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Essential Data Product Manager Skills

Interested in learning what the essential data product manager skills are? You’ve come to the right place!

In the early 2000s, companies faced the problem of working with data at scale. Data was becoming necessary for their product roadmap, executive-level decisions, and information on their paid marketing campaigns. For internal and external data, there were regulations and restrictions on how this data could be used and by whom.

However, nobody was responsible for developing data solutions for analytics operations, scalability, and accessibility for internal data consumers. As a result, the data product manager role is there to manage and use data purposefully.

Today, data product managers have become so important that, according to Google Trends Data, their search volume has increased significantly over the last ten years. So, if you intend to become a data product manager and looking for the required skills, this article is for you.

Essential Data Product Manager Skills

Here are essential skills for data product managers:

1. Communication Skills

Communication is the most in-demand skill for any job in general. It also holds the same esteemed spot for data product managers. That means you may not get a data product management job if you have all the hard skills like technical knowledge but lack soft skills such as communication skills.

This is mainly because every managerial job acts as a bridge between all departments. They represent the employee and their team.

So, as a data manager, you need to have excellent communication skills and know how to navigate between different stakeholders. It would be better if you also communicated verbally and in writing while being adept at content skills.

It is unwise to think that communication is only limited to speaking, as it also includes listening and being in tune with others. It is an ability to understand others’ perspectives and act wisely. If you are a person who possesses such skills, there is a chance you will secure your spot as a data product manager.

Along with communication skills, an employer also seeks skills like employee relations, detail orientation, and mentoring in a candidate.

Employee Relations

Employee relations within an organization play a vital role in the success of a business.

Successful data product managers identify and resolve employee concerns and provide a more satisfying work environment for employees and employers alike.

A data product manager may have to perform duties from company policies, labor legislation, labor laws, and career development to managing employees’ benefits packages. So, one must act as an advocate for both an employer and its employees.


Mentoring is a critical skill to have in the domain of communication skills. A data manager must understand how to be trustworthy and credible to his team members and stakeholders.

Mentoring is the skill required consistently to perform the job successfully to be an actual data product manager. It helps in training and development situations and ensures smooth onboarding, re-integration, conflict resolution, and team management.

Looking to become a data product manager? Enroll in our top-rated data product management certification to do just that:

Product Manager Certification in post

2. Digital Skills

Today’s market is rapidly moving toward digitalization with its many digital products. Likewise, the data product management department needs to be proficient in digitally handling social media platforms, utilize data science, leverage data flow, use various machine learning models and algorithms, and perform statistical analyses.

Digital skills also include handling online courses, background checks, data analytics, and company databases.

Therefore, digital skills like social media platforms and customer service management have become even more important.

Social Media Platform Management

Social media is a free yet powerful platform to gather potential employees’ resumes, find market salary information, and find qualified candidates – all required excessively in a managerial position.

Platforms like LinkedIn and job portals are crucial in finding candidates for any role. For instance, posting an HR intern job can provide you with hundreds of candidate options. Thus, to become a successful data product manager, you must be tech-savvy and know how to utilize these platforms for good.

Customer Service

Identifying customer needs is the prerequisite of any management job. So, if you are in a management role, you better know how to identify user needs, take user feedback, and resolve workplace issues.

Data product managers must deal with conflict situations and learn how to resolve these issues. Thus, everyone looking to be a successful data manager should learn how to cater to customer needs and provide better customer service.

Below are some of the skills that you must know and must work on as a data manager:

  • Employee handling skills
  • Conflict handling skills
  • Anger management skills
  • Problem-solving skills
  • Emotional intelligence

3. Human Resource Management Skills

Like the aforementioned, human resource management is equally essential for the data product manager. This skill is required to understand an organization’s recruitment, selection, and data reporting process.

Data product managers must know how to recruit, screen, and select a candidate, and how employees’ records are established. It can be learned by observing their human resources manager and experiencing it.

However, educational background is indispensable as you have to run a human resource information system and Microsoft Office applications. The data product management job also requires reporting skills, including creating, reading, and understanding HR reports using data from different human resource intern systems.

4. Administrative Skills

Data product managers must provide administrative support as a part of their responsibility. Their administrative duties include managing data of entries of employees’ absence, job history, leaves and flow of workers, and their financial records.

Administrative skills are an essential component of a data manager’s role. It includes performance evaluation, reviewing resumes, posting jobs, and new hires, gathering employee information, and figuring out employee benefit programs.

All these skills are available on YouTube and many other resources available online. However, the priority is to learn with the data product manager.

Below are some of the areas you need to work on specifically for the role of data product manager.


Hiring is expensive, but a robust onboarding process can help reduce it. If you are a proactive and intelligent data product manager, you can avoid the gaps that cause unnecessary expenses. You can also identify the issues and take suitable measures to reduce tension in such situations.

Onboarding is the process that enables recruits to adjust to the social and performance aspects of their new job smoothly and quickly. Organizations look to recruit data managers who can bring new employees into their data team to increase the chances of settling down into their new jobs in the long run.

