Product Managers have loads of responsibilities, but do Product Managers code?
As a Product Manager, you won’t be required to code. However, a basic understanding of the programming languages used to build the product is a big advantage in the tech industry. HTML, CSS, C#, Python, and SQL are useful for all Product Managers as they are commonly used to build a tech product.
A Product Manager’s time should not be spent coding because there are developers that are paid to do 99% of that work. So Product Managers aren’t required to know how to code, but there are many advantages in knowing the basics.
Should Product Managers Learn To Code?
Coding knowledge can be a powerful tool for a PM’s skill set, but it’s not expected in most cases. However, it helps Product Managers to effectively communicate with software engineers.
Knowing the fundamentals of coding will allow you to “speak the same language” as the developers during meetings. It’s a huge advantage when you need to suggest minor changes in the code.
You’ll also be able to make more educated decisions on what languages to use for your product.
It will make it easier to meet deadlines because you’ll have a better idea of how much time to allocate to certain programming tasks. If you know nothing about coding, it will be difficult to know if a developer is over or under-performing.
Product Managers of physical products and services can benefit from knowing how to do analysis with coding, like extracting specific data with SQL.
Advantages Of Knowing Code As A Product Manager
- You’ll be able to communicate better with the programmers and experience fewer misunderstandings.
- It will be easier to explain strategies to engineers because you’ll be able to give more detail on how you need them to put something together in their own language.
- You’ll be able to understand the possibilities and limitations of coding.
Disadvantages Of Knowing Code As A Product Manager
- Knowing too much could cause you to stray from your other priorities and get too involved in the wrong role, a developer.
- Having a coding background can cause you to think you know better than the people who’ve been hired specifically to code. This can lead to a lack of consideration for the feedback they provide.
What Do Product Managers Need To Know?
They need to know how to work under extreme pressure while keeping calm and positive.
They also need to know how to motivate people.To motivate the workforce to deliver the product and to motivate the market to buy it.
Product Managers need to know how to put a project together and run it from beginning to end.
The main product involves a massive project to develop and sell. Each product has multiple projects on the go that need to be completed at specific times to align with other completed projects.
As the Product Manager, you need to make sure that everyone is on schedule with the tasks you’ve delegated to them.
Product Managers require a certain skill set. The examples below are some of the most important skills that Product Managers should have.
Key Product Manager Skills
- A deep understanding of communication to convey strategies to people in different departments effectively.
- “People skills” to assist you in working with your colleagues and business partners.
- Analytical skills to identify opportunities and assist with decision making.
- The ability to delegate and create synergy within the company.
- Strategic planning to help manage a product from beginning to end.
Related Further Reading:
- Are Product Managers Paid More Than Engineers? (Real Figures)
- Is Product Management Part Of R&D? (How It Differs From R&D?)
- Do Product Managers Have Direct Reports? (Yes And No)
Ideal Coding Languages For Product Managers To Learn
Even if your job description doesn’t call for it, learning some basic coding skills can help you to understand what the engineers need to do. It will help you to set more accurate time frames for them to complete tasks.
We’re not suggesting you spend most of your time learning to code. As a Product Manager, your time won’t be spent productively if you’re coding for hours every day. You just need to understand the basic concepts of coding to better communicate with your team.
For Product Managers that don’t know any code but want to understand some fundamentals, we suggest learning one or more of the following languages.
- HTML: HTML or “Hypertext Markup Language” is used to create webpages.
- CSS: CSS is “Cascading Style Sheets,” which describes how HTML elements are displayed on the screen.
- C#: C# is used widely in app development like web apps, web services, and games. Depending on the industry you’re in, just learning the basic concepts of C# will give you a better understanding of what needs to be done by the actual coders.
Do Product Managers Need To Know SQL?
It’s not a prerequisite for all Product Managers to know SQL, but it will help. Even if you only know enough to extract and apply the information you need.
Similar to knowing other programming languages, it can help but isn’t critical in doing the job.
So it will help if you know enough about SQL to use it to your advantage. Kind of like how many people know how to drive a car but don’t know all the inner workings thereof.
Interesting Further Reading:
- Are Product Managers Paid Well? (Actual Salaries They Get)
- Are Product Managers Engineers? (Product Managers Vs. Engineers)
- Do Product Managers Travel? (Why, When, And Benefits Of Travel)
- Are Product Managers Respected? (How To Gain Respect As A PM?)
Things To Remember…
Product Managers don’t need to code, but they can benefit from knowing the basics. They’ll be able to manage the product in more detail if they understand the code going into it. Small tweaks to test things out can be done at any time without bothering the developer.
It will also help to know what your team is talking about when they’re speaking in code.