How much of tech should a product manager really know ?

Imagine this. You are a Mexican chef and you have now joined a South Indian restaurant. Will you survive? Will you be able to thrive in the new company?

On the same lines, how technical should you be to excel in a product management role sounds like a similar question.

It all depends on the company and what they need. For example, if you applying for a role with Google, you are obviously expected to understand quite a bit of technology.

More than most of us, actually !

But if you are applying for say a company like Salesforce, you are expected to know how to deal with multiple teams to how to engage with big customer accounts, to even how to up-sell.

Let me share a simple evaluation matrix for you.

If you are really good in technical knowledge and have a deep understanding of the same, go for companies that match your technology depth or even look at taking up the CPTO, that is Chief Product and Tech Officer route.

But if you are low in technology depth, look for companies that are more process or operations-centric. For example, food delivery companies etc.

Of course, within the same company there will be multiple roles that require different levels of technical depth, but here are a few basic technology pieces you should be in the know of.

📍 APIs

Software ate the world. And APIs ensure good digestion.

APIs are everywhere – all of the apps on your phone integrate with third-party applications and all of these work using APIs. In this ever-changing world, you need to understand APIs to stay relevant.


Half of the user research is about understanding what the customers are doing in your product. And the other half is about understanding what your customers are not doing with the product.

You can always interview customers, but looking at actual usage is what makes the world go round for a product manager. And this is where knowledge of SQL is helpful.

📍 Excel / Google Sheets

I have said this a million times, and I will say it again. Excel / Sheets is the biggest no-code platform one can ever have. Just learn a bit of functions and you can do a lot more with data and pretty much everything. It’s the most important tool for any product manager – aspiring or experienced.

To sum it up, the role and technology requirements change over a period of time, but having a great understanding of how things work and being curious about it is immensely helpful.

Keep moving forward. Go ahead and download the FWD app to scale into product skills (Android, iOS )

Catch The Ashish Sinha show on your fav podcast app: Spotify | Google | Anchor ..and everywhere.

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