I’m going to be real with you, I’m not sure product management certifications are all that. There I said it. Now you know. BUT, don’t click away now you know the truth, because it means you can trust me. I’m not recommending for the sake of recommending. I’ve done my research, I’ve found 6 product management certifications that are worth the hype.

Being a product manager means that you are constantly learning; learning about your product, your market and most importantly, and likely most often, from your mistakes. It’s a job where things are more likely to be in a state of flux, so learning is inherently what we do day in day out. 

But, how did we become who we are, how did we get where we are, how did the many millions of us product managers get into this line of work and what training did we do to get here? 

The path to product management is different for different people, I didn’t go to university, I fell into product management and learned on the job. Which has its merits, I worked hard and learnt from my mistakes – I too used to think a roadmap in a spreadsheet with dates on it was best practice – none of us are perfect.

I will say though, for too long too many of us have found ourselves product managing, with no formal training and find ourselves muddling through till we’ve got to a place where we somehow have cobbled enough knowledge together to look like a successful product manager. Wouldn’t it be nice to have a clear path to follow, led by someone or a group of someones who know what they are talking about? 

Why get a product management certification?

There is always value to be found in furthering your knowledge, the late great Henry Ford once said, “Anyone who stops learning is old, whether at twenty or eighty. Anyone who keeps learning stays young. The greatest thing in life is to keep your mind young.” There is no shortage of learning resources out there; books, podcasts, events, blogs and slack communities. But the way people product manage evolves and changes – what might have been gospel in 2012 (like gantt charts), isn’t what’s considered good product management now. We know now that it’s better to work lean with Now, Next, Later roadmapping

My biggest piece of advice for you is please don’t get hung up on the actual certification – the badge. Anyone can knock up a badge design and throw it around – and plenty of people have! Professional ‘certifications’ have been cheapened by the proliferation of this sort of thing. So the badge is not where the value is. The value is in the learning; the course content, the opportunity to talk to experts, the chance to hear how other people are approaching the discipline. And THAT is what this list is based on – the courses (some of which will give you a badge at the end) that will provide the best learning experience.

The pros of a product management certification

  • It’s a focused and often intensive course – that means that there is a start and end date. Let’s face it, life can easily get in the way of reading a book, but deadlines and commitment to finish can help keep you focused and spur you on
  • Career advancement – whether you’re a few years in and looking for a specific up-skill certification like scrum leadership or you’re looking for a career jumpstart, there are certifications with exactly what you need
  • Standing out from the crowd – having a certification might just be that thing that makes you that bit more desirable for that job you really want. I’ve never held a product management certification, but when I was early in my career, I did the work to nab myself the CAPM project management certificate (this was back before product management certifications were a thing!) My boss later told me that it was these 4 little letters that made me stand out from other candidates, and ultimately helped me get a job as a Product Manager
  • Growing your network – you never know who you might meet doing something like this. You could find a new friend or business partner, the possibilities are endless

What makes a good product management certification?

What makes a good product management certification you ask? Well, as I’ve said, it’s not the badge or certificate they give you at the end, it’s the practical skills and new ways of thinking that you’ll come out with. 

What you should be looking for, and what I’ve looked for, is a deep element of teaching and training, course content that has been written and reviewed by actual product people AND those product experts remain involved and accessible during the course. 

There is no comparison from having those experts available to offer guidance and answer questions when they pop up. This expert access is what’s truly key to getting something lasting out of a certification. There is no formula to good product management – product management is a series of experiences. Learning from someone with lots of experience will make you a better product manager – FACT.

 The list I’ve compiled for you here is based on just that – a high quality of course content, authored and delivered by product management experts with a wealth of experience. 

The Top Product Management Certifications

Here is the complete list of certifications that we’ve compiled and reviewed

Now let’s take a look at each in detail so you can decide which is the one for you.

6 Product Management Certifications That Are Worth the Hype

King’s College London Product Management Career Accelerator

Full disclosure, I am proud to say I contributed to the syllabus for this 6 month course with the Department of Digital Humanities at King’s College London, in partnership with FourthRev – so, of course, I endorse this certification – it would be weird if I didn’t.

This course is the perfect hybrid between university teaching and real business experience, so you know how to do what we do. It has been designed for people who are starting out in their career or looking to move into a PM role and want formalized training in how to effectively meet the demands of businesses and be a successful Product Manager. 

The experts you’ll have access to are:

  • Prof James Smithies, Professor of Digital Humanities at King’s College London
  • Dr Mark Hedges, Reader in Cultural Informatics in the Department of Digital Humanities at King’s College London
  • Janna Bastow, CEO of ProdPad and Co-founder of Mind the Product (That’s me!)
  • Marc Abraham, Group Product Manager of Intercom

The industry partners who helped shape the course are from Atlassian, Dropbox, Mr Yum, Linktree and ProdPad.

What you’ll learn:

  • Foundational product management knowledge and principles
  • Product design
  • Prototyping and testing
  • Agile methodologies
  • Launch strategies
  • Product growth and analysis
  • Product & business Strategy
  • Communication and influencing skills
  • Stakeholder management
  • Prioritization
  • And so much more

The Facts:

  • Duration: 6 months, online
  • Time Commitment: 12 hours a week
  • Three ways to apply depending on your experience – find out more here
  • 1:1 career coaching throughout
  • Limited places

This is a college semester based course, so it’s not one you can just join at any time, but it’s one of the highest quality courses available and if it’s the right fit for you then I’d highly recommend you apply. You won’t regret it.

