PM is not a failed Dev by Vidhi Jindal

Automatic Summary

Transitioning to a PM Role in Tech: Why It's More Than Just Coding

Hello everyone! Are you intrigued by tech industry roles that offer more than just coding? Or maybe you're someone who wants to make a transition to a PM role from their current profile? You've arrived at the right place. In this article, we're delving into life beyond coding in the tech world and why stepping into a PM role could be your next big move.

Women in Tech and The Quest for More

Just to paint you a picture: currently, there are 4.4 million software developers in the US and only 11% of them are women. Unfortunate but true, 50% of women leave tech roles by the age of 35. One reason for this exodus? They crave for more than just coding.

The Tech World: More Than Just Coding

Coded software forms the fundamental skeleton of any tech company. However, success isn't just built on that alone. Consider the various other roles that teams play to achieve a company's success - like program managers who interact with customers and scope out work, or designers who ensure optimal user experience. To explore beyond the realm of coding is to see and appreciate this complexity.

Becoming a Program Manager (PM)

Transitioning into a non-coding role is a journey. One that's fraught with hurdles, including bias and stigma within the tech industry. Despite this, the role of a PM can provide career satisfaction and enable meaningful contributions.

Responsibilities and Key Skills of a PM

  • Vision: Define the vision of your program, prioritize accordingly, and strategize on how to achieve project goals.
  • Analysis: Utilize your skills to be data-driven and deduct inferences from problems.
  • Leadership: Support the development team and guide the development of features.
  • Open-minded: Be willing to listen to ideas, remain open to suggestions, and avoid biased thinking.
  • Communication: Encourage clear and open communication within the team so everyone feels included.

Transition Timeline

Here's an outline of key steps you can follow to transition to a PM role:

  1. Assess your strengths and career aspirations: Consider the skills you might need to improve on and cultivate a growth mindset.
  2. Connect with your network: Reach out to friends, colleagues, and connections over different platforms.
  3. Shadow or make a horizontal shift: Gain firsthand experience of the PM role within your current team.
  4. Update your resume: Highlight instances where you've acted as a PM or led certain features.
  5. Preparation: Utilize resources such as books, blogs, and YouTube for interview prep.
  6. Maintain a growth mindset: Be willing to learn on the job.

In conclusion, remember that there's no one-fit-all solution. What matters is pursuing what excites and satisfies you professionally. As you step into the world of tech, don't forget Albert Einstein’s quote: “Everybody is a genius. But if you judge a fish by its ability to climb a tree, it will live its whole life believing that it is stupid.”

Video Transcription

Um Hello everyone. Uh Welcome to the session PM is not a fail there. Um I'm pretty sure if you are into tech industry or venturing into it, you would have met multiple P MS as of now.Um They must be wearing multiple hats from describing product details or sketching out road maps or presenting it to stakeholders at some point. So if you are someone who wants to transition to PM role from their profile or someone who want, just want to know what A PM role is. Um I would say you have landed in the right session uh to put the right perspective, please note that there are 4.4 million software developers in the US and only 11% of them are women. However, 50% of women leave the tech roles by the age of 35. As for the study, the tech world is not inclusive enough and uh they do not empower women to stay. Um One of the reasons that was mentioned in the study that why women leave the tech industry uh is that they want to do more than coding. But what exactly is more than coding? They they, they want to stay in the tech industry but they do not want to do much of the coding.

Um So, coding is worshiped in the tech world people boasting off about how much leaked code they are grinding on linkedin is a norm now as software engineers, uh we tend to think that the success of every tech company relies only on the software engine, but uh we should dig deeper and think about the program managers who are gathering with the customers and scoping out the work.

