Need advice-Switching from Engg. to Product Management

comScore fchT27
Dec 18, 2018 32 Comments

I would like to switch to Product Management, but really feeling lost and confused ☹️ Would appreciate if fellow Blinders can provide some feedback:
1> Should i focus on Leetcode if I need to get into Google or Microsoft?
2> I am interested in Cloud technologies but do not have any experience with Azure, AWS or GCP. Should I spend time and take Azure, GCP certifications?
3> I am on H1B visa expiring in 2020, with approved I-140, so would be eligible for extension. In current scenario, should I switch or stay in my stable, secure job?
4> I have been reading a lot about general Tech news and trends. I feel like as a PM one needs to be aware of market trends, innovations and what competitors are doing. Is this useful at all in interviews or am I just wasting my time?

I have been a SWE for 4 years and SWE manager for ~4 years. Couple of engg. internships before that. So I would say combined total of ~8 years of Engg. experience.

Bachelors in Comp. Science from India and Masters in Comp. Science from US Public University.

Current TC is $130k in Portland.

I have come to realize that I like solving business problems and user pain points, and not too interested in the engineering aspect of it. I also do enjoy engaging with stakeholders and clients. I am really interested in Product Management...and would love to join Microsoft or Google.

I have read Cracking The PM Interview about 3 times, have created my own frameworks to solve product design, estimation and behavioral questions.

I have honestly not done any Leetcode so far and I don’t really program everyday at my current job. Basically my programming tools are not that sharp right now.

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TOP 32 Comments
  • Why is there a common misconception that PMs benefit from Leetcode? PMs need to be technically aware/empathetic, not actually technical.

    1. No
    2. No, just research
    3. Not sure
    4. Yes absolutely
    Dec 18, 2018 10
    • Yea no problem. Happy to continue to reply.
      Dec 18, 2018
    • Walmart.com klick!
      @cornerstone how do you become a PM? It looks like every PM opening needs past PM experience. It’s like a circle.
      Dec 18, 2018
    • Microsoft PizzaMan
      Become a PM by having an engineering education with a business mindset and a sense for product design
      Dec 18, 2018
    • comScore fchT27
      OP
      @PizzaMan...mind replying to my questions in the main post? Thanks!
      Dec 18, 2018
    • @klick it’s hard. Make friends with a PM in your org and shadow them. See if it’s for you. Make it known to your manager that you want to be a PM. Otherwise, start as Jr PM somewhere (probably a downstep) then work your way back up.
      Dec 18, 2018
  • Google BMoreland
    You make less money as a PM vs SWE. Something to keep in mind if you care about you comp.
    Dec 18, 2018 3
    • comScore fchT27
      OP
      Yes, good point. One of the reasons for only targeting Microsoft and Google is that they offer good, competitive compensation for PMs, even if its less than SWE. I don’t see myself being a SWE forever.
      Dec 18, 2018
    • Google BMoreland
      Get an MBA if you can. Much easier to switch to PM if you go the MBA route.
      Dec 18, 2018
    • comScore fchT27
      OP
      Thats too much investment of time and money, with no guarantee of returns. So, not considering MBA route right now.
      Dec 18, 2018
  • Amazon / Eng smsn sns
    Amazon could be good choice. switch as sde and take internal job change.
    Dec 18, 2018 3
    • comScore fchT27
      OP
      What about getting hired directly as a PM?
      Dec 18, 2018
    • Amazon / Eng smsn sns
      Low probability.
      Dec 18, 2018
    • comScore fchT27
      OP
      🙁 ok, good to know. Thanks!
      Dec 18, 2018
  • Compass / Eng
    FUPayMe

    Compass Eng

    PRE
    Google
    FUPayMemore
    Switching from engineering to PM will be a cake walk.

    You already have domain knowledge.
    You already understand how developers and development works.
    And it’s an absurdly simple job compared to engineering.

    Enjoy being one of the only PMs in your org who has a clue what to do.
    Dec 18, 2018 2
    • comScore fchT27
      OP
      Well, thats encouraging 😄 I think getting a PM role in Google and Microsoft would not be that easy. However, any thoughts on my questions in the original post?
      Dec 18, 2018
    • Your team PM must suck. I'd refrain from making sweeping comments.
      Dec 18, 2018
  • Microsoft whoAmMe2
    TLDR
    Dec 18, 2018 2
    • comScore fchT27
      OP
      @whoAmMe2
      8 year SWE, stable job, decent pay.
      More interested in Product Management type jobs at Microsoft or Google.
      Been preparing for PM interviews, but kinda lost - 4 questions at the beginning of original post....please spare a moment 🙂
      Dec 18, 2018
    • Microsoft whoAmMe2
      You can easily make a switch to PM with your yoe. Keep in mind that you won’t be hired at the higher PM level or you need to show that PM skill set. I would recommend reading cracking the PM interview.
      Dec 20, 2018
  • Booking.com / Product monkey 🐒
    I did the move from Dev to PM. I did it inside the same company as getting hired in another company as a PM without experience is near impossible, unless if it's a small startup.

    I saw many other colleagues make the move, but they went back to being Devs as they didn't enjoy the PM work.

    While the PM has some unofficial authority over what developers work on, PMs get this authority by Knowing more about the product needs and the non-technical challenges.

    They gain their knowledge by doing tens of meetings every week, and doing analysis, and research about the topic they manage.

    You have to know if you gonna enjoy doing this for the rest of your career or not. Also it can be a step back in your career, as maybe you are a good dev with a promotion waiting you a year from now, but once you switch to PM (or any other job), you are starting from scratch, your other PM colleagues will be much experienced than you are, and the promotion spots are more likely to go for them. So plan well. Know what you want.

    Considering MBA, honestly don't waste your time on it now. Just try the job, if you like it and find that you need to apply for the same position at other companies that require MBA, then go for it.

    Another thing, PM work is not as fulfilling as Dev work. Devs build stuff, and see their products grow. I found this very fulfilling as a Dev. As a PM, my dev team handles that while I'm at all these meetings.
    Dec 20, 2018 1
    • comScore fchT27
      OP
      Thanks for sharing your thoughts. Appreciate the insight!
      Jan 8
  • Jet.com / Product
    ecomVet

    Jet.com Product

    PRE
    Amazon
    ecomVetmore
    Far easier to transition into a PM role from an engineering role within the same organization or company. Especially if you have a good relationship with your PM counterparts. I have test driven engineers looking to switch by having them write stories for a feature and doing other random planning work in partnership with their engineering manager.
    Dec 18, 2018 1
    • comScore fchT27
      OP
      If i switch within my current company, my TC would be lower ☹️
      Dec 18, 2018
  • Amazon SpicyFiend
    MBA is the best bet tbh. It’s a good degree to have and will pay off. Otherwise just join a smaller company as a PM
    Dec 18, 2018 1
    • comScore fchT27
      OP
      Hmm you are the 2nd person to suggest MBA. But I have seen the PM job descriptions at Google, MIcrosoft, Linkedin etc. and most of them did not require MBA.
      Dec 18, 2018
  • Capital One ikl611
    Did you end up switching? What’s the effect on H1b / green card?
    Jul 24 0

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