When I was first introduced to product management years ago, I remember having one question: what does a product manager actually do?
On my first day on the job, I was handed the company’s training “bible,” a massive book filled with every product prospectus and marketing asset from the past 10 years. “Get reading,” my boss said to me, and suddenly I was on my own. At this point, I was beginning to wonder if I was totally insane for taking this position without knowing what I was getting myself into!
Of course, I stuck with it and was eventually given the opportunity to lead a team of product managers. In this role, I was always on the lookout for sharp new hires that had both the experience and the credentials to prove that they would be valuable, promotable assets to my team. This wasn’t always easy. In addition to the fact that there were no degree programs specifically focused on product management, it seemed that almost every company had their own definition of what a product manager was or wasn’t responsible for! None of this made it easy to determine who was qualified to fill the role.
Fast-forward a few years. Today there are several product manager certification programs that could catch the attention of company hiring managers. So we’ve certainly come a long way! But as a product manager trying to choose between these different options, how can you navigate toward the program that best fits your needs?
The answer: Choose the one that will lead to your dream job.
Becoming a certified product manager shouldn’t be as easy as reading a home study guide and completing an online test. Nor should it be something you obtain by taking an in-class quiz designed mostly to ensure that you paid attention during a training class. Instead, product management certification should serve to validate 3 main milestones of your career experience:
- Hands-on, targeted training with experienced coaches
- Deep knowledge of industry-adopted tools and processes
- Real-world application of product management practices
Seeing a potential gap in the current offerings that are available in the marketplace, Sequent Learning Networks has co-developed a certification program that includes all three of these elements.
We begin with our highly interactive Product Management workshop, which includes hands-on exercises led by experienced facilitators who help product managers not only learn, but also apply what they were taught in real-time. Next, we ask candidates to learn and study the tools and processes that are outlined in The Product Manager’s Desk Reference; one of the most highly respected and widely adopted resources in our industry. To ensure that this knowledge is actually being applied, candidates are then asked to wait 8 weeks prior to taking their certification exam and are even given an opportunity to speak with one of our subject matter experts at that time. To my knowledge, ours is one of the only product management certfication programs to feature this personalized level of service. But it's not just for the sake of being different…
Our product management framework is centered on understanding customer needs. So when we developed our program, we actually practiced what we preach!
We wanted to develop a certification program that measured how effective a product manager would be on the job – not just how well they studied. To achieve this goal, we formed the Product Management Executive Board (PMEB), which is a formal customer advisory board consisting of product management leaders from some of the finest companies around the globe. Then we got to work designing the test – together. The result is the only product management certification program that has been ratified by the very leaders who do the hiring. I can't think of a better program to help validate your credentials as a product manager.
For me, product management was, and continues to be my dream job. My goal now, as a corporate facilitator and coach, is to help make it your dream job as well. Product Management certification isn't about having a piece of paper to hang on your wall or a line item to put on your resume. It's about helping you to become a better product manager. And when you have all the tools and knowledge to be truly great at what you do, you may just find that you’ve been in your dream job all along.
Take our short quiz to learn more on our Product Management Certification and determine if you're a good candidate!
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