How to Become an AI Product Manager Without Experience

Updated on January 17th, 2022
How to Become an AI Product Manager Without Experience

Want to become an AI product manager?

If so, then you've come to the right place. This guide shows you how to prepare yourself for a career in AI product management.

Today, more and more businesses are looking for product managers who specialize in artificial intelligence and machine learning technologies. According to Finances Online, the CAGR growth rate for the market size of the AI industry exceeds 33% between the period 2019 and 2023. A report from McKinsey supports this, predicting that AI brings in as much as $13 trillion in economic activity by the year 2030.

AI product management professionals help businesses profit from these markets by overseeing the planning, development, and success of AI products and solutions.

That said, landing a job as an AI product manager is no easy feat. However, there are a series of steps you must take to bring you down the right path. 

We’ll be doing just that in this guide. Let’s dive into some key pieces of advice you must follow in order to succeed in AI product management.

Step 1: Get Certified in Technical PM

One of the first steps to becoming an AI product manager is to ground yourself in the fundamentals of technical product management. 

AI product managers share several responsibilities and functions with technical product managers.

This is because products that incorporate artificial intelligence and machine learning technologies are complex. As a result, these types of products present several challenges to product teams during the design and development process. These problems include:

  • Computing Power: AI and machine learning products operate through copious amounts of cores and GPU. In order to facilitate this, developers need to leverage advanced software such as parallel processing systems, cloud computing, and in some cases supercomputers. 
  • Uncertainty: Despite the significant growth in the AI market, investing in products that incorporate these complex technologies is still a gamble. Product teams are still unaware of how deep learning models predict a given outcome. This makes it challenging to develop these products since there is always an element of doubt on the product's outcome.
  • Novel technology: AI and machine learning technology is still a new concept to businesses and laymen alike. While several industries benefit from these types of technological solutions, potential buyers are resistant to embracing them due to the uncertainty surrounding these products.

Technical Product Management

That's why anyone hoping to become an AI product manager needs to study the technical aspects of AI product development. You must familiarize yourself with the frameworks, approaches, and methodologies that product leaders use to manage AI products. It also means that you need to predict the kinds of technical challenges that AI product teams experience.

This helps you be proactive as opposed to reactive as a product leader. This is a plus when coordinating with the technical team. It means that you'll find it easier to set feasible and more accurate deadlines for product delivery. 

Product Manager Certification

Our PMHQ Technical Product Manager Course helps you beef up your technical knowledge of AI product management.

Step 2: Learn Fundamentals of Product Management

While technical skills are a must for AI product managers, they aren't everything. Your technical knowledge of data science, computer science, deep learning, or machine learning models helps you manage only the technical side of product development. However, product development is a multifaceted discipline that sits at the crossroads between technology, business, and user experience. 


Product Development Framework

As a result, AI product managers need to juggle the various responsibilities that come with each of the three disciplines that make up product management.

The business side of things involves determining a product or feature's profitability, adhering to budgets, and implementing a marketing plan. It also means managing multiple teams and building a product roadmap. The UX aspect of product development requires you to conduct extensive customer and market research as well as carry out usability tests and product validation exercises.

Product managers must know how to manage these aspects of the development process while meeting the technical demands of their AI products.

The PMHQ Product Manager Course helps you build up a solid foundation in product management. Learn how to coordinate teams, manage the product lifecycle, maintain your product team’s morale, and much more in our exclusive training program.

Step 3: Get Certified in Artificial Intelligence

Technical product management certification gives you an introduction to the technical aspects of product development. However, certifying yourself in Artificial Intelligence is something that goes a long way in shaping your career in AI product management.

 Someone who has special training in artificial intelligence has an even deeper understanding of AI products than a product manager with just technical product management training. Most artificial intelligence training programs cover core topics that any AI product manager needs to know, such as:

  • Robotics
  • Machine learning algorithms
  • Deep learning
  • Reinforcement learning
  • Python
  • AI workflows
  • Sentimental analytics
  • Deep Q Networks
  • Advanced Convolutional Neural Networks

This knowledge plays a significant role in your ability to understand product requirements, liaise with the development team, and spearhead all activities during the period of product development. 

Certifying yourself in artificial intelligence is the perfect compliment to certificates in technical product management. There are a number of courses at your disposal. Whichever one you choose, make sure that the content in the course covers the most important aspects of artificial intelligence. 

Step 4: Gain Formal/Informal Experience in AI Projects

Having multiple certifications under your belt still isn't enough to secure you a job as an AI product manager. One of the best things that helps you stand out as a candidate to potential recruiters is showing that you already have experience working on AI projects. 

