Episode 67: Can I Be A Product Manager Without A Technical Background?

This episode is a follow-on of sorts to episode 302, “Not Technical? No Problem.”

This question of “I’m not a programmer – can I be a product manager?” is surprisingly common. Most experienced product managers would say “yes” – you do not have to have been a programmer to be a great product manager. But, it still remains that most product manager job postings include the dreaded “CS degree or equivalent required, MBA preferred.” (We’re not even going to get into the “MBA preferred” part of this.

So, if you’re not technical, what do you need to know to compensate? That’s what this episode (and episode 302) are all about.


Wikipedia articles on the three technical topics I presented:

A great talk from Joshua Bloch on how to design good APIs.

Steve Yegge’s awesome rant from 2011 on how Google is missing the boat, based on his experience at Amazon when it was building Amazon Web Services. (If that link is broken, you can find multiple other copies around the net.)

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