During interviews, the first thing you’re asked is- ‘tell me about yourself’ so that is how I will start. I am a recently qualified lawyer, a blogger, and the founder of a community platform where I help people bring their dreams to life! As you can see I am not an engineer, founder of a tech-based startup, computer science/ engineering grad, nor do I have any prior experience in anything slightly related to tech. However, I am someone who likes to go for what they want.
At this stage of the interview, I would most likely be asked ‘ so why are you moving away from Law’ Thankfully I had lots of time to think about this while I was still very much in the legal sphere and planning my exit strategy. Law is great because it gives you a lot of transferable skills, but I decided that I wanted something a bit more exciting. Practising law wasn't going how I thought it would and so I started to explore other things and I came across Product Management not to be confused or mistaken for Project Management, as is often the case.
How did you find out about Product Management? The answer is simple: Google. I have always known that if I did decide to step away from Law, I would want to explore the tech space. Tech is the here & now but it is also very much the future, it only made sense. After doing my googles and taking several quizzes to find out what my career options would be for ‘someone with no tech experience, no computer science degree but a lawyer’ I started seeing lots of things at first telling me to learn how to code in x amount of days, months, weeks and how I would be on the path to a new career in no time.
This process was starting to open my eyes to the tech eco-system and all its moving parts. I was learning about slack groups, boot camps, specialist coaches, project management software and all the communities people had built to break down the barriers to entry in the tech space. I settled on product management because it seemed to fit my personality, experience and interest. At this point the journey got even more interesting, I realised that working in product as the OG’s say is one of those catch-22 situations. You can’t work in product without prior experience and you need the experience to get experience. At first, this threw me and I started circling back through all my various options. However, I read somewhere that a good way to show your commitment to the cause would either be to build your own product or work with someone building a product.
I weighed my options, building my own product would require a lot of time & resource that wasn’t available to me at this point. I decided to work with someone building a product, I found someone within my wider network who was working on launching her startup and pitched myself and the Product Manager role. * I was honest with her about where I was and explained what my goal was, I also offered to help with anything else related to the startup, it is key to always offer value in exchange for value.
After this, I started networking on Instagram, Twitter & LinkedIn to find PMs who could offer advice and just generally share a bit more about the role. One of them was kind enough to answer my questions about road mapping and she sent me some resources, recommended a product community to join and put me forward for my first full-time job opportunity. Another tagged me in a volunteer opportunity on LinkedIn and was open to any questions I might have going forward. *you need people to open doors for you and to give you some solicited advice and guidance, networking is priceless for so many reasons but even more so when you are trying to transition into new spaces.
One thing I did/am currently doing is taking online courses. I haven’t committed to the big boy Bootcamps just yet but there is a really great course on Udemy that has really helped to breakdown the Product Management role & essentially what you should be doing as a good Product Manager, its a bit old but the information is excellent. I will list all my resources at the end of this post.
- Use Google i.e. do your research. You will find out your options are endless, you don’t need to learn to code to venture into the tech space.
- Network & use your existing network
- Be committed to continuous learning
- Be open-minded and see the opportunities, not the roadblocks
- Believe in yourself
- Be willing to invest in this transition- time, money &energy
SOME HELPFUL RESOURCES
- My Guide to learning Product Management. — Yewande gives a breakdown of how she ‘learnt product management’, I actually found the helpful course mentioned above from her list.
- How To Get Into Product Management (And Thrive) ✨ | by Lenny Rachitsky | HackerNoon.com | Medium
- https://www.udemy.com/course/become-a-product-manager-learn-the-skills-get-a-job/learn/lecture/4749518?start=0#questions — Become a Product Manager, learn the skills and get a job. This is the course I referred to above.
- https://productdive.com/ — Product School based in Nigeria
- https://productschool.com/— They host Product Management conferences in various locations worldwide & online. Run a Bootcamp and have an online community & slack group you can join
- https://generalassemb.ly/- They run a product management Bootcamp and have both online & offline campuses worldwide. They host general upskilling events, which are extremely useful for general business life.
- The Ultimate Product Manager Resume Guide | by Clement Kao | Product Manager HQ | Medium — You will need to update your CV
- https://apmmap.co/- A resource hub to help you navigate getting hired as a Product Manager
- https://www.coursera.org/learn/the-business-of-product-management-one/home/welcome — Another course I have recently started so can't review yet.
There are tons of resources I have used but these are some of the most prominent ones, I haven't read any PM books just yet so there are none on this list but do your googles and see what comes up!
I am nowhere near being a pro at this moment in time but I am working on it and that’s all that matters! You can connect with me on LinkedIn.
Good luck with your journey!