What Does a Google Associate Product Manager Do?

Updated on June 29th, 2021
What Does a Google Associate Product Manager Do?

Google has grown into one of the largest organizations in the world, employing hundreds of thousands of people globally. Due to their massive size, they practically hire every professional out there, including a Google associate product manager.

Since Google works through its products and services, product management plays a vital role in the company’s success. They need product managers for every product they have. In fact, they need product managers for each aspect of a product, for each region, globally.

That amounts to a lot of product manager positions throughout the company. That also leads to a massive demand for associate product managers. That’s why Google started the Associate Product Manager program.

In this article, we’ll go over Google’s APM program, along with a description of what a Google associate product manager does at the company.

Let’s dive right in.

What Does a Google Associate Product Manager Do in 2021?

A Google associate product manager helps a Google product manager while assisting various product teams. They’re responsible for taking care of the smaller aspects of a product,  like product feature implementation, ensuring that the product design is accurate, and more. In short, Google APMs work on the small stuff to pave their way to becoming a Google PM.

Generally, Google product managers can’t manage everything on their own. From engineering to product strategy and design; things can get tough. That’s why there’s a need for an APM to further delegate a PM’s tasks and make the process more efficient.

Similar to how the APM program was conceived, Google also launched an APMM program (Associate Product Marketing Manager) for Google product marketing managers.

Overview of Google’s Associate Product Manager Program

The Google APM program was initially launched by Marissa Mayer in 2002 after she realized there was a gap between the product teams and product managers. Marissa, along with Brian Rakowski and other senior leaders at Google decided that a new position was much needed to develop an engineering-driven culture.

That led them to create Google’s APM program. Here are the highlights of the program:

  • You get an opportunity to travel with other APMs on various mini-trips and APM trips.
  • Get access to APM-specific events, including annual program reunions, chats with product leaders, and more.
  • Mentorship through APM Alumni and more.
  • Company-wide product roles are available.

As a Google APM, you work with several products and people who are looking to make an overall impact. As an engineering-driven position, the APM consistently works toward the product roadmap and sustainability.

Roles and Responsibilities of a Google Associate Product Manager

The roles and responsibilities of a Google associate product manager can depend on the products they’re working on and their location. However, all Google APMs have a few roles and responsibilities to take care of. They have to:

  • Assist Google product managers in conducting market research.
  • Take an active part in collecting and gathering quantitative product data.
  • Analyze customer research and behavior to help product managers develop better plans, strategies, and processes while improving the workflow.
  • Understand various product strategies for each Google product. For example, learning about Google Maps’ Crisis Response strategy that includes flood forecast visualizations, crisis-related navigation warnings, and more.
  • Help the engineering team in building new machine learning models for various internal and external matters.
  • Provide the necessary data needed to develop complex algorithms that help automate workflow and make it more efficient.
  • Work with different products to figure out cross-functional strategies for a better user experience.
  • Ensure that each product follows the product roadmap and vision, based on the ideas of the company, customers, and any other stakeholders.
  • Figure out how to work with and help Google-based startups, what perks to offer them, and how Google can incorporate their business.

The duties, roles, and responsibilities listed above are what all Google APMs need to understand.

Skills, Abilities, and Qualifications of a Google Associate Product Manager

Google doesn’t ask for many technical skills as much as they ask for soft skills. In any case, the following are the skills and qualifications that all Google APMs need to have:

  • A Bachelor’s degree in a relevant field.
  • At least two years of working experience; if there’s no work experience, you should have experience with some personal projects.
  • Basic understanding of computer science.
  • Excellent communication and interpersonal skills.
  • Superior analytical skills.
  • Adaptability and quick decisiveness.
  • Excellent time management skills.

The skills and qualifications above are the absolute minimum for applying to the Google APM program.

Becoming an Excellent Google Associate Product Manager

Being part of one of the world’s largest tech companies already makes you a great product expert. However, to reach that point, you need a clearly defined career path.

Ideally, you need to graduate with a good average. After that, you can apply for the Google APM program. However, the acceptance rate of the program is very low, making it an unlikely option.

