I was wondering if you think it would be wise for me to pursue an Associate Product Management role immediately, or join a company as a software engineer then make a switch?
Hey Ala! Thanks again for taking the time to help me out.
For a little context about me and my current state, right now I work as a software developer at a small boutique consulting firm where I develop software for the movie studios.
I am currently considering a job transition because my ultimate end goal in the next 4 years is to get accepted business school and I don’t feel that I am learning enough new things currently to justify staying here.
Additionally, I don’t love software development (I never have), but I know that in order to be a good product manager or run a business (the eventual end goal), it is important to have technical knowledge.
I have always known that I have wanted to do product management, and was simply waiting to have some software experience before I joined a product role. I know that my background is not in product so it may be difficult, but I think I have enough general knowledge of building products and product management through my past experiences.
With that being said, I have the following questions that I would love to hear from you regarding!
Ideally, I would love to start in a product role as soon as possible. However, I want to be cautious and make sure that I don’t too quickly jump into a role at a company that will not be helping me in the long term. I think that it makes the most sense to work at a very established, reputable company as my next company as I believe the name and credibility will be very helpful for me in the future (in terms of my application, and steps after that).
You’re already thinking on the right path, so you can take solace in that. There’s no reason for you to wait until you’re “ready” because you might end up waiting too long and miss the boat entirely. That’s why you need to jump in with both feet and learn as much as you can with the big companies of the world.
With that being said, you do need to think about the companies you’re looking to apply to and ask yourself what about your experience puts you at the front of the line compared to other candidates.
Your profile shows that you’re lacking in key areas that would potentially lead hiring managers to feel that you’re not ready to do the job effectively with minimal training. It might be an uphill battle to try and prove yourself without more Product Management experience or demonstratable projects under your belt.
But you understand the key point: Joining a larger company will make your career journey easier for future hiring managers.
By coming on as a software engineer and then working with product managers in those companies, you’ll start to see what success looks like and be able to learn what companies value. At that point, internal discipline switches tend to be easier due to the relationships you’ll build along the way.
I’ll point you towards some learning resources that should also help you close your knowledge gap and to understand the rationale of Product Managers and their behaviors. That way you’ll be able to start speaking the language more consciously versus simply mimicking behaviors.
Happy to dig deeper if you have more questions! Hope this helps