Coursera's Best

Product Management Overview

Reviewed By Product Expert and Coach Elizabeth Hogue on May 13, 2023
Product management is one of the hottest career paths in 2023 (and likely beyond), but incredibly difficult to break into without prior experience. Before letting all those glamorous Tiktok videos fool you, we recommend learning the basics of the role before determining if it's a good fit for you.

There are tons of super expensive bootcamps and programs that promise to teach all the basics of product management-- they'll happily take your $3,000+ and show you, but they're hoping you won't look into self-service options that are just as good (or sometimes better!). We here at Bridged aren't into gatekeeping, so we'll show you a great hack for learning product management affordably.

Coursera hosts several beginner-level specializations that focus on digital product management and cost anywhere between $49-$80/month. The programs are often several courses and recommend 4-5 months to complete (so roughly $200-$400 for completion), but after comprehensive reviews of several we're confident you could complete in 1-2 if learning every day and on a budget crunch.

Our top recommended specializations in digital product management: 
Each certification has a different angle, which we'll describe in-depth below. The material in each specialization is taught by real industry professionals who were great at explaining the concepts.
university of virginia uva logo vector

Our Top: UVA's Digital Product Management

Best For: Beginners to Intermediate

The program is targeted at individuals who already have some work experience in the corporate world, though anyone can audit or sign up for the class. At our time of posting, more than 150,000 people had completed, and loved the curriculum. The target audience for this course felt more like people who already had exposure to the tech community.

We’d tag it as a mid-level class– but if you're a beginner but looking to learn fast, a lot of the concepts are a quick google search away.

UVA's Covered Concepts

This specialization is great for the wide range of topics it covers. There are 5 courses in the program, including Intro to Fundamentals, Agile Design Thinking, Hypothesis Driven Dev, Agile Analytics, and Team Management Dynamics.

This program was a great sweeping overview of how a product manager interacts with the full range of a product, from design to dev to analytics and the company as a whole.

Our Favorite Course: Hypothesis Driven Development

We've compiled all of the course curriculum into one easy-to-read section in our full course review. But we'll drop the TLDR here.

We absolutely enjoyed course 3 of the specialization-- Hypothesis Driven Development. This course dives into user problem-solving, measurement strategy, and AB testing, all which are our personal bread-and-butter.

UVA's Product Management Specialization Cost

This program was 5 courses, and an average of 4 weeks of work per course. This nets ~20 weeks, though we noticed each "week" only had about 2-5 hours of work. Theoretically you could knock out an entire course in a weekend.

That being said, this is the most expensive of the three product management courses at $79/month. The maximum cost would be the suggested 5 months at $400, but even this is well under most of the suggested product management bootcamps. And the University of Virginia, more specifically the Darden School of Business, is a very prestigious add to your resume.

Prestige Factor: 5/5

As mentioned before, the University of Virginia, specifically the Darden School of Business, is extremely competitive and coveted in the industry. If you complete this class, make sure to put it on your Linkedin as a specialization from UVA. Recruiters will look fondly on this.

By the way, if planning to eventually apply to an MBA at Darden, UVA asks you mention your completion of this course to inform the admissions process.
View Our Full Review of UVA Product Management Heremaryland university logo

Beginner Basics: Maryland's Digital Product Management

Best For: Beginners

This program had the same timeline as UVA, which puts around 20 weeks to complete on the suggested timeline, but the concepts were a bit more high-level.

This specialization would be a great place to start if you have no prior exposure to product management (other than some glamorous tiktok videos, of course). It hits harder on ideation and design, and does not touch analytics other than a course other than some funding principles in course 5.

Maryland's Covered Concepts

This specialization was a great overview for beginners with an entrepreneurial twist. If you're a small business owner looking to break into tech-- or ever worked retail or at something similar-- this may be a great place to start because the concepts are relatable.

There are 5 courses in the program, including Intro to Innovative Ideation, Product Essentials, Product-Market Fit, Design & Testing, and Financial Management. It's not as team/department oriented as UVA, which felt like very real day-to-day exposure.

