As product development takes the center stage, the demand for those with a keen understanding of consumer needs and business optimization skills is witnessing an upward trend today.
Product management is one of the highest-paid fields in India, leading to many people joining the bandwagon and switching their careers to become product managers.
Today, we are speaking to someone who set the example by switching fields to become a product manager with an unconventional educational background!
Join us in our conversation with Nupur Tyagi, Senior Product Manager at Naukri.com, to explore this and other interesting insights about the field and her career journey.
Let’s dive in!
Could you please tell us about your journey so far?
My journey has been very interesting as I have been a part of multiple organizations across domains. As a product manager, I have seen that people usually try to stick to a single domain to gain experience.
However, I feel that being in this role, we have the opportunity to grow in every domain.
I started with e-commerce and then switched to media, FinTech. Then I went to auto tech, and now, I am here at Info Edge. So yes, it has been a roller coaster ride for me.
What got you interested in Product Management?
I would say my creative skills. Initially, when I completed B. Tech, I was not even aware of the Product. I only knew about engineering, development, and testing. That's how I started my journey as a developer, but soon I realized I did not have the zeal for it.
So I thought, okay, let's do something different! Fortunately, my former manager asked if I wanted to try working with Product.
My first reaction was “What is Product?” So, to help me understand, I was offered a three-month probation period with Product.
I was blessed to have such a mentor and manager who groomed me so well. They taught me that in Product management, there is a new problem to solve every day.
Apart from this, product management requires creativity which appealed to me. I'm a very creative person, and I love to sketch in my free time.
In product management, we have wireframing, where you sketch the concept before making it live or go to design and everything.
So this is the one thing that got me interested in Product management.
As you have ventured through several industries, what is the one thing that has not changed? And how has product development differed from one field to another?
One thing that remains constant across industries is how Product managers treat their Products as their children. You have to collaborate with a lot of teams like sales, business, tech team, and so on.
Now if we have to talk about the difference, I would say that the industry experience is the only difference in the journey of developing a product. The thought process of creating an auto-tech product will be very different than that of a media organization as the end user's expectation would vary from product to product.
As someone who has switched fields, do you think there are additional challenges in the interview process for people who transition?
I think that mostly depends on when you have transitioned. With my advanced years of experience, recruiters don’t ask me about my development skills anymore.
But if a fresher with fewer years of experience is interviewed, there is a fair chance that they will be asked about their skill sets. A thorough understanding of the company's product will help a lot, and interacting or mock interview videos can also be a great help.
As someone with a different educational background, what are some challenges you face compared to your peers?
It has been quite challenging. Many organizations have certain requirements mentioned in their job descriptions-they want candidates from premium institutes or at least someone with an MBA degree.
Such criteria can filter you out when you come from a different educational background.
The other option would require you to present a very good recommendation to the recruiter.
The major challenge is to get noticed and recognized.
What does your day as a product manager look like?
My day usually starts with several meetings, as we have to collaborate with many teams that require a lot of brainstorming and communication.
As a product manager, I have to be part of every conversation with multiple teams. An idea can be converted into a smart product but its utility and effectiveness can only be gauged by the product managers.
Plus, if the business stakeholders want to add something new to meet a key objective, it is the product manager's responsibility to brainstorm and develop the right product.
This involves ideation and outlining what has to be done on technical, design, and other fronts to find solutions to any possible challenges.
In short, a major part of being a product manager revolves around analyzing things, giving shape, and form to them, analyzing the outcomes, etc.
How has the field of the product changed since the time you started?
I can't comment on that much because I have switched many domains. But as per my experience, I would say that it's very different for different domains.
For example, in FinTech, where there was hardly a need for a product manager, but now every domain is sort of looking for a product manager.
What are the three things that you like & dislike about being a product manager?
Amongst the likes, the creative ideation and somewhere execution because execution plays a major role.
As a product manager, ideation and execution are equally crucial, since you are the point of contact between the customer and the business. Another thing that I like about being a Product Manager is that we get to be the user’s voice in the industry.
Dislikes, on the other hand, is the execution process is a little tough and time-consuming and requires a lot of communication with different teams, which somehow takes up a lot more of my time than expected and sometimes leaves me with a backlog for the day.
What would be your suggestion to people trying to transition into the field of product development?
I would say that don't lose your essence. With so many things going on in your day as a product manager, it can be very easy to start losing sight of your USP.
Do not be rigid in terms of tasks and take ownership. If you are a techie, and you notice a certain aspect of a product that can be improved, bring it up with the concerned team instead of assuming it is the tech team’s work.
As I said previously, every product is dear to a product manager, and its better performance is your goal. So, that should be the focus.
What has helped you more — your education or your experience?
Definitely experience. When I started, there was no concrete idea about product like in recent times.
Also, there was no specific education for Product Managers, unlike today where we have courses and MBAs that focus on Product Management.
What’s the success mantra of your life?
Success mantra, I would say I focus on my work and let it do the talking on my behalf.
What is In Conversation with?
Seeking an expert's opinion is not always easy, so we are bringing the expert's opinion to you!
In this series, we aim to explore the career journey of people from different fields, backgrounds, and career stages who have tread the path and made a place for themselves in their specific fields.
Join us as we try to understand all about what they do, how they started, and where they are headed next.
Stay tuned to read more such articles.
To get insights into your desired field, send suggestions to firstname.lastname@example.org!