Product managers are some of the best-paid professionals out there, with base salaries in the United States averaging $113,449 per year. For senior product managers, the years of expertise result in even higher salaries, averaging between $129,725 and $161,207. Glassdoor even places the product manager role among the ten best jobs for Americans for 2022.
But, getting hired as a product manager is not a walk in the park. The role has a lot of requirements depending on the industry, and professionals working in this field are often expected to have a wide range of skills, including marketing, data science, and more.
To be specific, here are three examples of highly sought after product manager roles, together with their requirements:
- Growth Product Managers drive revenue for companies by identifying growth opportunities, with in-depth knowledge of customer behavior often being expected for these roles.
- AI Product Managers create artificial intelligence and machine learning roadmaps, and they often need basic software engineering knowledge and coding skills.
- Data Product Managers create and deliver data solutions, with working knowledge of coding in SQL, Python, and R often being required, together with in-depth knowledge of data science and analysis.
Looking at these wide-ranging requirements, becoming a product manager may seem like a daunting task. However, it’s a task worth undertaking. 92% of working product managers report being happy with their job, and the fact that they are very well-paid is just the icing on the cake.
If you’d like to become a product manager, there are plenty of online courses that can teach you what you need to know. They will help you kick-start your product management career and help you land that very first job. After that, it’s all about gaining work experience so that you can start landing senior roles years down the road.
These are the eight best online product management courses for 2022.
Best Product Management Courses
Best overall: Product Manager Nanodegree (Udacity)
Udacity’s “Product Manager Nanodegree” is the first online product management course I’d like to introduce you to. Developed in collaboration with Google, AT&T, Lyft, this course provides a holistic overview of the entire product life cycle. It’s designed to be beginner-friendly, and it assumes you have no prior experience in product management.
The four-month curriculum of this course is split into four large units:
- Product strategy. In the first unit of this training program, you’ll learn about the role of the product manager, together with the activities that take place early in the product management life cycle, such as defining the problem and validating product-market fit.
- Product design. Here, you’ll learn how to bring the product strategy to life. To do so, you’ll be using the five-step Design Sprint process developed by a collection of Google employees back in 2010.
- Product development. In the third unit, you’ll learn how to use data obtained from the Design Sprint to start the product development and execution phases. The course material in this unit includes managing stakeholders, and handling risks, together with introductions to different methodologies such as Agile.
- Product launch. In the fourth and final unit, you’ll learn how to bring the designed and developed product to the market. Here, the lessons include choosing a marketing strategy, preparing your teams for the launch, developing a realistic timeline, A/B testing, and gathering post-launch feedback.
Each of these four units also includes a real-world, hands-on project that you can add to your portfolio. These hands-on projects tend to be valuable in the job searching process as potential employers like to see candidates who have not only theoretical knowledge in managing products but also demonstrable experience.
All in all, this online course serves as a superb fast track to finding a job in product management, with an emphasis on hands-on experience. Coupled with the positive student reviews online, it’s easily deserving of the top spot among the best product management courses online.
Best for product growth: Growth Product Manager Nanodegree (Udacity)
The “Growth Product Manager Nanodegree” is one of Udacity’s newest online courses. While student reviews for the course are difficult to find, the lineup of instructors certainly seems promising for this class as it includes experts from companies such as Microsoft, Sendoso, and Productboard.
The program curriculum is split into the following units:
- Growth and Acquisition Strategy
- Activation and Retention Strategy
- Monetization Strategy
Typical to Udacity, each unit also includes a real-world project. In one, you’re tasked with defining acquisition funnels and KPIs, increasing conversions, doing user research, and identifying growth loops for a B2B cloud business. In another, you take on the role of a growth product manager for Slack. You’ll do quantitative data analysis using the data at your disposal to create a retention curve, design an activation funnel, and perform churn rate analysis for Slack.
All these projects help you build a portfolio and gain practical hands-on experience, which is great for landing that first job as a growth product manager. Coupled with the technical mentorship and career services provided by Udacity, this online course becomes an appealing package for prospective product managers. If your long-term aim is to work as a growth product manager within a tech company, then you really can’t go wrong with this course.
Best for AI: AI Product Manager Nanodegree (Udacity)
In spot number three, we have the “AI Product Manager Nanodegree” from Udacity. Developed in partnership with Appen, a machine intelligence company, this program focuses on teaching product managers how to apply AI and ML to product design and marketing. AI product managers have some of the best salaries out of any profession (averaging $144,975 in the U.S.) and are among the most in-demand roles in tech companies.
As for the syllabus, this program is split into four individual units:
- Introduction to AI in Business. This unit will teach you the fundamentals of the roles of AI and machine learning in business, together with the relevant success metrics and use cases.
- Creating a Dataset. This unit dives deep into training data by showing you how Figure Eight Inc. (a part of Appen) uses data annotation to develop high-quality datasets.
- Building a Model. Here, the focus is on the technical know-how, and you’ll be guided through the process of using neural networks, building new AI models using Google’s AutoML, and identifying product use cases for different AI models.
- Measuring Impact and Updating Models. In this final unit, you are taught how to measure the post-deployment impact of your chosen AI model, make improvements through A/B testing, and scale the product. It concludes with a capstone project where you must create a real-world AI product business plan.
