How to Transition from Software Engineering to Product Management


Thanks to Product Gym, I managed to land three product manager job offers.

What Got you Interested in Product Management?

I studied computer science/engineering in college and I was always really on the entrepreneurial side of the tech industry with some VC internships and early stage companies. After college, I went to work for Lyft; engineering was my background and mostly all of the jobs that I had. I started really getting into product more when I spent some time starting my own startup in New York. During that experience, you dive right in and do what a PM does; work on a product from scratch. Being a co-founder is doing the same thing, but on a greater scope. I found that working on all of the different aspects of product and putting something together was extremely enjoyable, and also tied all of my experiences together.

I was always interested in understanding users, how we can get a product out to them, understand their problems and figure out how technology can simplify their lives. My core interest was always in tech and I started my career as a web developer in Telstra when I came to Australia. After that, I moved inside the company as a networks engineer and business analyst. That’s when it piqued my interest in understanding what sort of problems our internal users face and how as a business analyst/product owner, I can solve their problems through technology, prioritization, and all of the other things that product managers have to do.

After Joining Product Gym, How many Interviews Were you Averaging a Week?

I was applying to 20 to 30 roles a day, but because Australia is a small market, everyday you could get about 10 to 15 jobs. I initially applied to everything on a regular basis on all the new openings that come up. Each week, I would be interviewing with four to five places minimum. That is obviously much less compared to what some of the other candidates go through in the U.S.

What Words of Encouragement do you Have for People Looking to Transition to Product Management and/or those Currently Going through the Job Hunt?

A couple of things I would say is product management is a career where the product manager will not know everything. Like in my industry itself, it’s a transport industry and I was completely new when I joined. There were so many things that I didn’t understand, so it took some time for me to understand the industry and how the career works. For those currently going through interviews, you can always relate whatever experience you previously done to some of the tasks in product management. Show your motivations through the interviews to progress, but having said that, the key is to practice for interviews and apply to as many companies as you can.

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