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Capitol adds new PhD in Product Management, enables leaders to join one of the fastest-growing career fields

LinkedIn’s most recent Emerging Jobs Report provides data on the biggest skills gap reported by employers. While technical, hard skills often dominate the conversation, the contender is something a little quieter and more reserved: soft skills. In fact, soft skills constitute approximately half of LinkedIn’s list of the top 10 skills with the largest skills gap. See the list below.

  1. Verbal communication
  2. People management
  3. Development tools
  4. Social media
  5. Business management
  6. Time management
  7. Leadership
  8. Graphic design
  9. Data science
  10. Web development

The report also provides a list of the jobs with the largest hiring growth. Some jobs, such as software engineers, are expected based on our technology-driven world. Others that also require a wealth of soft skills are taking over by quiet storm. Product management is one of these areas. With more than 12,000 job openings and counting, product management makes the top 10 list of jobs with the largest hiring growth.

Stay tuned to see how product management fares when the 2019 report is released later this year. I already have my bets.

So, what is product management? First things first, let’s differentiate the field from project management, which by the way, also made the top 10 list of jobs with the largest hiring growth.

Lightbulb idea

ProductPlan, a leading roadmap software tool, provides a helpful breakdown of the different functions.

Product Management involves:

  • Researching
  • Setting product vision
  • Communicating vision to stakeholders
  • Developing strategic plan
  • Creating and maintaining product roadmap
  • Overseeing and driving development

Project Management involves:

  • Breaking down large initiatives into tasks
  • Planning project timelines
  • Allocating project resources
  • Monitoring and tracking task completion
  • Communicating progress to stakeholders
  • Ensuring project completion in set time frame

As JAXenter notes, “there is a difference between building the product right and building the right product.” Even if a product is designed and built immaculately, it will not be effective if it does not resonate with target audiences.

Product managers should help their teams to ask the questions that refine the concept and determine before complete investment if it is an avenue worth pursuing. What is the vision – one that goes beyond the “what” and “how” and delves deep into the “why”? What is the demand for the product? Innovative? In response to an existing problem? How will impact be measured? These are all common questions that should be addressed.

In his popular TED Talk, “How Great Leaders Inspire Action,” motivational speaker Simon Sinek differentiates between traditional and inspired marketing/leadership. The crux of Sinek’s argument is that an organization’s “why” is key. Even if an organization knows its “what” and “how,” failure to have a clear “why” spells impending failure.

Audiences are meant to be inspired. In fact, they want to be inspired. Product managers, whose role encompasses a swath of areas including business management, technology, and marketing, are the experts who ensure that an organization is positioned for success, not simply based on a good idea but on a sound vision that enables long-term profitability, growth, and scalability.

Is there any overlap between product management and project management? Yes, for sure. Strategy and execution are clearly related, so the two roles need to be in sync. Another point of similarity is the fact that both roles require effective use of soft skills in addition to technical savvy.

The demand for product managers is growing and shows no signs of slowing down. Product management is more than simply a helpful role for organizations; it is essential. And to correct a common misconception: effective product managers are not the top-down big boss who single-handedly gets to call the shots. They are leaders and facilitators, individuals who are able to inspire their teams, obtain buy-in, and ultimately, shore up the future of the organization.

Hot off of the press – Capitol is excited to launch its new PhD in Product Management, as part of its mission to offer programs in relevant, high-demand technology fields.

Ready to put your leadership skills to work and join one of the fastest-growing career fields? Contact gradadmit@captechu.edu for more information or to apply.