From a Software Engineer to a Product Manager
The journey of last seven years...
Like many people around, I was one of those kids who had big dreams and wanted to build a career in the Tech world but had the least idea of what I actually wanted to be and where to start, when I stepped out of the college. I did my Bachelor's in Computer Information Systems and was looking for an opportunity where I could fit in. “What do you want to become? What are your career plans? Have you started applying for any jobs? Now, what’s next?” etc. were a few of the common questions that I could expect from most of the people I would say hello to. Anybody I would meet had their own definition of life and career. Anybody, I would meet suggested me the goods and the bads, the scope, and the demands. But although I listened to everyone or at least pretended to, I was still confused and puzzled within me to decide what should I proceed with or do next. Eventually, I landed up working as a Software Engineer at Deerwalk, a US-based healthcare company. As I started my career as a developer, my only goal was to develop my coding skills, complete my tasks independently without any help from my colleagues or seniors, and get a few critics as possible on my code reviews. Well honestly, that wasn’t an easy goal for me. I would put so much effort into my tasks to accomplish and yet sometimes it would end up really discouraged. Sometimes my entire codes had to be refactored, rewritten or, sometimes I wouldn’t even be able to submit it. I was growing slowly and getting better at it. However, my only focus was to get the assigned job done. It didn’t really matter nor did I ever realized whether I really had interest and passion towards coding or not. Amidst of all these struggles, I used to always engage myself in various kinds of communication and leadership activities which always helped me to expose and groom my actual expertise, something that I was always interested in and had a passion for. While I was always running to prepare myself as a skillful developer, I never realized what I was always comfortable and confident with. I never ever connected the dots between what actually I was trying to be vs what I am really good at and should have proceeded my career towards.
And then the Project Management part comes into my entire career picture. It was one of my seniors who really encouraged me towards Project Management since he believed I could do far better in this field due to my strong communication and leadership qualities. At first, I thought why should I give up? But as I explored more and got to know more about PM responsibilities and duties, I started building some interests towards it. Never had I ever thought about that! I must say this was truly a game-changer in my professional life. After working for more than 2.5 years as a software engineer, I switched my career and started working as a Project Manager. It was really different in the beginning. But it was really really interesting. I did not feel any pressure, compulsion while working nor ever got bored, even if I had to work more and promise extra commitments. I really started enjoying my work. In fact, I didn’t even feel like I was working. I started exploring many dynamic perspectives and experiences in the software development industry and its culture. Working in the various processes, development methods & environments, tools, channels of people, teams, stakeholders, initiating and leading the teams, etc. really kept me busy, engaged, and always fascinated towards my career. After working for a while as a Project Manager at Deerwalk, I got the opportunity to work at Introcept, as a Product & Project Manager. Introcept is an Australian based startup company. The two P’s title was really overwhelming and completely challenging for me. But having the nature of never giving up, I decided to go for it and accept the challenge to explore more. As a Product and Project Manager, I had to look over the entire project and product and make crucial decisions, definitely with the help of the Founders and their supervision. This is my 4th year running at Introcept and I have experienced so many things within this short interval of time. Introducing optimized processes & implementing it, working with dynamic teams both on-site and remote, collaborating with clients and other stakeholders to build a fine product, running multiple projects simultaneously, short-term & long term- project planning, etc. are few of the many other responsibilities that I hold, which I love and enjoy doing it. Meanwhile, I also completed my Master’s degree in Computer Information Systems as well as acquired two Scrum Alliance Certifications, Certified Scrum Master® (CSM®) and Certified Scrum Product Owner® (CSPO®), This is my 7th year running in the Software Development Industry. Kicking-off my career as a Software Engineer and later switching to Project Manager, hasn’t been a waste of time nor hampered my career anyways. Instead, it has helped me to understand the projects in technical aspects too. One more reason to get along with my development team. :) I must say, it was a good decision that I took to switch my career to PM, for which I have more interest and passion. There are times when I work for more than 16–18 hrs in a single day. And I don’t have any complaints nor feel any burden. I just love doing it and my time just gets passed away without even getting it noticed. Lastly, what I would like to share is, it doesn’t matter if you try yourself out in different clothes. What matters most is you need to find the best one that you like wearing, feel confident and comfortable in. Trying out and experimenting with various jobs to explore until you acknowledge the right one for you isn’t bad at all. There are lots of opportunities around, at least one of them of your interest and you’re passionate about. You just need to open your eyes, explore and give it a try. And believe me, it’s never too late for it. Apart from some exceptional cases, you should never compromise nor settle down with something that you don’t enjoy, even if it pays you well. Experiment and explore but always go for the one that you love doing. Trust me, you will always prosper.
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