Q: "What kind of a background do I need to have to break into product management?"
Entrance into product management is background-agnostic as long as you have the chops to balance the business, tech, design & customer wheelhouse.
While prior experience in certain areas like tech can prove to be advantageous, professionals from all kinds of backgrounds break into product & do exceptionally well.
This is because most of the decisions taken in product are based on tradeoffs between the 4 aforementioned factors and each of those represent a forte that an incoming Product Manager might already be equipped with.
For example, most product decisions mandate thinking about business profitability & sustainability. Professionals that exude business acumen and come from MBA, consultancy or finance backgrounds can kick off their PM careers by leveraging this strength.
Similarly, technical feasibility is important for any feature decision. Professionals that already have programming knowledge (developers, designers etc.) are able to do well in assessing how pragmatic the solutions are.
For Usability, design sense is a requirement making UI/UX, front-end developers etc. ideal candidates to penetrate that.
For Customer Value, professionals with a selling mindset excel in this scenario. Common job titles through this route are Sales, Customer Success & Customer Support.
As a Product Manager, you might be asked a lot of questions during an interview. One of them includes technical questions. Here are 4 types of technical questions that you might come across.