Comprehensive list of reviews for top 9 product management courses and certifications. These are the top rated and best programs, including free courses.
During the current uncertain times, many people are looking to transition. And many want to try the product management field from fields like software engineering, QA testing, etc.
Many people are also simply looking to upskill themselves. This is to utilize the time saved during commuting, social gatherings, etc.
As a Product Manager, it is important to know the must-have skills for any good PM.
Product management is also a commonly misunderstood term.
And you know what, as a Product Manager, you need to keep things simple – don’t forget the KISS Principle.
Many people are not clear of the different job roles like project manager, product owner, etc.
Make sure you are clear about the below differences –
Another topic that people are always confused about is the topic of choosing an online course vs an offline course.
Let us explore that.
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Product Management Certification – Online vs Offline
You don’t need to have a specific background to break into product management.
Yes, for a particular job, a particular background may help. In fact, many companies have a preference for Product Managers with a technical background. But even for these PMs, most of them simply learn product management on the job.
Having said that, it is not easy to gain realy world product management experience if you are not a Product Manager already.
So, a course or a certification definitely helps you understand the terms and concepts of product management.
More importantly, you gain a network of current and furture product managers. This network is what comes in handy when you need to get a product management job.
As far as online vs offline goes, it really depends on your personal comfort. Are you comfortable reading a book on Kindle or do you need to feel the paper? That is a key factor that you should consider.
If you are ok with attending video classes and interacting virtually with your team, then go for virtual. Virtual is cheaper, requires no travel and is available from the comfort of your home.
But, there is no beating the advantage of physical classes. Face to face interactions with future product managers will build strong networks and relationships than online interactions.
Offline is more expensive, requires a fixed time and travel commitment and requires you to adjust your routine. But, it also forces discipline and hardwork.
If you are not in the mood to study, you will see other students working hard, and you will also pull yourself forward.
After classes, you will hang out with your cohort and that will improve your networking skills. You learn more from your peers than from your books.
There are no formulas that need to learned and no theorems that need to be grasped.
Finally, there is no substitute to self study.
No matter what kind of course you pick, offline or online, you need to supplement it with your own self study.
Self study does not mean learning definitions or reading endless case studies. Self study means really diving into the world of product management.
Read blogs. Reach out to current Product Managers. Attend webinars. Ask questions.
Surround yourself with everything product management.
I strongly believe that product management is a skill that is acquired over time.
Best Product Management Courses – List
Knowing the must have product manager skills is one thing.
Actually acquiring those skills is another thing. For example, do you know how to influence without authority?
In addition to having the right skill set, you must also learn the essential tools for product management.
I want to highlight one particularly important skill for any Product Manager. And that skill is communication. Make sure you learn the art of effective communication!
If you feel more comfortable getting these skills through a formal training program, you can consider the following product development courses. Some of these offer a product management certification or a product management degree –
- Duke University Product Management Certification
- SAFe Product Manager Certification
- AIPMM Certified Product Manager
- Product School Product Management Certification
- SCRUM Professional Product Owner Certification
- Cornell University Product Management Certification
- UC Berkeley Executive Education Product Management Certification
- Coursera Product Management Programs
- Udemy Product Management Programs
Top Product Management Courses – Detailed
Let us look at each course in detail.
We will also examine the pros and cons.
The Duke University Product Management Certification is a very comprehensive program.
A very good program for people who are more senior in their careers.
Though, this course requires the applicant to have a minimum of an undergraduate degree.
This course is very comprehensive and teaches students many leading product management tools, including Balsamiq, Google Analytics, etc.
This course is also good for project managers.
Don’t forget the differences between a product manager and a project manager!
At the end of the course, a student also gets a “Duke Corporate Education” certificate.
More details – Duke University Product Management Certificate Program.
Scaled Agile Framework (SAFe)
SAFe Product Manager Certification is almost an industry standard across traditional financial corporates.
But, this may not be widely understood in the startup community.
SAFe is well known for clearly defined frameworks that are based on the size of the organization.
An important aspect is the unique distinction between a product manager and product owner. Check out the differences here.
AIPMM Certified Product Manager – Widely recognized program, but make sure this is accepted in your organization.
Product School Product Management Certification – A new age program geared towards the startup and tech industry. However, not geared towards traditional MNCs.
SCRUM Professional Product Owner Certification – Widely recognized industry program with a solid community. But, may not be ideal for startups.
Product Management Certification Cornell
Cornell University Product Management Certification is again a good program by eCornell.
The Cornell name is a reputed brand name and the network offered by this program is great.
This course has a fixed class size, which is always good. A limited class size ensures that the student gets the right amount of attention from the class instructor.
This course also has a fixed permanent instructor. This is a big advantage.
Many other courses offer temporary rotational teachers who may or may not be employees of the institution.
If the instructor is temporary or not affiliated to the institution offering the course, then there is a question about motivation.
A full time instructor from the institution itself has greater motivation and is more professional.
This course is 100% online and covers a wide variety of product management topics.
However, it offers very little exposure to the actual product management industry. Real world experience is also necessary.
Check out more details about this program at the eCornell website.
UC Berkeley Executive Education Product Management Certification – Product management certificate program by UC Berkeley is a very reputed program.
But, more geared towards senior executives.
Coursera Product Management Programs – You can always check out a wide variety of product management programs available on Coursera.
Udemy Product Management Programs – Finally, an excellent online collection of various programs, including free product management courses.
You can also check out a useful list of top 50 product management blogs.
In addition to the product management programs, I also recommend going through the following articles to understand the core of product management –
- Learn tools like Jira
- Understand Google’s OKR strategy
- What is Agile Methodology?
- What are the differences between Agile and Waterfall?
- Top 15 Benefits of Kanban
- Top 15 Beneftis of Scrum
I would also recommend that you be aware of where you are in your life and career.
Not all courses make sense at every stage in one’s career.
This is similar to being keenly aware of where your product is during the product life cycle (PLC).
As you can see, there is a wealth of information available out there when it comes to product management courses. Many of these courses teach you more or less the same product management fundamentals. This is similar to being product agnostic.
Don’t worry about “Which program is the best?”. That is not the right question.
Instead, ask yourself, “Which program is the best for me?”. This will make your life easier.
All you need to do is actually choose the right digital product management course and get going. Actually doing something, and not just thinking about it, is one of the great personality traits of Elon Musk.
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