How To Start Your Career As A Product Manager In Nigeria

Who's a product manager? 

A product manager is a professional that is saddled with the responsibility of developing products for a company. He/she is responsible for the strategies behind the products, functional requirement and manage different features release of the product. He is able to identify the needs of the customer and look for ways to fit in that particular need through the product.

Project Managers are people who organize a group of people in planning, strategizing, and directing a project for organisations making sure that things go smoothly, and results come out top-notch.


The success or failure of a project lies more on the ability of the Project Manager. From initiating, to planning, executing, monitoring, controlling, and closing a project.


Starting a career in Project Management is for anyone and everyone as long as you're willing to put it in the work. Although having a few skills at hand will help in fully maximizing and stepping into your career path.


Examples of skills advisable are;

1. Leadership skills

2. Risk Management skills.

3. Communication skills.

4. Time- Management skills

5. Financial Intelligence, etc.


Starting any career can be stressful, Project Management inclusive, but these few tips will go a long way in streamlining it.


1. Follow And Interact With People Ahead Of You In The Field:

This is so important yet underrated. Gaining little knowledge from people who have gone far in any career you're about to start helps to reduce mistakes.

They have gone through the path and they can easily guide you and hold your hands in the journey.

Read their posts, engage, and ask questions at intervals.


2. Start An Online Course:

In the digital world that we are in, access to education is almost without stress.

Check some free education sites like Udemy, Coursera, and so on, in Product Management helps to put your feet on track.

You get to gain knowledge on what it entails and from there you can pursue a graduate degree in the field and also gain certifications.



3. You Don't Need To Start Big:

Even the mentors you have and admire started small, so you don't have to start big as well.

Volunteer to help out in Project Management work, and also try to handle the little projects that come your way such as class projects. They help to hone your skills and with time you find yourself getting better at it.

Since you now know the basics of Product Management, you can choose to start jobs with entry-level requirements.


Start. Redo. These few steps will go a long way in helping you on your career path. We are rooting for you.
 

 

 

Before now, Product Management has not been well known, nor was it fully understood for its importance, especially in Nigeria. Because Nigeria is a developing country without lots of tech companies, this role was not very much brought to light in the previous years not to talk of being well appreciated. However, things are changing and the country seems to be getting better in the aspect of tech.

The fact that the number of employers keeps increasing in the country today has made the role of product management more visible and easily noticed. Despite its upcoming popularity, it is still much possible to say that product management is not understood in-depth.

The responsibility of a product manager is quite demanding and the absence of a product manager can result in a lot of flops; hereby, causing the business to fail. The peculiarity of this job or role is in very high demand worldwide, Nigeria inclusive. One must have what it takes to consider a career in this field.

To start your career as a Product Manager, there are questions you need to answer which will pave way for the necessary steps you take.
What do you know about Product Management?


This is the most important question you need to ask yourself. I remember when I first heard about product management, I looked online for the definition and the description of the role and if I am being very honest, I could not understand what product management meant. When I was making my research, on a particular site, the writer who is also a Product Manager (PM) said that ‘product management is one of the most undefined jobs and least understandable’. Then, I realized why I could not understand the meaning when I first searched for it.

Bottom line, the whole essence of my story is to let you know how much people do not understand this job and think they want to do it.  

A Product Manager is an advocate who is everywhere in a business. They play the role of delivering the best services to the customers, ensuring that the best strategy is put in place to ease the efficiency of the development team as well as developing thoughtful approaches to make money.

The PM works for the business owners by making them understand the best products that would generate profit. The PM works for the development team by ensuring there is no dispute between the development team and the business owners or customers. The PM works for the customers by ensuring that they enjoy the best consumer services.

Technical, right?

Yes, it is and that is why I said a Product Manager is everywhere in a particular business.

To start a career in this field, you are required to know the least significant details to the most significant details. You have to understand the job's shortcomings, see how competent people approach problems as product managers for several brands, and fully know all the responsibilities that this job attracts.
How do you start as a Product Manager?

·         Take Action

Having fully understood who a product manager is, you have to take action. You would need knowledge and it does not fall from the sky. The research you have made in the first question leads you to how you want to achieve this.

You would need certifications, you would need skills like communication skills, great teamwork skills, empathy, and other soft skills. This job is not for the weak, rather, it requires a lot of effort before it becomes fruitful. You would need to follow the steps of the competent product managers. Although, there is no definite way to tackle problems in product management, however, there is a standard you have to be on the lookout for.

·         You might need to select a niche

Different companies get to define the standard and actual role of product managers they really want. This does not mean that product management is not the same everywhere but there are different roles of product managers for different products (e.g. software, B2B products, consumer products, etc).