Scheduling Interviews

A significant part of the data PM job is scheduling interviews and company events, and planning to destress activities for the organization.

The job of planning can be stressful as it involves figuring out what everyone in the data team’s interests is, deciding on a venue, figuring out cost budget analysis, and executing a seamless event.


Recruiting is the most mentioned skill for the data product management job. It revolves around sifting the qualified candidates, determining if a match exists, selecting the best ones, and adjusting them to the company’s culture.

Recruiting also involves interviewing candidates. Therefore, you must have the skills to ensure fair recruitment and selection. In addition, many organizations also have internal targets for diversity across the workforce; data product managers must take care of it too.

A data product manager must have the cultural awareness of a company for better recruitment policies. He must also stay in touch with higher managers and employees in different countries, and you must be aware of the intercultural differences.

For instance, some cultures have more frequent bonuses and promotions than others. These cultural differences affect how managers try to hire, retain, and promote people.

5. Strategy and Execution Skills

A strategic mind is important in all jobs and managerial positions. Strategy creation is among your responsibilities when starting a data or product strategy or manager job. So, you need to understand the intent and translate it into an implementable execution plan.

The ability to interpret a company’s data and strategic plan, and create it according to the company’s objectives, helps make more of an impact within an organization. It also strengthens the data product manager role in the company.

Teamwork and Collaboration

Teamwork is essential for the data product management department. Data product managers need to work with other team members and heads within the company to enhance existing products.

Data product managers focus on creating the best workplace possible for data users, which is collaborative and cohesive. The job also includes learning what they do not know and which departments they are unfamiliar with. Plus, the role also requires skills of working to collaborate with software engineers, data analysts, data consumers, and data scientists to break the communication barrier.

Performance Management

This refers to involving employees in improving effectiveness toward achieving company goals. Performance management tasks fall under the umbrella of setting expectations, monitoring performance, and ratings, and developing capacities to perform.

Data science teams rely on the strong communication and interpersonal skills of a data scientist and can assist with long-term employee retention.

Data product managers can learn this skill by changing their behavior to become more adaptable, tolerant, open, and versatile.

What is the Future of Data Product Managers?

It is no surprise that data product manager roles are increasing in the tech industry. According to estimates, the amount of data flow created worldwide will reach 175 zettabytes by 2025. With this amount of data, organizations will need someone to manage the reams of data and use it.

In addition, the data product management market will reach $31.84 billion by 2025. So, aspiring and existing data product managers who plan to dig into this field have a bright future. All they need is the right training and mentorship with proper guidance to step up to become a chief data officer.

Final Remarks

If you have a background in data science or you are coming from a data scientists’ background with data science techniques, becoming a good data product manager will not put you in any difficulty. But, even if you have a degree in data science, you will need the above-defined skills to become a successful data product manager.

Take any data management course online, and you will be good to apply for the role. The only thing required in this job is understanding complex systems of analyzing data flow and working with technical colleagues. Plus, this is a job that does not require any coding, so anyone can do this without even having specialized training.

Suppose you cannot take specialized training in product management. In that case, you can explore opportunities to be the product manager of freelance projects and get involved in the production process at any firm as a side project. It will also be an excellent start to becoming a data engineer and getting into product management.


Here are answers to the questions about data product management:

What does a data product manager do?

A data product manager oversees the development and management of data-driven products, ensuring they meet user needs and business objectives. They also prioritize features and manage the product lifecycle from conception to launch. They work to enhance internal data capabilities to improve the data infrastructure.

What skills do you need to be a product manager?

A product manager needs strategic thinking, excellent communication, and project management skills. Analytical skills and the ability to work with cross-functional teams are also essential. They should be adept at market research and understanding customer needs to define and prioritize product features.

How to be a better data product manager?

To be a better data product manager, continuously improve your data analysis and interpretation skills. Stay updated with the latest data technologies and trends, and foster strong collaboration with data team members. Enhance your ability to translate complex data insights into actionable business strategies and user-centric product features.

How to become a data PM?

To become a data product manager, start by gaining a strong foundation in data science, analytics, or a related field, often through a relevant degree. Acquire experience in product management or data products-related roles, and develop a deep understanding of data technologies and methodologies. Pursue certifications or training in product management and build strong communication and leadership skills.

Data product manager vs. data manager: What’s the difference??

While a data manager ensures data quality, a data product manager creates value from that data.

A data product manager, on the other hand, is responsible for developing and managing data-driven products, defining product requirements, and working with cross-functional teams. Data product managers work like data analysts but in the product domain to improve customer satisfaction.

A data manager focuses on the governance, storage, and maintenance of an organization’s data, ensuring data integrity, security, and compliance.

If you are new to product management and are looking to break into your very first data product manager role, we recommend taking our Data Product Manager Certification Course, where you will learn the fundamentals of data product management, launch your product, and get on the fast track toward landing your first data product job.

Josh Fechter
Josh Fechter
Josh Fechter is the co-founder of Product HQ, founder of Technical Writer HQ, and founder and head of product of Squibler. You can connect with him on LinkedIn here.