Within a month of coaching with Product Gym, I managed to land my first offer. By the end of the second month, I had a total of four offers.
I have a background in human biology. That was my major in college, and I was going to be pre-med up until I wasn’t. I coded in high school; I took AP Computer Science and thought it was a natural transition. So, I brushed up on my coding, did some internships, and landed a job at a startup. From there, I moved to a much larger company called Booz Allen Hamilton, which is a 25,000 employee global consulting company. While I was there, I worked on digital projects, federal firms like the FDA, NIH, and NHLBI. So, still keeping a healthcare focus while working on digital solutions. I learned a lot of agile development and programming, and that’s where I really got my feet in the ground of how modern software is delivered.
My first exposure to Product Management was at Booz Allen. I was working with one fairly closely for the first time, who also happened to have a technical background that could step in and code, but was mainly the Product Manager of the team. I got exposure to it, and started to see what he was doing. I just liked the role that he played on the team, as opposed to the role that I was playing on the team.
It’s night and day. Product School is really focused on teaching you what product management does, all of which you can find online in a 30 second Google search. Product School took six weeks to just go through the job, and had nothing to do with how to get the job and once you get the job, what do you do? It wasn’t helpful with landing Product Manager interviews, nor was it helpful having on my resume. I didn’t get any noticeable uptick in traction just by saying I went to Product School.
I think it took me two weeks to see my first interview. At first, I was landing about five interviews a week. But as I started working that muscle memory and applying more, and just getting better at interviewing, I think at my peak, I was doing 15-20 a week if you start including phone screens. I have an Airtable spreadsheet that can prove all this. It got pretty absurd for a while, but it was good. It sort of felt like a game after just doing interview after interview. You’re just checking the boxes, you’re tweaking some things, seeing what works and what doesn’t, and just fine-tuning yourself.