I think one fantastic thing about this is that you can be flexible enough to learn different niches and their problem-solving strategies. However, the decision all goes down to you.

·         You need experience

No one wants to hire someone who has no solid experience in product management except for certain reasons because making such a move or decision can lead to business failure. While you are trying to get certifications, getting experience is another action that must be taken. Especially in Nigeria, you would not be hired without experience, because every business owner and stakeholder is trying to protect their interest.

In Addition, there are specific internships that one could apply for which could also come in handy by serving as experience and a way to acquire more knowledge on the job. Another way is to consider volunteering for start-up companies.

·         Be current or be up-to-date

Things are changing every day and as someone who is starting his/her career as a product manager in Nigeria, staying up to date earns you a chance of being in higher demand among other PMs. You need to be conversant with new methods and strategies that can be used to approach a problem. Likewise, you must be creative as new ideas keep coming up. This makes you unique as a starter in this field.  

Customers’ wants and needs are changing, development teams are becoming more creative and there needs to be a balance to ensure profit for the business owners or stakeholders. Applying old and lame techniques might cause flops and they might not even align with the problems; therefore, it is important to be flexible enough to ensure the best product is delivered despite irregularities from several angles.

Learning never stops and there is no one way to solve infinite problems. To survive, you must be wise, competent, and consistent; and also do what it takes.

·         Market yourself

It is fine to go through a set of rules and guidelines in order be start your career as a product manager but how would you get the job you desire? You can have the best crisis management skills and everything you need, meanwhile, jobs would not fly from where they are and come and meet you where you are.

As you learn, as you gain experience, and as you develop and discover new strategies, make sure you always put yourself out there. You need to make your name ring in people’s ears. You need to be everywhere so you can be easily accessed; yes, you can make yourself everywhere. You can use social media to deliver yourself and it would give you the best you would like.
 

 

 

 

 


While some may refer to a product manager as the CEO of the product, it is not an entirely true statement.
 
Is Product Manager profitable as a career in Nigeria?
Yes, it is! It is  a highly fulfilling career in Nigeria. Product management as a job is profitable, very profitable! Statistics shows that product managers are well paid, the estimated average total salary for a product manager is 610 thousand naira per month which also includes some additional fees such as cash bonus, commission tips and product sharings.
 For example with Guaranty Trust Bank, it is between 200 thousand to 542 thousand naira per month.
The amount you can earn as a product manager depends on your location, company, and your years of experience.

What are the skills that are required for product management.
They include:

1. Proper communication skills: This is a must for product managers, you will have to relate with your teammates alongside your customers, you might be required to speak with them on phone or send email. You'll also be required to put your ideas before the management of the company and you need proper and adequate communication skills to relay your thoughts and ideas better.

2. Ability to collaborate: The role of a product manager requires that you work with different people all across various departments and units in the company, you can't get the job done alone, you have to interact and partner with all of them to ensure the success of the product.

3.Empathy: You need to know how to develop the sense of empathy when things go wrong with the product. You must be able to feel the pain of your customers and with that, you can develop a solution to the current challenges the product is facing.

 4. Problem Solving Skills: What the project manager primarily does is to create solutions for the needs of the customers, whether by improving on an existing product or creating a new one. So it's highly required and this is the basic background needed to ensure success in the field of product management.

5.Critical and strategic thinking: This is one of the basic 21st century skills a product manager must have. To see things from a different perspective and develop strategic ideas that will in turn bring profits to the company as regards a particular product.

 Roles of Product Managers
1. Decides on what to build to help the business and customers.
2. Liase with companies engineering design and marketing teams to take a product from development to launch
3. Identify the deliverables for the rest of the development of teams 
4.Prioritise problems that needs to be solved urgently by the company.
5. Research and analyses data to build new products and improve on the already existing ones.
6. Product Managers manages the entire product lifecycle right from scratch till when the product cease to exist
7. Relate with customers in order to make decisions for the company

Requirements for a product manager in Nigeria
1. Undergraduate degree in business administration or any other related course
2. Years of experience, job seekers who have years of experience usually have a slight advantage over others who don't.
3. Necessary additional training, however this is dependent on the company and the type of product you wish to manage.

 How To Start Your Career As A Product Manager.
1. Build a strong technical background in your CV 
2. Improve your communication skills including storytelling.
3 Take a certified product management course.
4. Build strong relationships and interact well with successful product managers to learn from them .
5.Take side projects related to product management and work on it
6. Apply for an associate product management program, while many of these roles are temporal you might end up getting fully employed, you are basically in it for your additional years of experience.
7. Surf through the internet for job opportunities, you can also submit your CV to companies who you know might need your services.

Product management is one the growing job roles in Nigeria with better pay, take this opportunity now. 

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