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From healthcare to product management in 10 weeks

Fireside Chat with Somya Udeh, Product Manager at American Kennel Club

Somya worked in healthcare as an ultrasound technologist and wanted to formally make a transition into product management. We sat down with her recently to learn how she was successful in making this transition in just 10 weeks. She did this in spite of a lot of people telling her otherwise.

Read this blog to find inspiration and ideas for how you can plan your own career transition into this exciting field.

A little into Somya's background

Somya is a Product Manager at American Kennel Club. She previously worked in healthcare and also is an alumnus of PMDojo Product Accelerator's Industry Track.

Emotional rollercoaster rise from the start🎢

Back in the Winter of 2020, Somya decided it was time to make a move, to dive into the world of product management. But she recalls that it was a whirlwind journey.

The first emotion she felt was confusion and overwhelm. She didn't know where to begin. Self-doubt started to creep in, and she found herself pouring her heart out to others, hoping to find clarity. Somya's biggest challenge was that she did not see any Product Manager like her.

What was Somya's motivation for a career change?

Somya had been in healthcare for 10 long years. She was itching for something more. She wanted to advance in her career and could not see that happening in her current field as an ultrasound technologist. She wanted to keep working on something new and challenging. She was seeing the powerful intersection of technology and healthcare and wanted to get into product management.

Somya recalls how her biggest motivation in spite of how confused and scared she was, she told herself that she will figure this out.

What helped Somya transition into product management from healthcare?

She recalls how she went to social media like everyone to get a playbook to transition into product management. But, TikTok, LinkedIn, Instagram, and Facebook bombarded her more with confusion and opinions. She also saw that most of this noise was coming from people who did not make hiring decisions. So, in this way, all of that information or opinion was less trustworthy.

She also heard from popular training schools in product management how it could take her 3 years or more to transition given her non-traditional background. She felt extremely discouraged.

She then attended PMDojo's free Q&A Session to get advice from Bosky, Founder of PMDojo who advised her to approach her career transition just like building a product. Somya regarded everything someone told her as a hypothesis that she went to either validate or invalidate. She also joined PMDojo Product Accelerator's Industry Track as this was the best option out there for her to learn and get real experience to decide if she even liked this field. Even if product management wasn't for her, she knew she could transfer these skills to other areas.

💭🧠 Set the time for 15 mins and answer these questions for yourself:

  • What is your bigger "Why" to get into product management? Think beyond superficial reasons.

  • Break down the journey into smaller tangible steps.

  • Identify what things you can do that will give you results. Eliminate those that do not.

How do you decide what level of product jobs to apply for?

If you are transitioning with experience from another field, you don't always have to apply for a junior or associate role. You will find it extremely hard to get through interviews because junior roles are mostly designed for students or recent graduates.

Like most things in life, Somya and Bosky shared how the answer depends on this question in real life. Somya reminded everyone to weigh the risks and rewards of this transition. It comes back to your 'why'. Sometimes you may take a hit initially, but then you work your way back up because you have those years behind you.

Many alumni in PMDojo who had experience in fields such as sales, marketing, business analysis, or project management actually accepted senior product management roles after completing the program. Somya accepted an associate product manager role and then, in a few months, got promoted to a product manager position.

🫶Want to see how PMDojo can support you? We invite you to check it out and join us!

  • Join our product accelerator program that gives you a unique opportunity to collaborate with a diverse and cross-functional team, and launch a live product. Get full-stack industry experience + career support to succeed in your career.

  • Join 1:1 personalized coaching to help you achieve your career goals

How do you set yourself apart in the market?

Somya reminded us how the competition has always been tough in tech. But, of course, it's gotten so much more intense now, especially with the rise of product management being the new trendy field. Everyone wants to get in on it, and you'll see a lot of people discussing it. However, what truly sets you apart is showing that you can actually do the job.

Somya summarized what she did to stand out and be more relatable in the job market:

  • She demonstrated product thinking and the live product that she built in PMDojo

  • She put together a comprehensive deck for the company she was interested in based on everything she learned in PMDojo

  • She emailed the Hiring Manager with the above two assets

The Hiring Manager was so happy to see that Somya was able to see the opportunity to improve her business and decided to hire her as a Product Manager.

Somya reminded everyone looking to transition into product management how building a tangible live product for a real business in PMDojo Industry track gave her a unique opportunity to demonstrate this during her interviews.

✏️ Here are 5 must-know takeaways Somya shared:

  • Work on real problems and build your portfolio

  • Actively show employers that you have what it takes to excel in the role

  • Don't just talk about your skills, prove that you can execute them

  • Join PMDojo

🫶Want to see how PMDojo can support you? We invite you to check it out and join us!

PS: Spots fill up quickly. Apply here: ­­­­If you have any questions, simply join us for a live Q&A Session to learn more.

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