It depends on the design designers to ensure the best user experience and so many other roles that are working together collectively to achieve a company's success. After a few months in the SG two roles, close to eight months, I thought deeply about what I wanna do in the next five years. Like, is this something that I wanna do for the next five years? Do I want to do coding all day all in? It's not like that I didn't like coding. It was like I wanted more than coding. So then I started exploring the rules in tech world and I questioned like why tech um because I wanted to prove that my master was no joke. Just kidding. It wasn't the reason. But I knew that I love being a technical person and genuinely like to read, learn about the technology, but I wanted to do more than coding. So to establish my credibility on the topic. Let me introduce myself. I've been A PM on a jaw team at Microsoft for close to one year. Now, I graduated with masters in specialization in machine learning from Georgia Tech and joined as an SG two right after my graduation, which seemed a pretty perfect rule uh just after my graduation. But sooner or later I realized that OK, I wanna do more than coding. So I chose to become A PM.

It took months to make a transition and to actually decide that I want to make a transition because the stigma and bias against the less technical rules within the tech industry forced me to stay in a non rewarding sweet job. I always knew that my passion and my interest always aligns with the program management. But that stigma around the less technical rules forced me to stay in my sweet job. But I did make a transition and here I'm here. I am loving my job doing what I really passionate about by this session. I want to communicate that our rules and our contributions are valuable. No matter what our title is together, we should aim to create an inclusive environment and empower everyone to discover that their rules and enable them their best work and provide the career satisfaction that they are looking for. Mm Moving on to the next slide. Yeah. Um If you have followed until now means you too are looking for something more than coding. Maybe your purpose to transition should be clear. It shouldn't be like that. OK? I don't wanna do only coding or uh uh maybe I don't like the tech work or running away from the coding work. It should be clear that OK, that these are my skills and these are the skills that I wanna grow. This, this is what I see.

My future is to help if you could be passionate about PM roles. Let me share a glimpse of responsibility of a technical PM at Microsoft Microsoft has two types of P MS now, one are known as technical program manager, which I am. And there is another which is known as PDM or product managers who are on the customer facing side. There's another role PM technical which Amazon offers in which they have uh mentioned it specifically that they're looking for program managers or project managers who can work in a technical overview. So this is a very basic slide for the responsibilities of A PM. So as A PM, you should know every detail of the program or the product that you are managing uh as per the internet, you should be the mini CEO of your project or the product check in is the requirements. You should be clear, you should be able to derive clarity and release the ambiguity and drive confidence in the requirements and the functional requirements of the features. Third, you should be very sound with the program goals. What exactly you are looking from the goals, how it is helping in the long term or short term and how are you going to achieve it? Prepare the road map, put that vision into the picture, sneak peek.

So you should always tell the stakeholders like what is happening in the project. You should let them always in the know that OK, this is working, this is not, this is the basis is going, this is what we want and how the customers will react. Analysis, analysis is one of the important part of it. Like I I would say when you are in the product manager role, that that role uh requires a lot of analysis, like look for the market and customer signals and actually evaluate that uh irrespective of your product manager or a program manager, you should be able to evangelize your product or program that you are leading, you should promote it.

You should uh you should get the feedback on at the right time so that you can improve and improvise the product's development. Here are some of the basic skills which can enhance A PM. For example, in vision, you should, you should be able to define the vision of the program and prioritize the worker accordingly. Uh And you should be able to know how to deliver an MVP, how to actually march towards those goals. Then you should be analytical like your skills, you should be data driven and you should have a inferential abilities, you should be able to deduct inferences from the problem, then definitely the leadership because you have to support the development team, you have to support their uh work items or you have to support all the features that you are leaving unbiased thinking.

You should be open to ideas and a very good listener because uh being a pm day in day out, you will be listening to a lot of ideas, what can be developed, how they can be developed. But you should be open to ideas and you should not have a bias thinking towards any particular field or any particular person per se communication. You should be very good in communicating. You should, you should let you should create an environment where everybody feels inclusive enough to communicate their concerns or their ideas. If these are the skills that you have, then you can be successful PM. And I would say a successful suit too. But as as I mentioned, these skills as human skills, not the PM skills because I think that these skills are required for anyone to success in their careers. But I'll buy they are in my slide because um for A PM, you should definitely uh work on the skills and they will be very helpful if you have it. So uh if you are looking for the transition, I would like to give you a little bit of comparison if you are coming from a sweet background. I would like you to think about the future, like what exactly your future looks like?

