The Wall Street Journal recently called ‘Product Manager’ a dream job. However, the path to becoming a Product Manager certainly isn’t an easy one. For most people, it starts with the role of an Associate Product Manager. A Product Manager collaborates with multiple teams to lead the entire lifecycle of a product, from development to marketing to sales. An Associate Product Manager collects data, conducts research, and coordinates with multiple departments to help Product Managers do their jobs flawlessly. Given its nature, becoming an APM is the best way to crack Product Management and has the clearest path cut out into Product Manager roles.
Just like Product Managers, Associate Product Manager’s salaries also dramatically vary based on the role, location, industry, among other factors. While mature companies might offer higher salaries and lower equity, newer companies are more likely to offer sizable equity as compared to compensation. Similarly, an APM in the San Francisco Bay Area might make larger figures than one in Chicago but will pay higher rent. It also depends on the kind of Product Manager you’re assisting. There are many different kinds of Product Managers – Technical Product Manager, Analytic/Data Science Product Manager, Marketing Product Manager to name a few. The APM to each of these roles would have unique responsibilities and therefore, different pay structures.
Besides location and role, one of the biggest influencers in APM salaries is the level of experience. According to Linkedin, the average salary of an Associate Product Manager in the United States is $75k/yr. On average, an entry-level Associate Product Manager with less than a year’s experience makes roughly $55-60k a year. APMs with some experience (1-3years) can expect to make an average of $70-75k per year. An experienced Associate Product Manager with 8-10 years of experience can make up to $80-95k a year.
What do the big guys pay?
It is no surprise that tech giants like Amazon and Google pay exceptionally well. Associate Product Managers at Google make a whopping $160-180k/yr based on their location, the average salary being $167k/yr. Similarly, APMs at Facebook make around $160-200/year, and APMs at Amazon are paid up to $170k!
The position of Associate Product Manager is a coveted one. Upon securing this role, the chances of becoming a Product Manager increase drastically. However, like any other job, making your way to the first APM role without a degree is tricky but achievable. If you’re exploring the field, start by making a list of your strengths and evaluate if they fit the job profile. Important qualities that make a successful Associate Product Manager are excellent communication skills, analytical and research abilities, exceptional time-management, and solid decision-making skills. If you can harbor at least some of these above qualities, this role might just be what you’ve been looking for! Besides polishing your skillset, also focus on strengthening your knowledge of the industry to accelerate your entry into Product Management. Good luck!