How Do I Become An Amazon Product Manager – Technical (PMT)?

how to become amazon product manager technical pmt

Amazon is a company that has been very much driven by its success by its product managers. These are the individuals which help Amazon deploy innovative products to grow their presence in existing markets and enter whole new modes of business. 

This makes any kind of product management job a prestigious one and – since Amazon realizes the key importance of these staff – one with a rigorous selection process. 

Here, we’ll focus on Amazon’s Product Manager – Technical role, setting out some basic information about what sets the job apart and – crucially – the selection process standing in the way of you starting as a PMT yourself! 

This is just a short article - for more detailed information to help you reach this goal, you should search online for in-depth resources on key topics. This PM interview guide is a great place to start. 

What Is A PMT? 

The variety of different markets and product categories Amazon work in mean that they benefit from differentiating their product manager workforce. 

Standard product managers will work on less technically demanding projects, where it is sufficient for a PM to simply instruct and manage engineers in delivering work which, whilst of the usual high quality and innovative nature associated with Amazon, does not heavily depend upon the systems which implement it. 

By contrast, where developing a product represents a significant technical challenge, a PMT will be chosen to manage the project. These are product managers with sufficient technical knowledge and experience to be able to manage engineers more directly and to dive in and personally help with problem-solving when required. 

The good bit… A PMT requires the full skillset of a PM, but with the addition of formidable technical capacities on top of this. As such, these individuals will command up to a 20% higher salary than their standard product manager peers. This is one reason why many are drawn to the PMT role in particular and many a candidate will try to figure out whether they have the technical prowess to qualify them for the better-remunerated role. 

Selection Process 

amazon product manager technical selection process pmt

The selection process for a PMT job is structurally the same as that for a standard PM (which opens up more prep resources for you). The main difference is – of course – that in interviews, etc, you will receive more and more in-depth technical questions than will a conventional PM. 

The full selection process might vary by location etc, but should look something like this: 

Application Screening – Your resume, cover letter, and any other documents will be screened. Many applicants are cut at this first stage, so it is important to take it very seriously. 

Phone Interviews – Usually two sessions to check your fit for the role and Amazon generally, before taking you further. 

Written Exercise – Done at home and might be about your leadership ability or possibly a technical challenge 

In-Person Interviews – with HR and/or team members of varying levels of seniority. 

Bar-Raiser Interview – a specific interview with an Amazon Bar-Raiser. These individuals are independent of the team you are applying to and supervise their hiring to ensure the high quality of successful applicants. 

Offer – if you are successful, the Bar-Raiser will approve the team’s hiring you and you will be contacted with an offer. 

This is an involved process and the whole thing can take over a month from start to finish. 

Misconceptions 

A common mistake made by PMT hopefuls is to over-focus on the technical aspects of their preparation at the expense of their ability to impress in other areas of the selection process. Indeed, it is important to realize that if Amazon only really wanted a technical specialist, they would have advertised for an engineer, rather than any shade of product manager. 

Instead, it is key to realize that the PMT role does entail the work of a product manager with the addition of more depth of technical know-how. This means that your success in the job – and thus Amazon’s hiring criteria – will be very largely focused on your leadership and management abilities and cultural fit with the company, rather than diving into the nitty-gritty of your coding capabilities or similar. 

Thus, you need to give a lot of time to figure how to present your profile as a leader and specifically how this matches up to Amazon’s 14 Leadership Principles (these will be especially important in your Bar-Raiser interview). 

Flexibility 

amazon product manager technical job


As we noted above, a PMT “simply” adds technical prowess on top of the full set of skills already required to be a conventional product manager. In practice, then, this results in some fluidity between the two roles. Regarding our interests here, this manifests in candidates being able to move back and forth between the recruitment pipelines for both roles. 

Specifically, it is not uncommon for a PMT applicant to make it through selection but be offered a standard PM job instead – with the rationale being that they were a fine candidate in every regard other than having been let down by a slight deficit in their technical capabilities. 

Similarly, those who have already secured an offer as a standard product manager are also permitted – if they receive a green light from their new team – to undergo further selection to see if they can become a PMT instead. Amazon is forgiving here in that, if the hopeful washes out of the additional PMT selection, they still retain their previous PM offer and can start work without issue – it is not a gamble where one is obliged to stake one job to try for another. 

This should also be somewhat reassuring for you as an applicant if you are not sure quite which side of the aisle – PM or PMT – you fall on. At the end of the day, as long as you apply and impress in your interviews, Amazon will ultimately make the final decision as to where you should be placed to offer the company the best value. 

Amazon Product Manager Technical Conclusion

Now that you have an idea of the basics, you can start your journey to do your homework and eventually apply to be an Amazon PMT! You will need to seek out other resources along the way, but hopefully, this article has helped provide you an idea of what you will be running up against. Good luck product management professionals!

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