In February 2023, I too was affected by the #techlayoff wave. After getting over the shock and sadness, I took the opportunity to rest and think about what to do next. I quickly realized that I didn’t want to continue in marketing. After 10 years in marketing and then Growth, I’d had enough and wanted a change.
I looked into a number of possible career paths. I discussed them with my friends and network. I listed the tasks I enjoyed doing, versus those I no longer liked. And I considered my personal constraints. Finally, the conclusion came quickly and naturally. I decided to retrain as a Product Manager. And to do so, I applied for Noé‘s one-month training bootcamp.
Why Product Management?
On my final list of potential career paths, I hesitated between Data Analyst and Product Manager. Despite my interest in Data-related professions, I put this option aside. The transition would have been more laborious. And the Product Manager job appealed to me more for various reasons.
First, a strong desire to no longer feel at the end of the chain. I wanted to get closer to the users and to follow product development from A to Z. Despite courses in user research at business school, once I was in the job, the marketing teams I joined didn’t talk much to users. I received information indirectly, via Google Analytics or my manager. Our decisions didn’t take user experiences into account, but our perceptions or marketing objectives.
The motivation to dedicate more of my time to solving problems. My previous missions were to find solutions to achieve company objectives. It didn’t matter what methodology was used or the source of the problem. Speaking of methodology, it was often non-existent. Or I was promised that I would apply Sean Ellis’ methods to my team, but in reality this didn’t last long. When I found out more about the job of Product Manager, I was delighted to learn that the profession relies on several methodologies recognized in the industry for problem-solving.
Finally, the opportunity to work with new teams, developers, and Product Designers. I’ve always been lucky enough to work with very friendly Sales teams, and I can’t complain about that. But, after a while, I came to know their problems and needs inside out. Even if I continue to work with sales and marketing teams, I’ll have the opportunity to work directly with new professions.
I joined the class of June 2023. I’d like to share my experience with you without compromising the confidentiality of Noé’s content.
First of all, the bootcamp structure followed the Double Diamond methodology. In the first two weeks, we had Discovery-related classes. The following two weeks were dedicated to Delivery. Within these four thematic weeks, each day was unique, focusing on a specific topic. There was no time for boredom or routine. Mornings were dedicated to theory and afternoons to practice. With this structure, Noé tries to get as close as possible to a product roadmap cycle.
And, the common thread running through the first three weeks was our case study. In groups of 4, we worked on Getaround and their problem of the correlation between the physical quality of cars and the repeat rental rate. The afternoons were devoted to practical exercises to make progress on the case study. In particular, we interviewed real Getaround users, analyzed a range of data, prioritized our solutions and created prototypes on Figma… At the end of the three weeks on this case, we presented it to Getaround’s Product Managers, who then shared their feedback with us.
It wasn’t only classroom work. For three mornings and two evenings, we had meetups with Product Managers from Malt, Doctrine, Skeepers, The Forks and others to ask them our questions.
Finally, I can’t forget the great atmosphere of our class and my work group. We were a group with excellent parity and very diverse yet complementary profiles.
After these four intense weeks, I feel ready to apply for a position in Product Management. However, I’m surely starting this conversion during the worst market conditions. The wave of lay-offs in tech is continuing and there are fewer job openings. I interviewed several recruiters, who confirmed that there were more requests than offers. In particular, very junior or very senior Product Management positions. Faced with candidates who already have professional experience as PMs, my chances are slim. My profile, which is a bit unusual in that I have 10 years’ experience in tech but without an official PM role will be difficult to sell. But I don’t despair.
To be continued.