With real-world projects at the end of each unit and a curriculum packed full of technical know-how, this product management course will be a great fit for you if you’re looking to use AI and ML as a competitive advantage to help develop new products. It gets quite technical at some points, but no prior programming experience is required from students and the lessons are presented in a clear manner.
Product Management Certification Courses (Product School)
Next up, we have the online course “Product Management Certification” by Product School.
Product School offers a series of intensive courses aimed at three different levels of product management professionals: the “Product Manager Certificate” for beginners, the “Product Leader Certificate” for junior product managers moving up the career ladder, and the “Product Executive Certificate” for product managers with 5+ years of experience.
One thing to consider with Product School’s online product management classes is that they are all delivered in a live format. This means that you are more restricted in terms of availability and pacing, but it also brings the benefit of getting live feedback from the instructor and other students.
While expensive, Product School’s live online courses are led by industry professionals, teach a wide range of product management tools, make use of case studies, and include product management interview practices.
That is why it’s easy to rank them as some of the best product management courses on the market for professional product managers trying to move up the career ladder. However, if you’re an absolute beginner, I would recommend starting off with a course that allows you to study at your own pace. The intensive live format of this course tends to work the best if you already have some prior experience.
Digital Product Management Specialization (Coursera x University of Virginia)
The fifth online product management course worth considering is Coursera’s “Digital Product Management Specialization“. Led by Alex Cowan from the University of Virginia, this course provides a general overview of the entire product development process, including initial research, prototyping, testing, and team management.
One thing you should consider is that the focus here is almost exclusively on the Agile methodology of product management. The Agile methodology is a set of software development practices that has been gathering a lot of momentum in the past few years. It allows product teams to investigate and optimize ideas throughout a project based on user feedback, rather than being stuck with one final solution at the beginning without adapting to changes.
While it’s an excellent method, it’s worth keeping in mind that the Agile method is most often used in software development, and if you’re not interested in working as a product manager within software companies, then you should probably pick a different class. Also, the class does not give very much attention to developing the fundamental know-how of product management and dives straight into Agile after the first course. That is why absolute beginners may find it difficult to follow the second half of the course curriculum.
However, if your goal is to become an Agile-certified product manager within a technology company, and you feel confident enough in your skills to tackle the Agile methodology, then this is definitely a great product management course choice. It covers Agile in great length, has competitive pricing, and provides a certification of completion signed by the University of Virginia.
Become a Product Manager (LinkedIn Learning)
The next product management course worth taking a look at is “Become a Product Manager“, available at LinkedIn Learning (formerly known as Lynda).
This product management program consists of eight individual courses. The first course starts off with the basics, giving students a theoretical overview of the product management world. Gradually, the courses get more technical, finishing with a final course that teaches you the practical tools and technical skills needed to work as a successful product manager.
If you prefer not to go through the full learning path and instead wish to enroll in a single course, you also have that option available to you. For example, you could simply take the most popular course in the series, “Becoming a Product Manager: A Complete Guide“, led by Cole Mercer and Evan Kimbrell. The only drawback to doing that is that you will not earn a certificate of completion for the full learning path.
All in all, though, this product manager course provides a thorough overview of product management jobs, gives good advice on international product marketing, and gives enough technical knowledge to be a competitive course.
The only potential drawback I’d like to highlight is that all the individual courses in the program are led by different instructors, which results in the overall course curriculum not being as cohesive as the other courses on this list. Having the same instructor or team of instructors throughout the course is generally better, as it ties everything together with a common theme and results in a more natural learning journey.
Agile Product Management (280 Group)
The “Agile Product Management” online course by 280 Group is another superb product management course you have to take a look at. With both online self-study and in-person training options available, students can choose the method that best suits their preferences.
As the name of the course suggests, this online course is narrow-focused on Agile product management training, and you should not go into it expecting a holistic overview of various different product management methodologies. The focus is on Agile, and Agile only.
However, the fact that it’s narrow-focused also means that it’s one of the top options available for learning the Agile methodology. Led by experts who have gained expertise from companies such as Amazon, Microsoft, and Adobe, you know you’ll be in good hands by taking this course.
The only drawback? You need to already have at least one year of prior experience as a product manager in order to be eligible for the course. It’s not beginner-level, and the knowledge taught throughout the course is meant for those who already have some experience under their belt. For those that do, though, it’s definitely one of the best product management training programs available.
Brand and Product Management (Coursera x ie Business School)
In the eighth and final spot, we have the online product management course “Brand and Product Management“, available at Coursera.
Led by the IE Business School and taught by university professor Luis Rodriguez Baptista, this course will teach you brand management, brand strategy, and product management skills in an international setting. The course consists of four weekly modules, and each module is divided into sub-sections containing videos, extra readings, and quizzes.
This course is part of the lengthier “Marketing Mix Implementation Specialization“, also led by the IE Business School on Coursera, but as many of the courses within the specialization are unrelated to product management I decided to include this single course rather than the entire full-length program.
As this is a single course and not a full-length specialization program, you should not expect to get a complete overview of all aspects of product management. Instead, consider taking this course if you want to master brand strategy specifically. For that purpose, this course is great.