Job Postings, Mind Maps and Missing Skills

I spent a little time today looking at some Product Manager (PM) job posts. Not because I’m thinking of moving anywhere anytime soon. I actually love my role as PM at TestRail and have no desire to change it for the foreseeable future. You never do know what’s around the corner though, so it pays to keep an eye on things… I think of reviewing job postings as a form of primary research also, since it often leads me to some decent career insights. Today being a case in point.

As I reviewed the various postings (not a huge number of them, since I had filtered for remote gigs), I started to take some notes about the various desired skills. Sketching them out in a mindmap, as I customarily do with such information. My first cut of the mindmap is below. It’s very rough, and very me focused, so I wouldn’t pay too much attention to it. Your mileage may vary in terms of the actual skills; though the approach to career development I think is fairly solid. In essence:

  1. Look at relevant job postings for the role(s) you’re interested in.
  2. Document the required skills in some meaningful fashion.
  3. Identify the ones you’ve got and the ones you’re missing.
  4. Plug the gaps where possible to do so.
  5. Repeat as necessary.

What I took away from the exercise was that I’m ok with most of the items on the list, with a couple of glaring omissions:

  • Data science and numbers generally aren’t my strongest areas. Fortunately, there’s plenty of places on the web I can go and learn about those. And for the most part, when number crunching is needed, you can Google a solution fairly easily. Having an intuitive understanding of the why of numbers is a somewhat different matter though, and one that likely requires a bit more effort.
  • Innovation… I think you might reasonably arrive at the conclusion that innovation is a function or byproduct of all the other items on the mindmap. But I’m not convinced the argument would stand up to scrutiny. So until proven otherwise, I’m going to treat it like a discrete skill, that can be learned. My question is where? And how?


The obvious answer is “on the job”. Which is all well and good, but still requires some thought about where the best (least risky) areas are to devote my efforts to. In any event, just identifying it as an area on which I need to work is a step in the right direction. In the meantime, if you have any thoughts on the subject, please do let me know about them!

Thanks for reading. Feel free to reach out via a comment or on the socials if anything resonates.


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