In the world of software engineers love to talk about their stack. Your stack is the combination of tools, apps, and utilities that power your widgets. (ex. a MEAN stack runs MongoDB, Express.js, AngularJS, and Node.js). The combination of tools is greater than the sum of the parts.

In isolations the tools are useful, but when they’re combined in just the right way they can create something that can transform our lives.

I see this same idea in the world of work. More and more startups are working to help employees and employers identify and certify skills that are meaningful in the workplace. This has been common in software for a while, where it is pretty clear what you need to learn in order to become a frontend or backend engineer. But for areas outside of software engineering, there don’t see to be as many formal competency stacks.

So I took a stab at compiling some “stacks” based upon questions I get asked a lot:

Product Management Stack:

Product managers have to be good communicators and clear/concise thinkers. They have to be able to translate business needs into technical specs (and vise versa). PMs are someone who can think through user flows, direct designers, help developers cut through hurdles, and make sure shit gets done within budget.

The hard skills that matter for this job:

  • excel
  • sql
  • sketch / photoshop
  • omnigraffle
  • Communication (written and verbal)

Marketer Stack:

Marketers have to understand human emotion and be able to tell a story that causes people to take action. They have to be able to capture someone’s attention and compel them into action. They need to think about the ad that someone clicks on to the landing page they land on through the email sequence they get over the first 7/14/21 days. They also need to be able to distill the data from a marketing campaign into an actionable set of numbers. 

The hard skills that matter for this job:

  • excel
  • sketch / photoshop
  • Marketing analytics (Google analytics, Mixpanel)
  • Copy writing
  • Ad networks (Google Adwords, Facebook Ads, Tabola)
  • Email marketing tools (MailChimp, Convertkit, Autopilot)
  • Landing page optimization (Optimizely, Instapage)

When thinking about the skills you want to invest the time and effort into learning it is helpful to think about the stack you’re working on. 

What skills do you have? What skills do you need? Where are the gaps?



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