That’s why it’s best to rack up some first-hand experience first and then apply for the Google associate product manager program.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

1.     How do I become an associate product manager at Google?

Considering that the Google Associate Product Manager (APM) program is a full-time job and rotational program, there’s an entire process that goes into becoming one. The 2-year rotational program is designed and intended for people who have just graduated or only have a couple of years of experience at most.

Google also offers an APM internship that is similar to the full-time APM job in most ways. Going through the internship usually leads to a full-time position in the same capacity.

To apply and go with the program, you have to follow and understand the interview process. Here’s how it goes:

  1. Apply to the Google APM program using your resume and a custom cover letter.
  2. If you’re selected from the pool of candidates, you’ll have to go through a one-on-one phone interview. Google will schedule a time and day, and you’ll have a short 5-minute video or phone call interview.
  3. After passing the phone interview, you will move on to the onsite interviews stage. These interviews will be conducted at Google’s office or remotely if the situation calls for it. There are approximately 3-5 interviews at this stage that are conducted by multiple people.
  4. If you manage to pass all of them, you’ll have one final interview with a Google executive. This is sort of a deal-closing interview where you’re already selected but just have to leave a lasting impression to seal the deal.

This process is the same for everyone, regardless of whether you have some work experience or are applying as a fresh graduate.

2.     What does an associate product manager do?

The associate product manager job can be considered an entry-level job in the world of product management. Depending on the industry and organization, the associate product manager works under the product manager by assisting them in conducting market research, analyzing customers, collecting quantitative product data, and making workflows more efficient.

APMs also work on new products, new product lines, new product features, and assist the product team in designing a product strategy, along with the product managers and senior product managers.

While the product manager oversees the entire product team, development team, and engineering team, they often delegate specific tasks to the associate product managers. That’s why you’ll see an APM focusing on new product features for existing products, rather than working on new products.

Associate product managers don’t need to be drawn into the full scope of the product, they only need to manage specific parts.

In a way, the associate product manager makes a product manager’s job more efficient, while supporting the product teams and other teams with anything they need.

3.     How much does a product manager at Google make?

According to Glassdoor, the average Google product manager salary in the US is $163,824. The average salary range is between $41,000 and $293,000, with the upper end being offered in Mountain View, Silicon Valley, San Francisco, and New York.

Here’s how a few other major tech companies stack against Google’s product manager salary:

  • Amazon - $121.379
  • Microsoft – $126,004
  • LinkedIn – $170,654
  • Dropbox – $167,107
  • Uber – $156,701

The Google product manager often has to associate themselves with any single Google product. That can include Google Chrome, Gmail, Android, Google Maps, or any other product or service offered by the company.

That’s why Google product manager interview questions tend to be different and based on the role you’ll be playing.

Similar to a Google PM’s base salary, a Google Associate Product Manager also earns a good salary. According to Glassdoor, the average Google associate product manager salary in the US is $135,818. The salary range is between $97,000 and $146,000, with the upper end being offered in Mountain View and San Francisco.

4.     What is an APM at Google?

An associate product manager at Google can have various roles depending on what product they’re assigned, what office they’re working in, and a few other factors. The APM typically works under the product manager and assists them in all capacities.

However, depending on what Google product or service we’re talking about, a Google APM can have varying duties and responsibilities.

Furthermore, Google APMs have a full-time duty to manage individual product features, assist product leaders, and ensure everything is on track. In a way, they take care of all the small stuff that product managers can’t or don’t have the time to handle. For example, checking whether the product follows the product design and roadmap.

5.     How competitive is Google APM?

While the Google Associate Product Manager program started to help people land PM jobs at the company, it soon became a very competitive position. At this point, it’s one of the most revered and highly coveted positions in the tech world. In total, Google’s APM program receives approximately 8,000 applications per year. Out of those 8,000, only 45 are hired as full-time APMs; that’s a 0.56% acceptance rate.

Therefore, it’s safe to say that the Google APM program is extremely competitive. You need to have excellent credentials, understand what it means to be Googlers, and have relevant work experience of two years.

Similar to how people prepare for a PM interview, you need to put a lot of effort into preparing for the Google APM interview too. Only apply for the program when you know you have a solid application. It’s also wise to get some mentorship from people who have successfully passed the interview and work there.