Specializing in Non-Specializing: How Changing Roles Helps Both You and Your Company
Product Growth at OutSystems
I’ve been working as a software developer for many years staying with the same company for fourteen years now. This company has put me in front of many challenges as I witness its growth from a small startup to a hypergrowth 1B+ company. I initially started as a software engineer only to move to training, marketing, product, sales, then product again, developer relations, and most recently product growth. What I do is solving problems when there is no solution in sight. Usually, as the company grows, your skills are quickly outgrown. What you know today would not take you where you want to be in six months. As I enjoy changes I like to stay in one role for only six months to a year before I move on. Unlike most people, I specialize in non-specializing.
At some point, we had no marketing case studies available on our website. The ones we had were fluffy and lacked solid information customers were looking for. Back then I wanted to switch to sales, but my CEO thought I was more needed in marketing where case studies had to be written. For three months -- as I was working on it -- I completed 59 case studies together with a copywriter. Working with a copywriter also meant that I had to read several books on the topic to be able to understand how to write great content. In addition, I had to learn the basics of SEO and conversion rate optimization since I believed case studies needed to be found and get us more prospective customers. Three months later, and after ~200 meetings with customers, we had 59 case studies on our web site, and more than 100 case studies for internal use. Our customers, and our product, sales, engineering and marketing teams had a solid knowledge base of customer stories that would help us drive company and product strategy for many months ahead.
Switching to a new role allowed me to change the perspective of how things work in a different department/field. A beginner’s mindset is a powerful concept that explains how as a beginner you know nothing and question everything. As a beginner, you bring in the perspective that someone working there for a while is missing and that is the greatest contributing you can provide in your new role.
Learning a new skill is a vital part of changing roles. It allows you to pursue continuous learning journey and grow both personally and professionally. Your new role encourages you to learn as much as you can. I talked to hundreds of users, recorded and transcribed the calls and tried to find the patterns -- what features were customers using, what problems are they solving, etc.
- No one should stay for too long in the same role. If you stay for too long, you will lose a beginner’s mindset and the ability to question things and ultimately see the truth.
- The company’s priorities change over time, and you should be aware of what they are in any given moment. I latch on what is the biggest challenge at the moment and I offer my help. I am on a mission to help the company further grow, and I take on whatever role I am required to that will benefit the company.
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Product Growth at OutSystems
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