How to become a product manager in Germany

by Andrea Byaruhanga
March 03, 2021
friends researching how to become a product manager in germany

It seems like everyone is talking about product manager jobs these days; maybe you’re interested in becoming one yourself. After all, there seem to be lots of opportunities out there!

But what exactly is involved? 

A product manager is part of a product’s entire life cycle. They need to deeply understand a customer’s product needs and requests, plan how the development team will create a product, make sure everything happens the right way, ensure everyone is on the same page and solve problems along the way (and that’s just the start). 

If you’ve ever looked into product manager jobs, you probably know that the role can be different depending on the business, industry or country. 

With that in mind, you might be wondering how to become a product manager in Germany. Well, there’s no simple, straightforward answer – there are several ways to get there. While some product managers start by completing a course and getting certain credentials, others may just learn along the way.

Below, we’ll explain how to become a product manager in Germany by learning on the job and being promoted internally. We’ll cover:

  1. Networking and talking to others in the field
  2. How to target startup businesses 
  3. Understanding German culture

Here’s how to start your career as a product manager in Germany

1. Talk to others in the field

Networking is one of the most effective ways to grow your career. If you want to know exactly how to become a product manager in Germany, why not talk to someone who’s already working in the role? By contacting and regularly talking to people in the job you want, you’ll learn what skills you need, how to acquire them and even which are the best companies to apply to. They might even be able to hook you up with a job opportunity!

2. Target small startup businesses

If you want to become a product manager in Germany but don’t have a lot of experience, consider applying for a job at a small startup company (even if it’s not exactly the role you want). Small startups have fewer employees, which means one person often does a few different jobs. At a startup, you’ll probably have more opportunity to learn on-the-job skills by working under a senior product manager, or even do some of the product management tasks yourself.

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Start from a different department 

Your path to becoming a product manager in Germany might have an unexpected start. 

Let’s imagine that you’re a customer support specialist. You could start by applying to a company that needs your skills. Once you’re hired on the customer support team, here are a couple of things you can do:

Volunteer your time

Approach the product team and offer to take part in any side projects related to a product that interests you. Of course, this will have to be done when you’re not doing your regular job. Take any task that they give you and do it well. 

If you show that you’re motivated and willing to learn, they might give you more and more product-related responsibilities. Make sure you keep track of everything you do. You never know which skills will be seen as valuable and useful when you’re applying for product manager jobs in the future.

Become a product expert

Learn everything you can about a certain product and become the customer support specialist and contact person for that product.

On top of answering customer questions about the product, you may also be able to collect feedback from the customers. You can then bring ideas to the product team based on that information. This will let you show that you’re someone who understands technical product details, can listen to customers’ needs and clearly explain those needs to the product team.  

This path isn’t only useful if you’re in customer support; that was only one example. Wherever you’re starting from, figure out a way to get involved. Show that you’re skilled, smart, hardworking and interested in becoming involved in product management. You might get the chance to be promoted to a product manager role within your current company. If not, this is still a great way to gain the experience and confidence you need to apply for product manager roles in other companies. 

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3. Understand the German market, culture and language

We can’t talk about how to become a product manager in Germany without mentioning, well, German things. It’s next to impossible to find a product manager job in Germany if you don’t understand things like:

  • What kinds of products will and won’t be successful in the German market
  • Cultural factors that influence business processes 
  • The way teams communicate and collaborate 
  • How to speak German

While all of these points are important, none of them will matter without the last one: speaking German

Communication is a huge part of a product manager’s role. Among other things, they often need to have technical conversations and then translate information for non-technical business people who are involved with the product’s development. 

Knowing the German language will ensure that you can understand and express every idea in the clearest, most efficient way possible. And, we hate to break it to you: No matter how skilled or smart you are, you probably won’t even be considered for the position if you can’t speak German. 

Lingoda can get you there

If you’re not sure that your German is strong enough to get you hired as a product manager in Germany, we’ve got you covered: Lingoda offers 24/7 online learning with native-speaking teachers and an expertly created curriculum. You’ll get the real-world German skills you need to be successful in a product manager job in Germany. Check out your options or start your free trial here.

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