From the perspective of an employer, having experience in AI product development is a sign that you have firsthand knowledge of how to run an AI product development project. If you worked under an AI product manager, you have a solid understanding of those practices, initiatives, and approaches that were successful versus those that weren't. This helps you to minimize the risk of error when managing your own product team.

If you don't have experience, one way to start is to become part of a product development team for an AI product. If you have the technical skills, try to land a job as a software engineer for an AI project. Working in the development team provides you with practical knowledge of how to build AI solutions. What's more, your team has a product leader who takes charge of the design, development, and launch processes. Observing your product manager helps you get a sense of how you must deal with challenges on the job when you land a job in the future as an AI product manager.  

If you can’t work with an AI product team, then plan out the design, development, and launch of your own trial AI practice project. 

Example of Product Roadmap

Credits: Roadmunk

 

It is difficult for you to carry out all the tasks that an AI product manager does on the job since you won't have access to all the necessary resources. However, you'll make significant headway with certain core activities such as: 

  • Preparing product scenarios
  • Carrying out necessary market research
  • Interviewing possible
  • Creating a product roadmap
  • Working on possible product design features
  • Planning the activities of the development team
  • Setting realistic milestones for
  • Creating a go-to-market strategy
  • Drafting a communication plan for your product team members

Be sure to include the work you do in a portfolio that showcases your capabilities. That way, you'll find it easier to justify your knowledge of prospective employers more experience you get, the better prepared you'll be when you get a chance to fill the role of an AI product manager in the future.

How to Become an AI Product Manager With no Experience

Prospective AI product managers often worry about breaking into the world of product management when they don't have experience in a similar role. 

While recruiters value candidates who have prior experience in the field, most AI product managers start out with no experience in this specific role. Product management is a field that attracts professionals with diverse backgrounds. For example, there are AI product managers who started out working in software development before taking on a managerial role. There are those who started out in a marketing team. Then, through training, they got the opportunity to transition into management.

For that reason, landing a job as an AI product manager without experience in the role is possible.

One of the best things about becoming an AI product manager is that you can learn most management skills by working in almost any industry. Be sure to build on the following skills:

  • Communication skills: 
  • Organization skills
  • Leadership skills
  • Teamwork skills

How to Prepare Yourself for Your Next AI Product Manager Role

Working in AI product management is a rewarding career choice. If you want to succeed in this role, here are some steps to follow.

1. Learn The Latest in AI

Part of an AI product manager's ability to succeed is having extensive, in-depth knowledge of machine learning. It also entails ensuring that you keep abreast with any novelties, changes, and new information that affect your area of specialty.

Here are some pieces of advice you must follow to stay up to date with the latest in your field:

  • Follow blogs from authorities of AI/machine learning: There are several blogs out there that post articles on artificial intelligence, machine learning, and product management. Be on the lookout for the latest posts they share and pay attention to any updates or new information that shapes AI product management moving forward.
  • Subscribe to newsletters that post content on AI/Machine learning: Some brands may not have a blog page. Instead, they may have a newsletter where they broadcast the latest in their fields of interest. Following newsletters of companies that share information on AI and machine learning complements the information you learn from the blog posts you read. Do your research and find those companies that supply you with the information you need. 
  • Find Youtube channels that cover topics on AI or Machine learning: Youtube is a solid source for information on artificial intelligence and its role in product management. Find a channel that features videos on artificial intelligence. Find instructive video content on artificial intelligence as well as interviews with industry leaders at our Product Manager HQ Youtube Channel

2. Work on Your Soft Skills

Product management professionals need a strong set of soft skills. These skills are crucial in helping you to lead your product team and ensure that your product is a management success.  

Here are a few of those skills that assist you in becoming a solid AI product manager:

  • Strategic Planning skills: Your role as an AI product manager forces you to tap into your ability to evaluate scenarios and come up with an action plan. Hone your strategic skills by participating in activities that strengthen your analytical and visionary capabilities. 
  • Communication skills: Liaising with multiple teams is a fundamental part of your job as an AI product manager. Beef up your communication skills by learning frameworks on how to communicate in an effective manner. 
  • Empathy skills: Empathy is a skill that goes hand in hand with being a product manager. As someone managing AI products, you must know the pains of your customers in order to come up with adequate solutions. Carrying out mock user interviews goes a long way in helping you tap into your empathetic side.

3. Always Seek Self-Improvement

One of the things that makes product management so unique is that it's never the same. 

Every product is different. Each one has its own plan, data, and targets. No team is identical to another.

That’s why product professionals must never settle with the skills they have or feel like they've seen and done it all.

In this line of work, new challenges emerge at every corner.

You have to get ready to deal with them. Always look for ways to improve, seek new learning experiences, and strive to become a stellar product manager.