How important is a bachelor’s degree?

Hi Ladies!

I worked in product development and design in the fashion industry for about 6 years, and was in the industry all together for 9. I am now looking to transition into product management in the tech industry, and while I'm working on certifications to really show I can apply my knowledge to any type of product be it clothing or software, I am a bit worried about one point on my CV. At this point I only have an Associates Degree in product development from a fashion school called FIDM. While the education itself was really helpful in my career, the degree is a bit useless and is not transferable to state schools with the exception of maybe some gen ed. classes. Ideally I would like to find a full time job and go to school on the side since ultimately Im tired of my degree holding me back, but everywhere I turn I keep seeing that PM positions are highly competitive and I dont stand a chance without a bachelors. How true is that? Is there any hope for my to find a job without one?

If it helps I'm moving home to the SF Bay Area (grew up in Berkeley) so I'll be in a good place as far as networking goes. Since I moved out of state during Covid however I don't qualify for in state tuition yet, I have to be home for a year.

teresaman's profile thumbnail
Tagged the various Product communities for you, and also, @tanmayisai who may be able to shed light on this as she's a product manager in SF!
amandaholub's profile thumbnail
Thank you!
annamiller's profile thumbnail
Hi Amanda, thanks for sharing your experience on here. I'll share a little from my own experience if that helps. I worked in Project Mgmt for years and found it difficult to transition into Product even with experience working on digital projects. I would say that the best way to go about entering Product is to:1. present your resume in a way to is tailored to the role even if you haven't done Product Mgmt for digital products, you have applicable experience that can be worded to match the job requirements2. apply for Junior/Intern/Apprentenship positions in Product3. apply to startups with Product roles but in roles at Customer Support & Implementation - you can move into product much easier when you are already working for the companyAbout degrees, I don't see how they are helpful because the experience you require to be a PM is all on the job or by founding your own startup. That's been my experiences so far! Hope this helps provide some more direction for you.
amandaholub's profile thumbnail
That is super helpful thank you so much!!
tanmayisai's profile thumbnail
Hi @amandaholub! It's great to hear you're interested in product! A bachelor's degree is not required at all companies for product but most currently do put it in their requirements. You could start with finding product internships & apprenticeships (Pinterest does this).Another approach could be to look for something in the domain you're familiar with, like any fashion related products.There's also product adjacent roles if you'd like to try those and then move into product like program management, product ups and product analysts