Best Affordable (and Free) Online Product Management Courses
Hooray! You’ve decided you want to take a better look into a Product Management career. But, are you ready to take the dive and invest your time (and money) into upskilling? For many people, especially those early in their career or looking to transition, paying for personal development out-of-pocket is common. And if that’s the case for you, it doesn’t hurt to research some of the affordable options out there. Use these to get a nice overview of Product Management and help you determine if it is, in fact, the right career choice for you. This way, if you’re still on the fence about PM, any of the affordable options below can help guide you on whether taking a deeper dive course is worth the investment.
Check out the list below and the highlights for each.
Udemy’s Become a Product Manager is their “most complete course available on Product Management.” It provides 13 hours of on-demand videos, activities, over 100 downloadable resources on Product Management, and advice on what to do when you land your first job. And if your budget is a bit skimp, the $16.99 sale price (your money back in 30 days if you’re not happy) is quite attractive.
Now, this is more of an overview course and may not be suitable for established Product Managers looking to get deeper knowledge or expertise. But, a good affordable option to learn what you can expect from software Product Management.
- Understand the varying role of a Product Manager through different types and sizes of companies
- Understand and communicate customer pain by type and frequency
- Understand the Product Lifecycle and how it applies to every product
This course is for:
- Aspiring Product Managers
- Early career Product Managers
Coursera really does offer a plethora of choices when it comes to Product Management courses. With a 95% “thumbs up” rating, the Digital Product Management: Modern Fundamentals, by the University of Virginia is a nice option. This course provides you with access to video tutorials and tests your understanding with graded work and quizzes. It’s a great starter option to dive into the nitty-gritty of successful Product Management. Here, you’ll get to learn the main concepts in PM without taking too much time out of your schedule.
This is based on a $79 monthly fee, but does allow you the option to audit for free as a teaser. Note: the audit option does not allow you to get your coursework graded. And, if that price is still a bit of a stretch for you, they offer financial aid options.
- Actionable focus to successfully manage your product
- How to use modern Product Management methods
- Manage new products and explore new product ideas
- Amplify existing products
Note: this is just one course in the program, you must take four additional courses to get the full view of Digital Product Management
This course is for:
- Early-career current product or general managers interested in today’s modern, digital-focused Product Management methods
Udacity has a FREE Product Design course, put together by Google. Yes, Google! It provides you with a great overview of product validation, UI/UX practices, Google’s Design Sprint, and the process for setting and tracking actionable metrics. It’s a nice taster if you are looking to transition into PM or are looking to gain a greater understanding of the development process.
It is a self-paced course with great learning content, interactive quizzes, and exercises.
- Learn the best practices and frameworks for product design used by Silicon Valley start-ups over the years for freeNote: Must move on to Nanodegree program for full in-depth understanding, project reviews, and certification
This course is for:
- Intermediate skills-level Product Managers who want to better understand the role of Product Design in the whole product lifecycle
Lynda.com from LinkedIn Learning
Lynda spoils you with just the sheer amount of courses they offer on the topic of Product Management. Their most popular courses for beginners include: Product Management First Steps, Product Management Weekly Tips, and Transitioning to Product Management. In these courses, you’ll get to explore a Product Manager’s roles and responsibilities, how to manage the product life cycle, and how to stand out as an applicant.
These courses can be accessed with a 30-day trial, then $34 monthly (with options for annual price). But, the best thing about these courses isn’t just the price point. They are all short and can be done completely at your own pace.
- Inexpensive options to learn the product life cycle and general overview on what Product Management is
These courses are for:
- Beginner to advanced levels
All of the inexpensive courses above can provide a great overview, allowing you to “dip your toe” before making a solid investment. If you are on the fence, these options should help you to decide if this is the right career for you. And we hope it is! Product Management can be a very lucrative, rewarding, and meaningful career.
Now, You Want to Be a Product Manager!
Once you get your feet wet and feel you want to take the plunge, consider a more in-depth go at training. You may be thinking, “why”? Why invest more time and money into another course? Well, let’s take a quick look at some data.
You, as a Product Manager, will have a wide breadth of responsibilities, and therefore need to possess a wide variety of skills. According to the 2019 Global Product Management Benchmark Report, over 50% of Product Management leaders have received formal training. And that’s not a coincidence. When comparing skill levels of Directors and Vice Presidents versus Product Managers, skill levels rise by an average of 30% and 50% respectively. So, what does this mean for you? Training is key in reaching these higher skill levels and your decision to take a more in-depth course will help prepare you for the journey.
Getting a comprehensive understanding of PM
While all of the courses listed above are suitable for giving you an overview of Product Management, they can only take you so far. They may lack a few key elements that distinguish a self-study course from comprehensive training:
- Expert instructor that can guide your learning based on your needs, tapping into their experience to help you
- Deeper exercises that force you to apply what you’ve learned and receive feedback on your work
- Team exercises that also help you learn how to collaborate, a key Product Management skill, as you’re learning
- Independent certification – comprehensive training should also prepare you for an independent evaluation of your skills so that you can earn a certification that demonstrates you don’t just know facts – you know how to do the job
Investing in YOU
The right course option for you will depend on your current situation. When choosing a course, consider the following factors:
- Delivery method: are there multiple learning styles available? Is there a style offered that best meets my needs? Can I have an instructor with me online in real-time?
- Price-point: it is a deciding factor for many Product Managers. If you feel it’s a high investment, take a look at everything offered/included in the course package and weigh that against the cheaper options. Not all courses are created equal.
- Area of focus: are you looking for something foundational or something more specific to Agile or Digital products?
280 Group has several training options to help you become a phenomenal Product Manager. Each course has been curated by product experts who have deep experience in the field which will help give you the confidence you need to sharpen your skills. But the best part is, each is offered in multiple learning styles to best suit YOUR needs. These include self-study (online at your own pace), live online (online and instructor-led in real-time), and/or in-person. Depending on your area of focus, check out each of the comprehensive courses below.
- Optimal Product Management: a holistic view of Product Management and an in-depth look at the full product lifecycle, roles and responsibilities, core Product Management concepts
- Digital Product Management: iterative customer-led Product Management methodology, knowledge, and practice to deliver digital solutions
- Agile Product Management: core skills and roles of Product Managers and Product Owners, foundations of Scrum and other Agile methodologies
If you’re unsure about which course best fits your career goals, take our quiz to help you narrow it down.
Bottom line—investing in yourself can help advance your career and get you on the right path (early on) to advance quicker, and with fewer mistakes. Chat with us if you’d like to plunge deeper into the career. We’re passionate about everything Product Management and want to help you learn the skills necessary to build products that matter.