My First Job as a Product Manager


In November of 2021, I was on the verge of leaving my job to go back to Apple when my employer surprised me with another opportunity — a conversational AI product manager. I had no idea what I was about to get myself into, but I proceeded anyway. After a few interviews with the team I would be working with, I was offered the job and accepted.

7 months later, I have gotten my feet wet, and feel more confident in my role. As I reflect on my experience and on the world of product management, here are 3 things I love about product management and why I am excited to keep growing in the profession.

3 Things I love about product management:

  1. If you look at product management job postings, you’ll see a lot of them say something like “be the mini-CEO of the product”. This is the first thing I love about product management. You have to OWN your product. You are responsible for knowing what is going on now, what happened yesterday, and where you are going in the future. It is up to you to decide the direction of the product — this requires having good judgment based on the market, your company’s needs, and using data to drive the product forward.
  2. Speaking of data! I graduated with a degree in biology with a published thesis in bioinformatics where I used computers to model 3-D protein structures. That project required that I be organized and analytical about the data I was collecting, but even more importantly, it required that I use the data I collected to make decisions and draw conclusions. Product management is NO different. Every decision you make should have some data to back it up and I love it. As an extremely analytical and “left-brained” person, this speaks to my soul.
  3. The ambiguity of the profession. Product managers don’t have a consistent, defined role. If you Google “front-end developer”, you will find a pretty consistent definition, but product management isn’t like that. It is dependent on the product you are working on and where you work. Some people would hate this lack of clarity, and I really struggled with it in the beginning, but I grew to appreciate it. Just like running your own company, you may take on roles that you didn’t expect, so you have to be able to adapt and face new challenges every day. I get bored quickly with repetitive tasks, so this quality of product management satisfies me greatly.

Why I am Excited about the Future:

As my short experience has taught me, even the smallest things can be considered a product. When you open an app like Instagram, the whole app isn’t just a product, but the discovery tab is a product, the reels tab is a product, the profile page is a product, the user stories, the comment sections, the camera, and its filters, and so much more! Product management is so very diverse — especially in tech.

I am excited about the future because I learn new skills and face new challenges daily that help me grow as a professional. I am not only learning about my current product’s specifics, but I am learning about, what I like to call, the Template for managing a product.

The Template includes the broader concepts of product management like learning how to collect user data to iterate the product, how to build a marketing campaign to educate users on the product, and how to work with a dynamic team made up of developers, project managers, and designers. For me, the Template includes all of the skills that I will be able to take with me as I journey through my professional career as a product manager.

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