Our Favorite Course: Financial Management for Product Leaders

You can never make the perfect pitch, but Maryland tries to help.

The concepts taught in the financial management class go far beyond product management. The professor walks you through super interesting concepts like how to validate when a project/product deserves funding, where to obtain funding in an organization, and how to create a compelling pitch deck. We absolutely ate it up.

Maryland's Product Management Specialization Cost

This program is definitely on-par cost-wise with UVA, and we recommend reading up on our full reviews to determine which was best for you. This is the same cost at $79/month, and also was 5 courses, and an average of 4 weeks of work per course. This nets ~20 weeks, though we noticed each "week" only had about 4 hours of work.

To maybe determine which one you like better, it might be worth it to audit the first class of both specializations. This way it's totally free for you to try both, and you can move on and get the certification for your favorite.
View Our Full Review of Maryland's Product Management Hereduke university logo

AI x Human Factors: Duke's AI Product Management

Best For: Intermediate, Advanced or Existing Product Managers

This program is tagged "Beginner Level," but that really means you don't need experience with machine learning or artificial intelligence products. It is not a beginner-level product management program.

This specialization is not focused on helping new product managers to learn the ropes-- it's designed to demonstrate how to product-manage in these industries effectively. The courses focus exclusively on ML principles and do not feature basic product management concepts. For example, there is no mention of agile, analytics, design or team management.

Duke's Covered Concepts

This specialization was a great overview of machine learning and AI. If you're a product manager in SaaS or ecommerce looking to switch to a trendier industry, this would be a great place to start.

There are 3 courses in the program, including Machine Learning Fundamentals, Managing ML Products, and Human Factors. As current product managers ourselves, we absolutely adored this specialization and found the classes incredibly interesting.

Our Favorite Course: Human Factors in AI

Human factors has been a popular niche masters program for years, and just recently peeking into mainstream discussions. In fact, I almost entered a human factors masters at the University of Texas many moons ago. It would have been a lot more expensive than this intro course.

Human factors is essentially the study of how to make a real-life product intuitive to a daily user, but in the real world. Usually this involves products like cars, airplanes, computers and physical things. We loved the AI tint on this class, and think it's a great intro to the field. PLUS, putting a course with human factors from Duke on your resume is definitely a way to upskill and stand out.

Duke's AI Product Management Specialization Cost

This program is more affordable than the other two options at only $39/month, but as we mentioned before, it doesn't cover the basics of PM. We think you could easily complete the program in two months or less.

We'd recommend this class to established/associate PMs, or as a stackable certification on either UVA or Maryland to prove your aptitude and interest for the industry.
View Our Full Review of Duke's AI Product Management Here

Hacky Trick: Auditing

While UVA and Maryland cost $79/month, Coursera does a great thing for education by making all the material absolutely FREE to audit.

If you have a learning budget at your current company, or are dedicated to upskilling your career into product management– we recommend completing the program and getting the shareable certificate from the established university (GET RECEIPTS!). This will help make your Linkedin and resume more searchable to recruiters who may be looking for specific keywords and programs. 

To audit the program and simply learn the material, this program is completely free! Thanks Coursera! We always recommend auditing the first course of a specialization for those who might be unsure of the concepts. To audit, simply click "Enroll for Free" and click "Audit" on the bottom of the second step. Voila, you're in!
screenshot showcasing coursera auditing capabilities for university of maryland's product management specialization


Check out our full write-ups of each class for a breakdown of positive and negative reviews. We took reviews into account when we were writing these, so they all are net-positive and all average above 4.5 stars.


The product management specializations hosted on Coursera offer comprehensive and affordable ways to get product management experience without spending thousands on a bootcamp.

Here at Bridged we are extremely skeptical of any bootcamp or program that costs you more than a thousand dollars. We are huge fans of stacking micro-certifications to achieve the same career results, and are dedicated to helping you find a job in the most affordable way possible. Stick with it (and us)!
View our Product Management Job Guide Here

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