This is an excerpt from a blog post I wrote for Toptal’s official blog. Read the full article on Toptal, or have a peek below.
Software products exist in virtually every sector, from healthcare and fitness to food and finance. As such, the demand for product managers is broad, and the average product manager’s career path may span several industries. Traversing domains means serving diverse sets of users, each with specific needs and behaviors, and navigating discrete regulations, competitors, best practices, and technologies: Data policies and protections for medical software or an investment app, for example, will be markedly different than those for an e-commerce or entertainment platform.
Switching industries is beneficial to individuals seeking to broaden their experience. It’s equally beneficial to clients and companies—a product manager who has worked in more than one domain can offer innovative perspectives and drive real improvements. Wide-ranging business domain knowledge is especially useful to organizations or technologies that serve multiple sectors.
As a product manager, you need to be able to quickly gain an understanding of the key aspects of a new field in order to serve your company. While learning on the job is inevitable, you will likely need basic domain knowledge during the application or interview stage to land the role. Even when this isn’t the case, you’ll still want to have the skills to lead your team and effectively shape products from day one.
This means that being a fast and curious learner is one of the most important assets you can have.