Transition from Web Developer to Product Manager

People often ask the question – How do I to get into Product Management [from being a software engineer, project manager, business analyst etc…]. Patrick Jolley is a case in point of a web developer who recognised an opportunity to move into Product Management and took it.

1. What’s your academic background/training?
I studied Business Information Technology at University. When I started I intended to do the full 4 years and come out with a degree. I soon realised that the life of a student wasn’t for me and left after two years receiving an Higher National Diploma (HND).
2. What did you do before you where a product manager?
I’ve worked for Reed Business Information UK (RBI - UK) since I finished University, initially in software support, then software development and then web development.
3. What inspired you to become a product manager?As a developer I always enjoyed getting involved in the requirements gathering, design and specification stages of projects. SEO and especially usability are also areas I am particularly interested in, so it just seemed like the natural progression for my career. That and the fact that I’d had enough of being a developer!
4. How did you make the move from being a developer to becoming a product manager?
The group I was working in was merged with another area of the business. During this time there was a lot of change, I saw my opportunity and took it.
5. What do you like best about your job?
The creativity and innovation aspects of the role are especially enjoyable. It is also very satisfying to deliver something you feel proud of.
6. What do you least like about your job?Every so often things inevitably go wrong and life becomes very hectic!
7. How do you keep up with the latest technologies?By using sites like TechCrunch and eHub. I also really like the ‘Movers and Shakers’ section on Alexa.
8. Describe your Product Management job in one sentence.I’ll use three words instead. Challenging, varied and rewarding.
9. What’s your dream product to manage?
Haven’t got one in particular – although I think I’d really enjoy the challenge of working for a start-up.
10. What would be the top three attributes you need to do your job?Communication, organisation and market knowledge.
11. What’s the key attribute you need in order to work with the development team?
An English to Klingon dictionary. Seriously – I think being able to trust each other is the key.
12. What are the main differences you have found between being a developer and being a product manager?
I can’t be as hands on with the products anymore which can sometimes be tough when things go wrong or aren’t happening as quickly as you’d like.
13.What do you do when you’re not managing products (outside interests)?
I like to travel, play and watch football, cook, eat and sleep.

Related articles:
From R&D Engineer to Product Manager
Moving from Technology to Product Management to increase business skills
From Software Engineer to Product Manager to Founder of SVPG - Interview with Marty Cagan
Moving from Business Analyst to Product Manager to "Online Product Manager"
Transition from Webmaster to Product Manager via Project Management


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  2. I can be contacted at allaboutproductmanagement@yahoo.com

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