The Professional Certificate in Product Management from Kellogg Executive Education

One of the reasons why I would recommend this product management certification is that Kellogg is a tried and tested learning organization. They are voted year-on-year the best MBA in the US and are highly regarded by some of the largest and most influential businesses in the world.

Their course is led by product management specialists and marketers and is broken down into two phases; building a prototype and then going to market. They also offer the same course specifically for women – created to address the gender parity within the product management field.

What you’ll learn:

  • End-to-end delivery of a product
  • Hands-on experience with  product management tools and methodologies including project management, UI/UX (Miro), wireframing (Balsamiq), and analytics (Google Analytics)
  • Roadmapping
  • Product marketing strategy
  • And so much more

The Facts:

  • Duration: 6 months, online
  • Time Commitment: 15-20 hours a week
  • Limited places

For more information click here.

General Assembly – Product Management 

General Assembly has been running since 2011 – what started out as a small collection of people working to teach the most in-demand skills, is now a worldwide educational leader with over 30 campuses and 80,000+ alumni. Fun fact – I was one of the teachers back in 2012. Their courses run a lot more regularly than the others I’ve recommended so far, so depending on the time of year this might be perfect for you if you don’t want to wait for a semester-based product management certification.

What you’ll learn:

  • Product life cycle management
  • Planing, prioritization, validation and metric management
  • Agile best practices
  • Stakeholder management
  • Working with data
  • Deep dive into essential concepts and tools behind the end-to-end PM processes
  • Individual instructor support

The Facts:

  • Duration: 10 weeks or one intensive week, online or at one of their campuses
  • Time commitment: 1 evening a week
  • Community membership – regular alumnus events
  • Regular course start dates – check here for the next one

If this sounds like it’s right up your alley then click here for more information.

Agile Certified Product Manager and Product Owner Credential from AIPMM

AIPMM are a leader in certifications and do offer the Certified Product Manager certification too, which I haven’t included in my list here, but is also well worth a look. I have chosen to recommend the agile certification – for me,  the focus on strategy and agile methodology is what sets it apart from other product management certifications.

This certification is focused on giving you a basic and advanced knowledge of strategic and tactical concepts in agile product management. This is also a valuable course for anyone wanting to learn more about product ownership as well. As we all know, the two roles are often confused, so having a deeper understanding of the product owner role and responsibilities can only assist you in your career.

What you’ll learn:

  • Basic through to core product manager and product owner concepts
  • Scrum management
  • Business and product strategy 
  • Strategies for every phase of the product life cycle
  • How to influence and lead an agile team
  • Agile best practices and methodology
  • Concepts like Scrum, Lean, XP and Kanban

The Facts:

  • Duration: 2 weeks, Tuesday – Thursday broken up into twelve 2 hour sessions
  • Time commitment: 12 hours a week
  • Ends with an exam
  • Regular course start dates – check the calendar here

To find out more about the certification click here.

Product Manager Certification Course from Product Manager HQ

We’re big fans of Product Manager HQ and have recommended their Slack community as one we think every Product Manager should join. Their main purpose though is to make sure that all product managers starting out do not have to struggle to land that first job… and this is what this certification is all about.

It’s probably the simplest course with the lowest barrier to entry and is designed for the greenest, true beginners. This could be a great course if you have zero experience and are worried that some of the certifications might go over your head. So, if you’re straight out of college or trying to decide if product management is for you, then this might be the course best suited for you.

What you’ll learn:

  • Fundamentals of being a PM
  • How to smash an interview
  • How to create a product 
  • How to land your first job in product management
  • How to use the templates and frameworks many product managers use on a day to day basis

The Facts:

  • Duration: 1 Week – go at your own pace but it’s recommended to complete in a week
  • Time commitment: 6+ hours
  • Start any time here

If this sounds like something you could use to help you dip your toes into the world of product management read more here

Product Management Foundations Remote Trainer-Led Course at Mind the Product

Mind the Product is the original, and in my opinion, best training resource a person could use. We’ve sent numerous members of the ProdPad team to the Product Management Foundations course and they’ve all found it to be wildly beneficial. This isn’t a certification, it’s training, but like I said you shouldn’t be hung up on the badge at the end. This is high quality training that you can still put on your resume or LinkedIn profile. If you’re looking to give yourself a proper foundation this is not one to overlook.

Again to offer full disclosure, if you didn’t already know, I am one of the co-founding members of Mind the Product – but I think the training is some of the best you will find for a short foundational course.

One of the things that’s awesome, is that doing a course with MTP doesn’t end when the course does. It introduces you to the Mind the Product community and you can get some great bundle deals when it comes to purchasing.

Things you’ll learn:

  • Product development lifecycle
  • Evolving your craft as a product manager
  • Goals alignment like OKRs vs. KPIs vs. metrics
  • Hypothesis and testing including how to user test
  • Product roadmapping
  • You role in the team
  • Cultivating psychological safety
  • And so much more

The Facts:

  • Duration: 2 half-day sessions
  • Time commitment: 8 hours
  • Find the next workshop here
6 Product Management Certifications That Are Worth the Hype

So there you have it, my top 6 picks if you’re looking for a product management certification and further learning. If you can’t wait to start, why not sign up for our Roadmap online course – it’s completely free, and after 5 days and 5 emails you’ll be a roadmapping pro. Let me know in the comments what you think.

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