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How to Level up Your Product Skills

Learning the fundamentals of product management is not difficult. 

Once the fundamentals are put into practice a product manager will continue to work, learn, and refine their skills.

Product managers who want to grow and thrive in their careers should never cease levelling up their skills. 

Here are some steps that can be taken to do this.

1. Read, and read often

There is a ton of available reading material for product managers. These readings include published books on product management, online articles, blogs, and newsletters. 

The more you read the more you learn. 

Reading will either reinforce your learning or teach you something new.

One way to determine what to read is to start by identifying your skill gaps and then reading material related to these skills. Or you can strengthen your current skills. 

airfocus continues to publish beneficial resources for the product management community.

Start with the Product Digest, a weekly roundup of learnings to build better products,

curated in one place. Every week we select the top stories, tactics, tweets, and tools from thought-leaders to share with the product community.

2. Attend conferences

Conferences are a great way to learn from other experienced professionals, make connections, and expand your network. 

When you attend a conference you will walk away with great stories from other experienced product managers on problems that they faced and how they addressed them. Solutions that you can potentially apply to your work.

Enter with an open mind and leave with additional knowledge, inspiration, and connections.

Check out The Best Product Management Conferences of 2020 where we list a number of conferences that you may want to check out.

3. Take courses

If like many product managers you learnt and honed your skills while on the job then you may have some knowledge gaps.

Taking product management courses is a great way to level up your skills and gain exposure to additional tools, processes, and frameworks. 

However don’t limit yourself to solely product management courses. We also recommend that you...

4. Learn other disciplines

As product managers work closely with stakeholders from other departments it is beneficial for them to gain further knowledge about other disciplines.

A competent product manager will have a good understanding of product design, software and development, data analytics, sales, marketing, project management, and more.

One way to level up your product skills is by diving even deeper into some of these disciplines. 

Doing so will give you deeper insight into the tasks that your team members perform, and at the very least can improve your working relationship with them.

A product manager is a jack of many trades. Dive deeper into other trades to continue growing.

5. Consistently apply what you learn

Whatever path you decide to take to level up your product skills make sure to apply what you learn to your day-to-day job. 

This will help ensure that the knowledge sticks and help you refine and decide which frameworks, tools, and processes you want to implement in your daily product practice.

While the fundamentals of product management are the same across companies, there is no one uniform way to perform product management. 

Product managers tweak and modify popular frameworks, methodologies, and tools as needed to suit their specific needs.