How to Become a Product Manager in Nigeria

by Glory Ipadeola

Imagine a product that will help shape the Nigerian market was launched some weeks ago. You led the talented team that turned the ideas into reality, and you were the driving force behind the success of this product.

What would you call yourself?

You are a product manager!

How do you get there? Product management might be the perfect career if you have a passion for problem-solving, an eye for innovation, and the drive to lead a cross-functional team. Although being a product manager in Nigeria can be quite challenging and competitive because it requires a unique combination of skills, experience, and determination, it’s still really exciting.

In this article, I will take you on a journey of discovery, revealing the steps you need to take to turn your dream into a reality. From the essential skills you need to master to the best ways to gain experience and make a name for yourself in the industry, this is your guide to becoming a product manager in Nigeria.

What is Product Management?

Product management is a discipline that involves the oversight of a product’s lifecycle from ideation to launch and even beyond. It is the business process of planning, developing, launching, and managing a product or service. 

In simpler words, product management involves developing a product from start to finish (product lifecycle). It is key in business because it is responsible for the strategy and success of a product throughout its lifecycle.

Product management is fundamentally the cross-road between business, technology, and user experience. It plays a crucial role in the business world, especially in Nigeria’s peculiar environment, which is why product managers are in high demand.

Who is a Product Manager?

A product manager is a person who identifies customers’ needs, creates a strategy towards the success of that product, and leads a team to turn that vision into a reality. At the same time, they ensure that the product or feature aligns with the business objectives.

A product manager (PM) connects business strategy, design knowledge, and customer needs to develop a relevant, feasible, and valuable product. They ensure that the product can meet users’ needs, achieve business goals and maximise return on investment.

Generally, PMs are responsible for developing products for an organisation. They own the business strategy behind a product, specify its functional requirements, and generally manage the launch of features.

Skills Needed to Become a Product Manager

Product managers play a vital role in business and must have the right skill set. When we talk about the skills of a product manager, particular skills are essential for the success of any product.

  1. Product passion

As a PM, you need to have passion for whatever product you’re developing. See through the vision and be fuelled by a desire to create a successful product that meets users’ needs and aligns with the business objectives.

  1. Leadership

As a PM, you will lead a cross-functional team to make your vision a reality. Without leadership skills, getting the job done may not be easy.

  1. Problem-solving

A product manager should master the art of problem-solving. Problems surround us daily, and your ability to look at the problems and creatively find a befitting solution to them gives you an edge as a product manager.

  1. Analytical skills

When faced with data/information, you should be able to break it down and make more sense of it. You should be able to interpret data to make informed decisions.

  1. Communication and collaboration

You can’t thrive without learning to communicate effectively and collaborate with people. You need to be able to communicate with stakeholders. Moreso, communication is not only about you passing the message but also receiving the message. How do you react to the information you receive? And remember, you’re working with a cross-functional team, so this skill is necessary to achieve the desired outcome.

  1. Business acumen

You need to have a sound knowledge of business to make sound decisions. With business acumen, you can create a product that aligns rightly with the business’ objectives.

Read Also: 5 Smart Tips on How to Choose a Career in the Tech Industry

How to Become a Product Manager in Nigeria

  1. Research

Get a good understanding of what product management is and is all about. Is it something you’d want to delve into? Do you have a passion for it? Be clear about it.

You can use Google, YouTube, and even read books on Product Management like:

  • Inspired by Mary Cagan
  • Cracking the PM Interview by Gayle McDowell
  • The Product Book: How to become a great product manager by Josh Anon and Carlos Gonzales De Villaumbrosia 
  1. Start thinking like a product manager

Having done your research and seen the green light, it’s time to start thinking about the part. Learn the lingos. You don’t necessarily have to start out doing product management. That mindset shift will influence your attitude along the line for the best. Start thinking like it, and in no time, you’re it.

  1. Build a solid skillset

Before learning the work itself, begin to arm yourself with the relevant skills required of a product manager. Skills like leadership, problem-solving, analytical skills, etc., are important, and depending on your industry of interest, you should build relevant technical skills too.

  1. Find a place to learn

It’s time to get started. Find a place to learn, take courses, earn certifications, etc. Education and training like these will help you stand out in your field. Learn diligently while you climb the ropes of product management.

  1. Work on dummy projects and build your portfolio

In a country like Nigeria, where much credence is given to work experience, you should take this tip seriously. It’s high time you practice all you’ve learned. Work on dummy projects, volunteer, and be part of open-source projects. When it’s time for you to apply for jobs, you reduce the probability of rejection because you have a solid portfolio, a number of projects and, of course, what recruiters are looking for – work experience.

  1. Apply for product management positions

Apply for jobs. You’ve earned it. You’ve been a product manager in mind. Now it’s time for you to become a product manager for real. You have the skills, the knowledge and the experience. What next? Find a good company to apply your knowledge and skill set. Take product management positions, from entry-level and beyond, or similar roles.

  1. Never stop learning

Don’t ever stop learning. The Nigerian business and technology ecosystem is growing so rapidly that if people don’t try to know more, they will never get ahead.  Keep taking courses, watch YouTube videos, get involved in conversations, read books, etc. Never stop learning!

Read Also: How to Get Non-Coding Jobs in Tech

Tips for Career Success in Product Management

The role of a PM is crucial in Nigeria, with its dynamic and fast-paced business environment and rapidly growing tech industry, which is why you need to make a name for yourself and stand out.

  1. Join a community

You can join Slack communities like Product Manager HQ, MindTheProduct, and The Product Slack or LinkedIn groups like ‘Product Management Networking Group‘. You get access to courses, resources, opportunities and insights to boost your career.

  1. Networking

Build relationships, attend industry events, and participate in online forums, discussion groups and communities. Meaningful connections can benefit your career in the long run. 

  1. Mentorship

You should look for a mentor with experience in product management who can guide and support you in your career path. A mentor can also help you build your professional network.

  1. Certifications

You can get product management certifications like Certified Product Manager (CPM) from AIPMM (Association of International Product Management and Marketing) or a Product Management Certificate (PMC) from PDMA (Product Development and Management Association). You can check other recommendations by ProductPlan.

You will need the necessary tools to succeed in this career. Subscribe to our YouTube Channel to get access to our previous webinars. It’s a course on its own.

  1. Push yourself

Don’t limit your influence to communities, networks, mentors and certifications. Push yourself. Take to social media, share what it is like to be a product manager, share experiences building a product, and analyse other specific products. Take time to show the world that you are not just a product manager in theory but also in practice.

  1. Keep learning

Keep reading books, watching videos, and making yourself better. You can read books like Product Leadership: How Top Product Managers Launch Awesome Products and Build Successful Teams by Richard Banfield, Martin Eriksson and Nate Walkingshaw.

Is Education Necessary to Become a Product Manager in Nigeria?

Well, it depends on what you mean by education and training. If you mean a university degree, then no. However, how best can you understand product management and arm yourself with the right skills and knowledge? Courses, training, webinars, etc., of course.

I believe your knowledge and communication skills will make you stand out. So, I recommend that you take education and training seriously. There are tons of product management courses on Coursera and Udemy, and you can also check recommendations on Career Foundry.

Read Also: Getting Started as a Product Designer in Nigeria: All You Need to Know

Conclusion

Product management in Nigeria is becoming increasingly popular, partly because businesses need a product manager on their team. As the space becomes saturated, you need to give yourself the edge by being intentional about growth. Read books, listen to podcasts, take courses, and never stop learning because product management is a rewarding and exciting career path.

Is product management for you? Take action, and don’t procrastinate.

Join our WhatsApp community to connect with other professionals and access opportunities for career growth in product management.

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