Do you want to be responsible for the product and its development? Like how the development is going or do you want to be the someone who is own the product or writing those services? Do you want to think about the new features or do you want to implement, about implement those features? Can you prioritize the feature to, to to march towards the MVP? Can you improvise the improvise according to the changing marking, trends and requirements? Can you bring the alignment for the design options and put it in front of different teams and bring that integration into life so and communicate goals and mi milestones with the teams very clearly. The focus for our PM is on the what and why part and how should be left upon with the development team. So if you have thought that OK, this is something that you wanna do and how I did and how someone should do it. So this is a little transition timeline that I prepared for myself. First of all, you should analyze uh what are your strengths? What are your car, uh career aspirations? Do you wanna be in those shoes where you are actually leading the product or do you wanna be in the shoes of uh our developer? So because it's completely fine to not know or have it have everything when you are looking for transition.

But as you are making transition, you should evaluate the skills you might need to work on. For example, if documentation or technical writing is not your forte, do you want to work on that? Will you be motivated enough to grow your skills for writing skills and communication?

If they are required in short, are you willing to learn on the job? Second is to reach out to your network, family, ex colleagues or linkedin or through different platforms. So if you have decided that, OK, these are the, you have analyzed this, these are the strengths and the career aspirations and you want to move forward. So I would, I would suggest to make a horizontal shift or shadow in your current team. That way you'll, you will be very much uh good with the engineering side and it will be easier for you to actually manage the program that you already know. Then once you have find out the opportunities now it's time to update your resume. Do not think that you are, you are coming from the background and you do not have a PM background. So you do not have put to anything. I would like to just go into your ex experience and look for the opportunity where you worked as a manager or where you worked as a person who defended the features, then just prepare for the interviews, the blogs, the books and youtube is a very good resource for the interviews.

Uh lastly, you should have a growth mindset. You have to think that, ok, this is the job and you have to keep learning on the job. Uh, in the end, I want to leave you with the quote by Albert Einstein that everybody is a genius. But if you judge a fish by its ability to climb a tree, it will live its whole life willing that it is stupid. There are skills areas, very feel motivated and passionate, identify and work towards them to achieve a better career satisfaction. There's no point in being attached to a job title or run towards and I would say run towards what makes you feel good. Um Thank you. Uh This is all I had and if you have any questions, please let me know. Um let me just quickly check the check. Are you wearing earrings? Yes, I do uh wearing uh earrings. Um Yeah, these, these are lot small little earrings that I'm wearing. Ok. I think uh I do not have much uh questions. Yeah, I was because I was, oh, there was sound oh, sorry, sorry for that. I didn't check how would the opportunities be for uh a technical person. So when I try to switch, um I would say the people around you should be very inclusive. Um uh So when uh when I actually thought about the transition, I started reaching out to different managers and uh I set up the informational rounds first to know whether they are inclusive enough to accommodate a fee to A P transitioning to PM role.

Because that is something which is really important. If you are transitioning, it will be very difficult because uh uh as a we, we work on individual as a, as an individual contributor and we work on the features that are given to us. But when you switch as A PM, um you, you, the support from the manager or from the team is very much important because in that learning phase, um you need that support and uh I would say that opportunity wise, it is, it is plenty because uh companies actually want PM who are technical enough who can dive into the code and work on it.

So I say there are multiple opportunities on linkedin and try to find in your company first or I would say they're in the same team. I hope I answered your question, Sinduja. All right. Bye. That's good that you liked. Um All right. Uh You guys can connect to me, uh connect with me on linkedin. Just search with the general. I think I, you'll find me easily otherwise I'll post my linkedin uh link here. Uh Thank you. Thank you everyone for joining.