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Digital Product Managers in short supply

05/12/2013

The UK's digital economy is continuing to expand, with ecommerce and other industries going from strength to strength and new roles being created across the board as companies attempt to take advantage of this boom.

As this happens, different skill-sets are needed, with the digital project manager a good example of a job that combines various diverse strands within one position.

Businesses are struggling to fill this role, with few people offering both the commercial nous and the digital know-how to take it on.

At EMR we have witnessed a growth in opportunities across consumer sectors for those who can deliver end-to-end product management, so how can workers develop the skills to do this?

Nic Newman, former head of product development at the BBC, points out in a recent blog for the BBC Academy that the role has only been in existence for a few years, particularly in areas such as media.

While product management has "a long and honourable pedigree", its combination with digital skills makes it a completely different proposition.

"The modern product manager is a certainly multi-disciplined person who operates at the intersection of technology, design, editorial and commercial," he declared.

Newman points to the success of companies such as Apple, Google and Amazon in recent years as indicative of how important product management can be - these firms are great examples of how combining technological, commercial and design issues can produce high-quality offerings.

"All too often the interface with editorial, user experience, marketing and sales remains something of a battlefield - with no-one taking end-to-end responsibility for the success or failure of the product," he warned.

Fundamentally product management is about communication and collaboration, skills that workers can certainly develop through learning from senior professionals. People coming from the marketing world will need to brush up on their digital skills, and vice versa, but doing so can be a great entry into an engaging and important job.