Job Search

Application Manager vs. Product Manager: What Are the Differences?

Learn about the two careers and review some of the similarities and differences between them.

A career in product management or application management can be both exciting and rewarding. If you’re interested in pursuing a management role in the tech industry, it’s important to understand the key similarities and differences between these positions. In this article, we discuss the job duties, skills and experience required for each role, and we provide insights into the day-to-day work of product and application managers.

What is an Application Manager?

Application Managers are responsible for the planning, development, deployment and maintenance of software applications. They work with software developers, quality assurance teams and business users to ensure that applications meet business requirements and are delivered on time. Application Managers also create and maintain application support documentation, such as user manuals and installation guides. They may also be responsible for training users on how to use new or updated applications. In some cases, Application Managers may also be responsible for managing a team of software developers.

What is a Product Manager?

Product Managers are in charge of a product’s development cycle from start to finish. They work with cross-functional teams including marketing, sales, engineering and design to ensure that the product meets customer needs and business goals. Product Managers conduct market research to understand the competitive landscape and develop strategies to position the product in the market. They also create detailed product requirements and specifications that the engineering team uses to build the product. Once the product is launched, Product Managers track metrics and user feedback to continuously improve the product.

Application Manager vs. Product Manager

Here are the main differences between an application manager and a product manager.

Job Duties

Product managers are responsible for overseeing the entire production process. They work with various departments, like marketing and engineering, to ensure a product is developed within budget and on schedule. In addition to creating products, they also manage the life cycle of existing products, including determining which features to improve and how to market them to current users and potential buyers.

Application managers oversee the development and implementation of software programs. They work closely with application developers to determine what features a program needs and how best to implement them. While product managers focus more on marketing and sales, application managers concentrate on customer support. They provide solutions to user issues and complaints and communicate them to the product manager so they can relay them to the appropriate stakeholders.

Job Requirements

Application managers and product managers typically need a bachelor’s degree in computer science, engineering or another related field. They also need experience working with the type of software they will be managing. For example, application managers who work with enterprise resource planning (ERP) software might need to have experience as an ERP consultant or developer. Product managers might need to have experience working in marketing, sales or customer service. Additionally, both application managers and product managers often pursue certifications to improve their job prospects. For example, the Project Management Institute offers a Certified Associate in Project Management (CAPM) certification for entry-level project managers.

Work Environment

Product managers typically work in an office setting, but they may also travel to meet with clients or attend conferences. They spend most of their time working on projects and collaborating with teams to develop products that meet the needs of customers.

Application managers usually work in an office environment as well, but they may also visit clients’ locations to ensure that software is functioning properly. They often collaborate with IT professionals to resolve issues and provide support for users.


There are several similarities in the skills used by application managers and product managers. Both roles require excellent communication skills, as they need to be able to explain complex technical concepts to non-technical staff and customers. They also both need strong organizational skills to manage multiple projects simultaneously.

Application managers typically need more technical skills than product managers, as they need to be able to understand the codebase of the applications they are managing. They also need to have a good understanding of how the application interacts with other systems, which can be helpful when troubleshooting issues. Product managers usually don’t need as much technical knowledge, but they should have a good understanding of the market and the needs of the customer base.


The average salary for an application manager is $116,262 per year, while the average salary for a product manager is $98,439 per year. Both of these salaries can vary depending on the size of the company, the industry in which you work and the level of experience you have.


Process Engineer vs. Project Engineer: What Are the Differences?

Back to Job Search

ER Technician vs. Nurse: What Are the Differences?