry where you would want to work. Also, ensure the organizations you won’t work in are small or mid-sized, so you’ll be able to reach out to the decision-makers through email.
#3. Know the Product Management Process
In line with choosing an industry, another step you should take to become a product manager in Canada is to get to know the product management process. Most importantly, you need to be skilful at identifying problems that need to be solved. Whether within the wider marketplace or the product you’re developing.
Also, there is a need to understand which products your target customers will buy and those they will not. Learn to ideate and test an average efficient product so you could be sure of a product that will meet the client’s needs.
The ability to use the time and skills of your team members is also necessary as well as your ability to run an effective meeting.
In addition, if you’re into software development, you might likely follow the Agile methodology. The Agile method is a software development process based on a repetitive approach. This will be invaluable if you have a clear sense of purpose and focus.
#4. Know Your Line of Business and Industry
It takes more than just knowing how to make a product to be a product manager. So, in your next stage to become a product manager, you will have to study your line of business and industry very well. As you may know, every product must satisfy market demand, and to identify that demand, you need to first have a thorough understanding of your target market.
That is why product management is not for entry-level graduates. Research shows the majority of product managers started their careers in different fields of study. However, like other work enclosing leadership and interpersonal skills, knowledge of the digital environment is very essential.
In reality, a Product Manager who has worked in a variety of tech fields might be a valuable asset. Moreover, a background in development; UI or UX design; sales and marketing; data; or even business can put you in an advantaged position in your Product Manager role. Because it touches on areas relating to technology, business and customer experience, it strives to discover the best way for those areas to cross.
#5. Develop Projects to Build Product Skills
The next step to take after you have studied your line of business is to start practicalizing your product management skills. This is very important because it will help me gain more experience and skills.
Also, you should be able to show your skills in every single step even though you may not be able to complete an entire product cycle. Try to build prototypes or perform user-testing and analytics. It will allow you to exercise brainstorming and strategic thinking, as well as test your ability to write, catch and recover from mistakes, and meet the goals you set for yourself.
When you’re done, chances are, you’ll want to collaborate with like-minded individuals to take your product management skills to the next level. We recommend you pair with UI designers, coders, and even test users to develop important PM skills like collaboration, communication and empathy. This is very instrumental to help you become a product manager in Canada.
#6. Create a Portfolio to Highlight Your Works
Moving forward, the last thing you should do in your product management journey is to create a portfolio that displays all your work.
Your portfolio is a primary tool that showcases your work to potential employers. It may contain coursework you’ve completed as part of a product management course or steps you have practised using the Agile methodology. Also, it may comprise products you’ve worked on with a team or even relevant work from previous job positions in other fields.
However, there is no set template for you to build your profile as a product manager since PM work differs depending on the type of product and company you have worked with. So, use your profile to showcase all your works and also make sure it represents your work in an orderly manner. Include the type of work you did, the challenges you faced and how you overcome them.
Once you’ve done all these recommendations, it’s time to get your dream job. Product managers are constantly sorting for. Take your shot, and apply for them whether you find it online or offline. Luckily, you’ll land a job in no time. Try to meet with other people in the field, such as the Toronto product managers association meetup or the like.
Frequently Asked Questions
What qualifications do I need to be a Product Manager?
There are no set qualifications to become a product manager. However, you need to have some basic skills. User research, execution, wireframing, problem solving, stakeholder management, and communication are all skills you should have. To master these skills, take structured courses. It will take you about 3 months to master it.
Is product manager demand in Canada?
Resounding yes! The product manager is in-demand in Canada. Asides from being listed as one of the in-demand occupations in Canada with NOC code 0911, a report shows that, in major Canadian cities such as Toronto and Vancouver, product management is ranked fifth in the list of top job functions in demand.
How can I learn to be a good product manager?
Product management is a skill you learn and improve through practice. Be alert with the product, your team, and yourself. It’s easy for you to be engrossed with all you have to do and miss the bigger picture. Find out what is working, what is not working and how you can make it work.
How much do product managers make in Canada?
In Canada, the average salary of a product manager is around $76,067 to $88,048 per year.
In summary, you don’t have to study product management in school because product managers come from different academic backgrounds. All you need to do to become a product manager is to get some basic skills, get product management certificates as well as some level of experience. When this is in place follow the steps we’ve provided for you. And we’ll see you at the top!