I have 5+ years experience as a PM. I do not have a CS background. When I interview for new jobs, my technical skills/understanding seem to come up as a shortcoming. Should I do a coding bootcamp to make up for this? Should I just read some books (which ones)? Am I just applying to the wrong jobs for me?
TOP 22 Comments
- Lero Labs / MktglyVd32moreThese boot camps are useless. Real experience is the best. Can you interact more with engineers and understand what APIs, micro services, and CI/CD mean?
- I know about all those things. I understand what they are, what they’re used for. It’s not really the job of the PM to say whether or not something should be built with, or will require a micro service, for example, but I feel like in interviews, they’re looking to see if I’ll bring these things up. Like, if I don’t at least make some suggestions on a few different ways something could be implemented, then I am seen as “not being technical enough.” Although, I could be wrong about what it is these interviewers are looking for. But on this last one for example, the hr person told me they were passing because of this: that I wasn’t technical enough.
- I've worked on teams with bootcamp career changers (in some cases with no college degree) and with recent CS grads from prestigious schools. In most cases, the bootcamp grads were making meaningful contributions sooner and were generally more useful in the first year of employment.
I do think an academic background pays some dividends in the long term, but isn't a serious bottleneck for 90% of junior dev positions.
A year of actual employment as a dev is better than a bootcamp, but I'm not sure where you think that experience will come from for someone that doesn't have the background to pass the screening interviews.
- I only interviewed with people from PM team last go around and in no way did I ever bring up “how”, or was asked to. I was asked, “what concerns or issues do you foresee coming up with engineering for this” with respect to a product recs doc I had worked up as part of an exercise and I sort of stumbled on the question.
- IBM / ProductGksjfoshtnmoreLet’s get this straight, have they legitimately gave you feedback that you weren’t technical enough, or is this just what you are guessing based off your interviews?
- Agree - learn sql because it’s a great tool for PMs to use, you won’t really use ruby/java or whatever a bootcamp will teach you. Get a cloud certification from aws/google. Build a prototype- lots of services to help (Like square space for websites). Seriously, even if it seems kinda easy it shows you’re motivated to learn.
- You need to know how to communicate with devs, plain and simple. Don’t waste money on a bootcamp, start with SQL and take some online classes. Cracking the PM interview has some good insight I to tech skills, but it really depends on the company. So a little of maybe you’re applying to the wrong PM roles. Be able to speak to times you had to make a tough decision based off info your tech team gave you.
- New / Product1C6TMIYou need to be convincing enough in your answers that you have the tech chops and can easily connect with engineers in understanding the problem that you are trying to solve for. You can speak to how you use qualitative and quantitative data to find customer pain points to spell out the “what” and “why”. You can say you believe in giving engineers the freedom to execute on “how”. Technical knowledge is not knowing how to code. It’s understanding systems, architecture, internet terms and the ability to make trade offs on what works best in which scenarios. This is where Product can help provide feedback or guidance to their engineering counterparts
- New / Engjugm74moreAgree with previous comments ^
Domain knowledge is needed. Everything comes down to estimation accuracy and sequencing for project planning in agile/scrum.
If you don’t have “LEGO block” fidelity understanding, you’re at the mercy of everyone else.
I’ve seen this many times.
- Amazon bicamerallFor the kind of knowledge you are looking for, a boot camp won't cover it. What kind of products/teams are you applying for? You should have general domain knowledge in the product you own. To demonstrate in an interview you should be able to speak intelligently about the technology your 5+ years of product covered. Ex: if you worked on retail websites it might be good if you demonstrate that you understand tradeoffs such as if marketing schedules 1000 new images to a page you would require some tech work to address latency.
- If you're sufficiently motivated and have the time, teaching yourself can work, but If you can afford it I think a bootcamp will serve you better. You'll get up and running sooner, can ask questions when you're stuck, stay focused on skills that actually make you employable, and they'll help you with placement.
But do your homework. Not all bootcamps are created equal. Don't go near any that don't publish stats on percentage of grads that get tech jobs within 6 months or a year of completing the coursework.