It took me more than four years to transform my career: from a Telecommunications Engineer to Product Owner. At 25 years old, when I decided to start my IT adventure, I had no experience related to the field, was in the process of building up specific skills and my motivation was flying high. Hard work paid off eventually! How and what helped me – discover my career transformation tips!
While keeping clients happy, Product Owners motivate tech teams. This source of inspiration made me want to manage the entire product cycle as a PO. It wasn’t easy as I had to make a career change and overcome many fears, but due to my resilience and flexibility, I kept learning and growing.
After going through several beneficial professional stages, at the moment, I am part of a 13-member Agile team that develops two web applications and two mobile applications, in Pentalog. The apps ensure the communication between service providers (such as Electricity, Plumbing, Locksmithing) and their end-users. My daily duties include but are not limited to preparing the backlog, communicating with the stakeholders, creating tickets for next sprints, working closely with the developers and Scrum Master, etc.
My background, in a nutshell:
I graduated from The Technical University of Moldova (licensed in Telecommunications) and I have a Master’s Degree in Engineering and Engineering Activities.
- 2011-2015 – Network Design Engineer
- 2015-2016 – Quality Assurance Engineer
- 2016-2018 – Business Analyst and Quality Assurance Engineer
- ian. 2018 – mar. 2018 – Proxy Product Owner
- apr. 2018 – present – Product Owner
Four Steps, One List
After four years spent in the Telecommunications field, I realized it wasn’t the kind of job I wanted to have for the rest of my life. I wanted more!
The turning point came when my little sister started a job as a Quality Assurance Engineer. Based on what she told me, everything seemed so exciting: the environment, the people – friendly and open-minded, international clients (Europe, USA, Asia, etc). It was then when I decided to make a career change and acquire all the necessary skills to make my way in the IT world.
My career transformation started with a good attitude and a long-term plan.
# Step 1. Boost Your Skills.
I started with a personal assessment: I knew some basic French, my English needed improvement, and I didn’t have any IT experience. On the other hand, I had a technical background and relevant work experience as a Network Design Engineer. What to do next?
I started taking private English lessons and began my IT training to become a QA. My sister told me what to read, how to learn, and what IT events to attend. It was tough as I also had to keep my full-time job.
Moreover, self-imposed limits were the worse: “I’m not good enough”, “I won’t be able to make it”, “I have to learn a lot of stuff”, “I will never achieve it”, etc. I had to break through and work on my best version.
Tips to speed-up growth:
- Discover useful resources & tools.
- Learn English! You can’t make it anywhere without it. Take private lessons if you have to.
- Knowledge of a second foreign language is an advantage. Consider learning French or German.
- Don’t be afraid! You are the best!
# Step 2. Start Small. Think Big.
Believe me: with no experience, finding a job can be difficult! I got onboard in the emotional carousel of hiring: the enthusiasm of sending email applications, some hope that filled the void of waiting, followed by the despair of rejection. I even quit my job and all I did for five months was to study hard for my future QA job.
I finally made it in at a small company in Chisinau, where I got hired as a Quality Assurance Engineer. First rejected, then called to attend a job interview, I responded to Pentalog’s challenge and became a Junior QA. I was very excited! My team was amazing, the project was very interesting, and I learned something new from every person, every day!
Tips to get a job fast:
- Write a flawless CV. Ask for a second opinion.
- Do some market research. Send your CV where you think you would fit.
- Search for vacant positions based on your career desires.
- Prepare for the interviews. Search for tips on YouTube or the internet.
- If you are rejected, don’t give up!
# Step 3. Don’t Lose Focus!
Once part of the IT world, I began to form a clearer image of the way things work and my career aspirations grew even more. My hunger for IT knowledge was insatiable!
In less than a year after getting a QA job, I started dreaming about becoming a Product Owner. I created a small “To do” list with all kinds of resources.
Pentalog’s career development process encourages IT specialists to upgrade their careers. Any hard-working proficient QA receives support from Senior Product Owners and the Center Delivery Managers to become Business Analysts, Proxy PO or any other role they might desire. I appreciated the time they offered me to study and, in parallel, I worked on enhancing my communication, creative thinking, decision making, and problem-solving skills. PO practices became daily occurrences with the help of my mentors, managers, and team-mates. Together, we focused either on concrete issues, such as strategical thinking or diplomacy or towards specific learning goals or skills. We talked about work/life balance, self-confidence, self-perception, and how to influences the stakeholders.
Tips to stay on course:
- Create a list of PO responsibilities. Google Job References for PO vacancies.
- Look for answers in the articles from the internet, books, and other learning tools.
- Get involved in the project, try to do more than is needed.
- Step back from your actual position. Take a look at the entire image!
- Communicate with clients and gain their trust.
# Step 4. Meet Your Next Best Version
My biggest fear was facing the clients. Nowadays, meeting them and trying to understand what they need has become one of my biggest satisfactions. It’s still challenging but I feel in control and I’m happy to see my suggestions applied. No more fears!
The striking proof of my development came with the involvement in “Tech Women” – a support community from Chisinau for the ladies in IT. Often, I walk the stage to inspire dozens of women – the next QAs, POs or developers that make our lives easier. To stay PO-fit, I usually attend all the training opportunities provided by Pentalog.
Tips to own the place:
- Learn from experienced POs. Pay attention to the way they work, how they discuss with the clients, how they conduct meetings and learn the processes.
- Enroll in IT support programs or camps.
- Get involved in extra activities (outside your work) to make a difference in the community.
I’ve seen my dream come true and I advise you: work hard, stay focused, and think strategically, because nothing is impossible!
Interested in other career paths in Pentalog? We’ve got a wide range of job openings!
Read more about the role of a Product Owner: