Prior to 2012, most people viewed electric vehicles (EV) with skepticism. Their long charge times and the high cost of manufacturing them led many to see them as impractical. However, after Tesla launched the Model S, with long-range capabilities and a sleek design that rivaled luxury gasoline-powered cars, perceptions began to change. By 2018, S&P Global reports showed that EV sales in the U.S. had surged by 81%. Since the Model S launch, Tesla has dominated the EV market, accounting for more than half of all U.S. EV sales, according to 2022 Counterpoint data.
These numbers speak to the power of well-designed products to disrupt industries and change long-held perceptions. They also underscore why product management has become a central focus of companies striving to stay competitive in fast-changing business landscapes. Today, organizations of all types are seeking out skilled product managers. So is product management a good career, and is a degree in the field worth it? The simple answer is yes.
Why Product Management Is a Good Career
With technology evolving and markets sharpening, businesses need to deliver innovative products that meet customer needs and preferences. It’s no wonder then that the demand for capable product managers continues to rise as organizations strive to stay relevant and increase their market share.
In a recent Product School report, 88% of the companies surveyed said they planned to hire more product managers, and 86% viewed product management as critical to their business strategy. Additionally, 77% of companies said they planned to increase how much they invested in their product management teams.
The report also highlighted that product management has become an increasingly diverse field. While product management has traditionally focused on software products, it is now a key element of products in the hardware, consumer goods, and health care sectors.
Based on earning potential, along with the number of openings and reported job satisfaction, Glassdoor ranks product management roles among the top 10 career paths in the U.S. Those in the field earned median base incomes of about $92,000 a year, with annual salaries ranging from $63,000 to $131,000, according to Payscale data from March 2023.
With businesses increasingly relying on digital products and services, the evidence clearly suggests that product management is a good career path.
Reasons to Pursue a Master’s Degree in Product Management
While on-the-job learning may offer important preparation for careers in product management, a master’s degree in the field can provide individuals with a competitive edge.
The curricula in these programs focus on building an in-depth understanding of the principles and techniques used in product management. This includes advanced knowledge in product development, marketing, and sales.
Students in these programs can develop a comprehensive understanding of the entire product life cycle, from ideation and prototyping to testing, launching, and scaling. They also learn how to identify consumer needs and market trends, conduct market research, and leverage data analytics to make informed product decisions.
Additionally, earning a master’s degree in product management can help aspiring product managers cultivate the foundational competencies needed to excel in this field, including managing budgets and timelines, collaborating across teams, and communicating with stakeholders.
Advanced degrees in product development also expose professionals to emerging technologies such as artificial intelligence and machine learning and teach them how to apply those technologies to product management challenges.
What Is the Curriculum for a Master’s in Product Management?
Regis College offers a comprehensive, 30-credit-hour online Master of Science in Product Management (MSPM). The curriculum covers key topics such as product strategy, market research, product development, and project management. Students can complete all coursework online in as little as 20 months. The flexibility of the online format further underscores why a product management degree may be a wise choice for working professionals.
The curriculum is divided into the following sections:
Students need to complete foundational courses that cover the processes, strategies, and tools that product managers use. These courses also address several frameworks designed to help product managers make business-focused decisions throughout the product development life cycle.
Additionally, these courses expose students to the leading theoretical approaches to product management, such as Agile and Scrum, and help them acquire practical skills to implement these methodologies in real-world product management scenarios. Foundational courses in the online MSPM program are:
- Introduction to Product Management
- Product Management Methodology
In the program’s core courses, students delve deeper into the key concepts and principles of product management. These mandatory classes include:
- Data Analysis and Decision Making
- Business Communication for Product Managers
- Product Development and Production
- Commercialization, Market Development, and Marketing
- Technical Strategy, Digital Service, and Service Design
In these courses, students will learn techniques for managing data, effective communication, product development, tracking customer behavior, and service design as well as gain exposure to essential product management tools and software.
Professionals working toward an advanced degree in product management can tailor their education to fit specific career goals, interests, and areas of expertise. Students in the online MSPM program at Regis choose from one of three areas of specialization:
- Pharma & Biotechnology: This concentration focuses on the specific needs and regulations of the pharmaceutical, biotechnology, and biomedical industries. Students learn about research-centered product management, including emerging research techniques and innovations such as gene splicing and bioprinting.
- IT: This concentration examines unique product management challenges in the IT sector, such as security testing, shorter product life cycles, continuous updating, and uncertain intellectual property protections. Students gain an understanding of the creative process in IT, from ideation through beta testing.
- Finance: This concentration explores the design, administration, and marketing of business and retail financial products. Students study a range of financial products, from insurance to investment and credit to savings. They will also learn how to launch new financial services and assess the potential profitability, market demand, and promotional channels for new financial service offerings.
Each of Regis College’s specializations can help students thrive in their product management careers. The expanding opportunities across various industries highlight the many reasons why product management is a good career choice.
Regis College’s capstone experience centers on a term-long integrative team project. With guidance from faculty and industry mentors, students create a complete product road map from ideation through the entire product management life cycle. This culminating project allows students to showcase their product management knowledge and skills in real-world applications.
The course takes a holistic approach to product management by examining how various business functions — including marketing, research and development, procurement, manufacturing, sales, finance, and IT — impact the process.
How a Master’s in Product Management Differs from an MBA
While an MBA typically provides a broad foundation in business and management, a master’s degree in product management offers a more focused, specialized education. Both degrees may cover similar topics, such as marketing and finance. However, a product management program addresses product development, customer insights, and other core product management competencies much more comprehensively.
Additionally, a product management program may offer more hands-on, experiential learning opportunities, such as case studies and product simulations.
Expand Your Opportunities in a Growing Field
In today’s fast-paced business world, product management has become a crucial discipline for businesses looking to stay competitive and achieve growth. Pursuing an advanced degree in product management can lead to a rewarding career with opportunities to make a significant impact on an organization’s success.
Learn more about why product management is a good career choice and how Regis College’s online Master of Science in Product Management can equip graduates with the skills they need to thrive in this growing field.