Hustling to Land a Role in the Tech World
16 February, 2022
Entering the Tech Space as a New Product Leader
Over ten years ago, before I was in the tech industry, I was in the telecom industry. The pay wasn’t good, and I wanted to pursue a more fulfilling career. I had a few friends that worked in tech, and one introduced me to a CEO of a small but promising startup. In order to get the role I wanted, I made a proposition to the CEO to consider me for a ‘trial position’ within the company.
Hustling Into a Position When Underqualified
Taking a Shot:
When my friend introduced me to his CEO colleague, I knew that I needed to take my shot into this new industry. The company was trying to hire someone, and I knew that I may be able to leverage my way in. I told the CEO that I would work free of charge for him; in return, I gained experience. At the end of my trial, the company would decide whether to keep me on or continue hiring.
Deciding on an MBA:
At this same time, I was trying to figure out if I should pursue an MBA. Many product leaders benefited from an MBA as it increased their hireability. I knew that it could benefit my career, but the opportunity with my friend and CEO presented itself before I had time to complete it.
In the current climate in the tech sector, it is not easy to land a product position. These roles are highly competitive in comparison to when I began my career. The field is highly sought after, and applying for an MBA broadens the scope for many candidates.
Instead of taking the education route, individuals can usually find a way to achieve their goals by working hard and pushing themselves. My experience with hustling was overall beneficial, as I landed a role in a position I was, on paper, unqualified for.
My recommendation to those looking to get into product management is to either pursue the education or begin seeking out companies that are hiring. Ask these companies if you can act as an unpaid intern for that position while they find someone to fit that role. You gain experience and potentially a full-time role while the company earns free labor at the end of the day. I’ve learned that this works better at startups than larger enterprises, as startups are more willing to scale and pivot.
The Importance of Ownership
- If you decide to hustle into a product position, be aware of your intent and ownership. Many companies, startups especially, place a high value on the amount of ownership that team members take.
- Ownership can be related to many different activities. The most understood are tasks that a manager handed down to you, but I think it is equally as important to pursue projects outside your department. If you feel you can make an impact or help make an impact, it is worth your effort.
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