When you get pitched by your dream company

If you have skills in the IT area, landing a job may seem like the easiest thing. But what if you’re looking for THE JOB?

I was one of those people who were content at their job. I loved the project I was working on, and was part of a great team. But about one year ago I felt the need for a change.

My background

But let me start from the beginning. I am a textiles engineer re-trained as a product owner in the IT sector. My first job experience lasted thirteen continued years and it was the one that paved my way to product ownership. I liked the role so much that I even took my Agile Practitioner, Product Owner and SCRUM Master Certifications to make it official.

At my first job, I had navigated through all the departments and multiple roles, and I have to admit that towards the end of my time there, I was feeling very comfortable. Maybe a bit too comfortable…

And then, the Covid-19 pandemic hit. At least at first, there was this period of uncertainty and anxiety. The company I was working for was providing services for the textiles sector – that was terribly hit – and was less in the position to invest in their research and development departments. At the same time, I was flirting with the idea to manage other projects, to learn new things. I felt I was at a point where I had to continue developing my skills.

career plan

Looking for a change

I was looking for a company with genuine product development and a sense of stability. RomSoft was the number one company on my job hunting radar, as it seemed from the outside that it was one of the local companies that fit the profile I was looking for. But at that time, there were no opportunities for me at RomSoft, so I started looking elsewhere.

One multinational company approached me with a proposal for the role of product owner in the outsourcing area, where I had the opportunity to work for a big international brand.

For me it was a good occasion to consolidate my theoretical knowledge in the product ownership area and at the same time it was the perfect opportunity to witness first-hand what it’s like to work in an outsourcing company.

In the meantime, as we are fortunate enough to work in a sector where opportunities come in abundance, job offers never ceased to pop-up in my e-mail. I was surprised to see that my skills and experience were sought by some of the biggest IT companies (both local and multinational). But I decided I was very well where I was, and if I were to make a change again, it would be in the product development area, not outsourcing.

My moment of serendipity

About one year after this change, I received an invitation to discuss a job opportunity from RomSoft. It felt like the universe or fate or whatever you choose to believe in, had decided to throw at me the challenge I was looking for. A little bit later than expected, but better late than never, right?

So I pressed the YES button the very next instant, as my research had already been done.

Why was I set on RomSoft

I have to admit that I had done a bit of stalking through the LinkedIn profiles of people who were working at RomSoft. One thing that I that interested me was how much time they had since they were working there. And a lot of people had between 5 and 15 years with the company, which was quite impressing. For me, this spelled stability. After all, we are humans, and we can’t deliver our maximum potential anywhere, before checking those basic, security needs first.

More than that, I’ve had the experience of a workplace with a high personnel fluctuation and it was mind-wrecking. I wouldn’t like to go through that again.

What I also liked at RomSoft was that they had a product development approach. As I was saying, I had done my research long before receiving this job offer. So I knew bits and pieces about the medical purposed software products developed here, and even came across some beautiful visuals created with Office Timeline – the flagship product of the customer that I’m currently working with.

Lastly, I liked how they were proactive when the Covid-19 pandemic hit, and how they tweaked one of their products (EMIM) to help people find their medicine at the nearest pharmacy.

How it feels being on the inside

I don’t want to embellish things. I would just say that my expectations were outpaced. Here’s what I found on the other side of the fence:

(1) A smooth onboarding, with lots of help from the other members of the team. I felt like I belonged here from day one. I took over my BA/PO tasks at my own pace, without any pressure, which helped me understand my role and become better at what I do.

(2) In the product interaction area, things were exactly as they were supposed to be. I can honestly say it’s the first time that I feel that indeed, I am doing product ownership. The workflow and processes feel so familiar and so close to what I’ve been learning and preparing for all these years.

(3) The relationship with the client is awesome. I admit that I was coming from an area where the client relationship was more rigid and formal. And I kind of expected the same thing here. But that was far from reality. In our project at least, this relation is very cordial, almost family-like, and it helped me relax and concentrate solely on the best product outcome.

A message to the non-IT graduate out there

I think that if you want to become a business analyst or product owner, a predisposition towards research and analytic thinking is very much needed. You have to be curious and proactive.

But also, I think a freshly graduate person would find the domain very challenging. You need to have a certain maturity (not only in the work field, but also biological). You need to understand people, products, and technologies. You need to have very good interpersonal skills and a bit of self-confidence. And in this case I think that it’s best if you see it as a process, and work on your theoretical knowledge as you go through more roles and departments before putting your product ownership hat on.

One more thing

There are all kinds of opportunities in the IT industry. You don’t have to be a software developer to fulfill a key role. But you do need a lot of work and perseverance. Knowing what you want – and working towards it – will open the right opportunities.

The reason I took on the challenge to speak about this was to share some insights on how my career roadmap took form and the mind-set that guided me through my journey. If this can inspire other non-technical people to pursue a career in IT, I would see as mission accomplished.