Hi, I'm Jennifer from EntryLevel. EntryLevel helps you learn and get experience so that you can get hired. And today I'm joined by Modesta, one of EntryLevel's previous students.
Modesta received a product management certificate with us and got an internship or not internship, but like you said, you're working part time and doing so many cool things. But we'll get to that.
So, Modesta, do you want to introduce yourself?
Hi, my name is Modesta and I'm calling from Nigeria.
And yeah, I got an internship for six months after an EntryLevel course and I kind of got to my portfolio that I created for EntryLevel towards the end of the course.
That's awesome. I'm so excited to hear more about your story.
So let's just jump right into the questions. My first question for you is tell us your story.
What was your learning journey like?
Okay, I think I'll start with what motivated me first.
So I kind of got interested about products earlier this year because I've been working behind products as a social media manager. I've been behind products like marketing them as finished products. And I kind of got interested in tech and I want to know more about technical predators and I want to know not just about how to market it as a finished product, but the ideation and all of that.
And I got really interested in it, but I wasn't able to pick up any of the courses because some of them were quite expensive.
So earlier this, I think around April May, I kind of got this scholarship from Ingressive for Good and they are collaborating with EntryLevel to give a beginners and product management course. And I kind of tried out.
I didn't realize I was going to get scholarship and I did and the cost was quite enlightening. It was very easy to assimilate as someone doesn't have any tech background whatsoever.
It was quite easy to learn because not only would you be getting lessons, but you also get some insights from the product manager that is already doing the job. And there's also some reading materials provided for you, links to reading materials for you to read up on your own and just get more ideas.
It was very easy to assimilate. I actually think that kind of I'm having a background in marketing already made it easier for me to just get on with the course.
And the first course I've ever completed ever in my life before, I usually start courses and then halfway I just get tired and get demotivated but EntryLevel made it so interesting that you never get demotivated. You just want to see it through to the end.
That's so awesome because I took a product management program with EntryLevel too before I got hired here. And it was also the first course that I ever finished just because one, I wanted my refund and two, the structure, it unlocked every few days so I was like, oh, I have to keep up.
Yes. The unlocking part, I think that's the best part.
You're just looking forward to what's going to be next. All of course is just everything but this one. You just don't know what's next. And after you're done, we want an adventure.
That's such a good way of thinking about it because it really makes learning fun.
Okay, perfect. Thanks for sharing. I love hearing your learning with EntryLevel, but I'm wondering, did you learn anything outside of EntryLevel too?
Okay, so I think the EntryLevel course I don't think the EntryLevel course is complete.
I think it's just to give you an insight of what product management is about. But it's not going to make you become a product manager.
You become a product manager after you've done learning the course and then you start making your own researches and start working on your own mini site project on your own.
EntryLevel encouraged us to learn more about coding. HTML, CSS and SQL. Just have basic ideas.
I think one of the biggest things about EntryLevel that I love the most is that it tells you that you don't need to have any of this experience to be a product manager. You don't need to be a UX designer to be a product manager. You don't need to be a developer but you need to just have basic knowledge of what they entail.
So it's kind of promoted that and that got me hyped up to learn. It took off that age, that pressure that I need to be good at it. I'm becoming better product manager.
So I took some basic courses. Is it okay to call other courses?
I took some basic courses on Alison for like basic coding courses. And then I'm currently enrolled in a Google course for project management because I don't think there's any on Google.
So I'm currently enrolled in one now. And I just do no basic coding and know more about Agile because the course also told us to read more about Agile and Scrum.
So I've been like reading some basic things about this just to add up to what I learned from EntryLevel.
That's awesome. Hopefully these resources will also be helpful for our students.
I know Google also has the UX design program. That's helpful.
Yes, I got financial aid for that once I'm done with my track for project management, I'll be taking that next. EntryLevel told us to create a plan for ourselves.
So I did create a plan for myself and I've been following that. So I think that also helps, like having a learning plan of what you need to learn before the end of the year-end. I get that.
I've been learning that judiciously.
Yeah, it's awesome you have a learning plan because I made some in the past, but I think I got overwhelmed with too many things to learn.
So I'm actually wondering, like, how did you make your learning plan and actually stick with it?
Yes. Okay. So I think we were advised to start with what we - EntryLevel told us to find out what we are doing, like what we like. I think it was a formula from EntryLevel or some other course I did that told us to check and to list out all you need to learn, all you need to know about product management and list your preference from a scale of one to ten.
Find out what you would like to learn, what you already knew, and what you're not really good at, but you think is essential.
So then you prioritize based on your preference, what you think should be more important for you to learn. Even what do you think you like? What do you think you already know and want to improve.
So what you already know and would like to improve is not really that urgent, so you can put that as last.
And what I think is very essential and I'm not very good at, I put that as first.
And then what I think I'm good at, what I'd really like to learn was project management.
I don't know. And UX design, that was second. I did that according to my one to ten and then just arranged all the courses I needed to all the excuse I needed to learn as a product manager. And just did that like that.
That sounds like a really good way to prioritize. Thank you for sharing.
But now I want to go more into the job search process. So what was that process like for you to land your internship?
The job search process was a little bit hard because I wasn't sure precisely what I needed to do or what I needed to have as a product manager.
I didn't do the research. Do I need a portfolio? Do I need to create a separate CV and stuff like that?
Because I had no experience as a product manager, trying to create a separate CV was out of it completely. And I really needed to work with a mentor because I believe that it was also advised during the course that we should find a mentor to work with to get practical experience outside of the courses.
Learning is one thing and what to learn is another thing. So I wasn't even looking for a full time job. I wasn't even looking for an internship.
I was just looking to shadow someone.
So since I couldn't use my CV, nor could I create a portfolio to apply for a job? I said just use the Sprints that I already have in conjunction with the course I already took. Because I created portfolio for EntryLevel, I usually use my normal CV and portfolio for product management to apply for jobs.
So I got this internship by applying for a marketing role. But then I reached out personally to the hiring manager, the president of startup, and I expressed my interest in trying to transition into a product management role because I believe product management encompasses marketing UX developer and all of that.
So I expressed that I could still be into the marketing, but I would just like to expand the role into more product management and I would love to shadow the product owner.
And I expressed that and I shared my portfolio from EntryLevel and they assessed it and they got back to me and they said that it's fine for me to transition to the first week I started. I started out marketing, but then I transitioned into product management in second week and that's how I landed my role.
So I used my experience, my experience in marketing to get the role as a product manager.
That's amazing. I feel like a lot of people don't know that you can use your current role to get the role you want or that you can just ask and just make it known what you are interested in because you never know what opportunities may come if you don't ask.
So you already kind of talked about this, but what you did after EntryLevel was take a few courses and apply for jobs. But I'm wondering how did you get the social media marketing role?
Was it just through your CV?
Okay, now I have to actually just shout out to a platform that a lot of people know.
There's this platform called Vower and I found this app last year on Instagram. So it's where EntryLevel or graduates looking to upskill or like get more experience.
This app provides opportunity for you to upskill and intend to do like random menial tasks or full blown internship.
Through the app, they are connected to potential clients that need help with a certain type or maybe need an intern. And in return, you don't get paid. You get paid in Vower Points. So with the Vower Point, you use it to purchase what you need on the marketplace.
The platform is so great that you could learn a course and still be awarded a Vower Point and whatever course you complete will be under your profile.
So people actually see, okay, this is the courses and stuff you've learned and these are the things you've done. Like, it's kind of like your own portfolio as well. Why are you still linking your LinkedIn and stuff like that?
I've been on that platform for a while and I've seen lots of internships. Then I found this particular internship came along and it was for marketing. I wasn't really interested in doing a marketing role, but currently I'm employed as a full time social media manager. That's kind of marketing already. I didn't want to start exploring a marketing role, but then I did a research and the employer, I found out that the marketing room was for a product.
And I never really worked for a product like a tech product before, digital product before. And I was really interested in that and I just thought, let me apply for the marketing role, let me see how a tech startup operates, maybe give me more insight and maybe also help with the Product Management course that I did.
So during my interview for the marketing role, when I was speaking to the hiring manager/president, I realized that I would actually love to explore this role as a product management role, instead of marketing role.
So when I was done my interview for marketing, I kind of expressed it to them and then I had another meeting again for product management and then that's about it.
So yeah, I found this role on Vower. It's not a typical place to find a job, but…
That's such a great adventure that you had there. So you were interested in marketing but then got into marketing and then used that to get into PM because - so were you working at a tech area before in your social media marketing full-time role?
No, I work for a fashion brand, so it's been pure physical product. I've never really worked for a tech company before.
So you kind of got experience with tech. Working in the tech startup has been also NPM. That's amazing.
Can you spell the platform, the app again?
Vower. That's awesome.
Hopefully our students can make use of that as well because it sounds like such a great platform to get experience.
Okay, perfect. So I just have one more question for you, and that is what advice do you have for other students?
I said the advice I'll give myself a month ago would be take the course or just keep searching for the right course because I was interested in product and I think the first step before you learn anything is the will to learn.
If you don't have the will to learn. Even if you are presented with the opportunity, you won't be able to utilize it.
I think the best advice I'll give is be willing to learn. Are you ready to learn?
Put yourself in the mindset to learn and then take the course. It might seem like, oh, because when I first signed up for EntryLevel because it didn't seem like something I understand it seemed a little bit too much at home, coming from retail, trying to transition into tech.
It was seen like, oh, maybe a little bit too much. But I was like, no, people have been doing it. People have been taking this course and nothing happened to them. It probably is. I can also do it as well. So I just signed on to the platform. And when I first started, it seemed like there was so much videos to watch, like hardly time, too many videos. But I needed to make a commitment, so I just had to be committed.
So first of all, I'm willing to learn. I'm very willing to learn. But then having commitment to learn, being committed to what you need to learn is another thing.
I have to replan myself and restructure myself and make way for this course.
So I think the advice I'll give everyone, be willing to learn and be committed.
Like, just plan yourself, structure yourself. There are lots of things that could affect your journey to learning. It could be life, it could be time, it could be different, it could be school. Lots of things that affecting you.
You need to know that. You need to understand your priorities and you structure yourself properly and just be committed. Because EntryLevel [jumbled audio] - do by being committed. It's a commitment. Like, I expressed earlier in the interview, you have to unlock the next stage. And if you're not committed, you cannot unlock the next stage. And what also really helped us, because it was timed - there were certain durations. And if you don't meet that duration, you would not be able to complete the course. and if you are doing the EntryLevel, I got my scholarship, my money wasn't at stake.
If you're going to an EntryLevel yourself, putting your money at stake, you would probably lose the chance to get a certificate and getting your money back. So you have to be certain that you are willing to learn and you have to create a time for it.
I think that's advice I give everyone, because I don't know what other advice would give you, but I think these two are great, but if they are committed, then you definitely reach your end goal. Because I believe once you've learned what you need to learn, you've already achieved the goal that you set up for yourself.
You can't become a product manager by just watching, by not getting experience or learning. It's what you learn that you're able to apply into your real time roles. And if you're not able to learn, I promise you, you probably won't know that you've been for example, as a product manager.
I had no idea that I already had skills as a product manager that I already started transferring into product management. If I hadn't learned about them, haven't been conscious enough to recognize that this skill that I'm currently applying in this role as a product manager I've always had,
I've probably been applying all my life in different industries and I was a virtual assistant.
