What Does a Technical Product Manager Do?

What Is a Technical Product Manager?

A technical product manager (PM) is a product manager that possesses a strong technical background and therefore focuses on the technical aspects of product development. 

Different from a product manager, a technical product manager has an eye on the technology that is required to meet strategic business goals and thus has a closer working relationship with engineering and customer support.

What Do Technical Product Managers Do?

A technical PM works closely with engineers and development teams. They assess time and resource estimates from engineering, review tech specs, evaluate architecture and networking plans, and also are involved in infrastructure and scalability.

Technical product managers bridge the gap between infrastructure development teams and business executives because they understand how technical product requirements support business goals. 

In terms of scalability, a technical product manager will know what’s feasible when rolling out a new product because they’re involved in the product roadmapping process.

Technical PMs’ knowledge and experience makes their input valuable when it comes to API integrations and competitor analysis, since they have an in-depth understanding of how the product works. In fact, their main responsibilities can be broken down into external and internal functions.

Technical PM’s external functions related to the broader market include:

  • Translate customer needs into product technical requirements
  • Conduct customer training to help them understand and implement the product
  • Research the market, especially competitor activities
  • Understand and communicate technical trends in the industry that are worth the investment

A technical PM’s functions within an organization include, but are not limited to:

  • Analyzing data pipelines, algorithms, and automated processes
  • Creating a product vision and roadmap alongside product managers and other stakeholders
  • Communicating of implementation requirements and testing criteria
  • Maintaining product documentation
  • Performing database queries to evaluate product performance and experiments
  • Conducting technical risk assessments

While technical PMs carry out technical work, they’re not writing code or creating network diagrams.

How Much Do Technical Product Managers Make?

The national average salary for a Technical Product Manager in the US is between $118,000 and $123,000.

To boost salary prospects, it’s worth looking into certification programs to reinforce existing skills and acquire new ones that will enhance your on-the-job performance.

Read more: 10 Best Paying IT Jobs in 2021

What Skills Are Necessary to Become a Technical Product Manager?

If you’re interested in pursuing a career as a technical product manager, the more of these systems you are familiar with, the better. They’ll help with developing product vision, strategy, roadmapping, releases, and marketing.

  • Agile systems and methodology
  • SQL for data analysis
  • Technical Product Management Systems (PMS)
  • Total Product Maintenance (TPM)
Read more: Top 10 Paying Remote IT Jobs in 2022

Background Training for Technical Product Managers

Technical product managers usually have an educational or experiential background in engineering and/or computer science. An advanced degree in technical product development and management, software development, or computer science is a plus.

How to Become a Technical Product Manager

For those who already have experience in product management, consider enrolling in a technical product management certification program to specialize. For those with neither general nor technical product management experience, start with a certification in product management before specializing into technical product management.

However, with a background in programming and/or data analysis, it’s possible — perhaps even better — to jump on the fast track directly to technical product management through a reputable certification program.

Read next: Entry-Level IT Jobs to Kickstart Your Career in 2022
Lauren Hansen
Lauren Hansen
Lauren Hansen is a writer for TechnologyAdvice, covering IT strategy and trends, enterprise networking, and PM software for CIOInsight.com, enterprisenetworkingplanet.com, project-management.com, and technologyadvice.com. When she's not writing about technology trends, she's working out or spending time with family.

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