Someone recently asked me why. Why had I made the decisions that I had with my career? I had listed so many different scopes of work I had done and he couldn’t understand why.
Up until three years ago, I used to dream of becoming a journalist. Then I ventured into marketing. Now I’m an engineer hoping to become a product manager. Why the change? To me, it’s actually not that much of a change. While my role in every one of my envisioned jobs technically changed, my goal has remained consistent throughout the years. I want to help others.
And maybe that’s because I’ve gone through a lot. Growing up wasn’t the easiest in a struggling family but my community helped me through those years. That’s something that stuck with me.
In any case, I began my exploration in journalism. Here, I found that I loved creating new ways to share stories and developing those stories online allowed me to take my first steps into coding. The product on a page depended on so much more than just words. Engaging readers and pulling them into my writing through new tools became my purpose.
My excitement for strategizing content naturally led me to marketing which enabled me to take products I loved and effectively channel them to others. Working at Congresswoman Anna Eshoo’s office at the same time that I was marketing at a female-empowerment publication, I witnessed the power of content. And the power of harnessing that content with research-based representation to consumers. Conveying data about products and ideas, and even people, depends on so much more than just slapping words on an ad.
But I always yearned to understand the actual development of the products that I continuously rave about. I found that knowledge of a product from the ground up is my personal key to that extra level of engagement. Engineering fit here perfectly. And working at Facebook for three summers, I had the chance to work on products for over two billion people in a company whose mission I really believed in.
You ever use the camera in your Facebook post composer? Yeah, I built that. And that is pretty dang cool to say. It’s even cooler seeing others actually use your product and knowing that you’re helping build a more open and connected world.
Throughout my journey, I’ve come to realize that I don’t love one single aspect of a product. I love every part of it. I’ve always had an idea of myself as a product manager and my experiences have only amplified that dream. I want to be a part of the ideation and development, working with data scientists, marketers, engineers, designers, legal teams, etc. I want to help my team fuel their work with the same passion that I have for the products I work on. I want to improve product experiences by better understanding myself how single decisions drive user metrics.
So much goes into building even the smallest features. And to me, that’s beautiful.