So if you don't read and if you don't like, take the courses to understand what you need to know, you won't be aware of your skills or your roles as a product manager.
So if you're going to take the course, first of all, be willing to learn and just be committed to it I promise you, you will enjoy the end result at the end of the day, but you just have to be committed. Is that about it?
Thanks so much for sharing Modesta. That's really good advice because I think sometimes when I take courses, I just take so many because there's so much to learn, but I just really need to focus on one and be committed to it and then can move on to the next.
Like what you're doing with Google's Product Management Course Certificate and then you're doing UX Design after and not both at the same time.
And what you said also reminded me about setting SMART goals. And SMART just stands for specific, measurable, attainable, realistic, and time bound. Have you heard of those goals before?
Yes, I've been using that because I had this problem before where I would just sign up on four or five different courses and I just crash because I couldn't do all of them at the same time. I tried to view the SMART goals, but how it applies more to me - myself.
Now, each month I must complete the course. 40 hours course, I must complete it in a month because obviously I can't commit 40 hours in a week to complete the course in a week. What's more realistic for me is a month. So let's say the modules for example, product management has four weeks. So week one, I do it as week one. The highest of that week one, maybe week two, week two, week three, week four it's a 40 hours course, because 40 hours can be active in one week, but I really just stretch it out to one month.
The highest one and a half months I've been doing that as that has been like my plan ever since I finished the Product Management course. And so far I've completed two other courses since then. I finished a full time eight weeks Virtual Assistant course and I finished my Google Digital Marketing course. The Google Digital Marketing course is among the courses that I crashed after I recognized the SMART goals, I was able to finish my Google course in one month.
And now I started the product management course and it's working. Like having a much more realistic rule and doing one at a time actually works just that you need to know all the classes that you need to learn and just have like a to-do list or something like that.
So I just mark them off, oh, I'm done with this one. So for the UX, I need my time to get accepted. I just applied for the financial aid ahead of time. But once I'm done with project management, that will be next.
And then the next on my list would be to learn HTML and CSS. I learnt the basics now just to go a little bit deeper into it.
So yes, SMART goal has been working.
Yeah, that's awesome.
Thanks so much for sharing this story.
I think what could really help is have you heard of Notion, the note taking app?
Oh yes. I've not really explored it.
I think my role in product management exposed me to some new tools I'm trying to explore.
So yeah, I've had a notion, but I've never explored so well.
Yeah, it's really awesome because I use that to plan out my courses and you can have different views. So I have a page for product management and a page for marketing, and then you can have a timeline view and calendar view to know when exactly you're supposed to take it.
And then if you click on the page, it opens and then you can take all your course notes and upload your projects there. It's very helpful.
Oh really? I'd like to learn more about that.
I'll reach out to you to learn more about this.
I think that would help me a lot to have all of my notes in one place because right now I think that's one problem. I'm having I have way too many notes and they're not really organized.
Yeah, some people put their product management portfolios on there as well. There's lots of templates to get you started and I will link Notion in the show notes so everybody listening can also make use of that. And of course I'll send it to you Modesta.
So now that brings us to the end of our interview. Thank you so much for sharing your story with us.
Thank you for allowing me to share.
Yeah, of course. Your story has been super great. I loved all the advice that you shared.
So if you who are listening, if you'd like to follow Modesta on her journey, you can check out the links to her profile, her LinkedIn profile.
I'll leave it in the show notes or like the YouTube description. And then you can also visit entrylevel.net to check out our available programs, including the product management program.
And as we talked about during the interview, you pay and then you get a refund if you finish. So that actually motivates you to finish.
So yeah, thanks listening and good luck in your learning. Thank you.
Ever considered asking to shadow a Product Manager?
That's how Modesta got her internship as a product manager - she asked for what she wanted.
Listen to her story to hear:
Vower, to get entry-level work experience: https://www.vower.org/
Notion for note-taking: https://www.notion.so/