👩🏽‍💻 Student Story: How Lola broke into Product Management

Note: this newsletter article was inspired by EntryLevel's interview with Lola.

I received a lot of emails from you asking to hear more stories of how people levelled up into new roles.

So, I’m going to introduce you to Lola, a Product Manager at Sageplexx Technologies.

EntryLevel's chat with Lola, a Nigeria Product Manager.

Lola finished our EntryLevel Product Management program and received a certificate from us last year.

Within three months of graduating from our program, she had experience building multiple software products and became a Product Manager at Sageplexx Technologies.

When Lola told us her story, we noticed three strategies she used to break into Product Management

  1. Learning the Fundamentals with EntryLevel
  2. Building Practical Experience through side projects
  3. Being vocal and putting herself out there on social media.

Let's dive into how she levelled up into her Product Management role.


1) Learning the Fundamentals 👨‍🏫

When I asked Lola about her first step in Product Management, she me told that she started with EntryLevel’s Product Management Program.

What made EntryLevel stand out to her was the team dynamic - “We studied together as a team, and I think I really loved my team, especially because at the time and everyone actually put their best foot forward.”

EntryLevel gave Lola the fundamentals of the Product Manager role. It also gave her a starting point on how to create a portfolio, through a capstone project.

“My capstone project with EntryLevel was on Amazon cars at the time. I had submitted a portfolio, and I cleaned it up to put on my portfolio website in a professional way.”

Lola's portfolio project with EntryLevel, in our product management program.

Lola didn’t stop after our program. She went on to look for more practical experience to apply what she has learned. “Now, we have to put to use what we learned.”


2) Building Practical Experience 🔨

After getting the foundational knowledge, Lola joined a bootcamp and started a project with her friend to build her practical experience.

“I got into this bootcamp kind of thing and got put in a team.”

In the bootcamp, she joined a group of 40 people to create their own product. They built an app called MindSpa.

But she didn’t stop there. Hungry to get more practical experience, she started working on another project with her friend.

“A friend of mine also reached out and asked if I wanted to work on something together. I said yes, and am working to help bring that product to life as well.”

As Lola took on new projects, she added her practical experience to her portfolio and deepened her Product Management skills.

Just building practical experience wasn’t enough. Lola realised that she needed to put herself out there if she was going to get employers to recognise her and her work.

3) Putting yourself out there 📣

After building Product Management skills and getting experience, Lola didn’t keep her Product Management skills to herself - she was vocal about her new skills on Twitter and LinkedIn, sharing her projects with the world.

“I used Twitter to start talking about product management. I started growing a portfolio, and sharing my journey on Product Management on LinkedIn.”

Lola also writes about her Product Management journey through her blog. Her article on Cognitive Diversity and how it helps Agile Teams, using Pentatonix as a case study, became her most read article.

Lola recommends sharing everything you’re learning online, and being bold about your growth.

“EntryLevel found me through what I shared on Twitter - so I would definitely recommend you to share everything you’re learning online. You can find a good community and build your personal brand to stand out.”

That’s how Lola broke into Product Management! We hope you enjoyed this one.

If you’re an aspiring product manager and want to learn the fundamentals or build up your practical experience, here’s what you can do:

  1. Sign up for EntryLevel’s Product Management Program. It’s free if you finish.
  2. Join Lola’s community for Newbie Product Managers - you can learn a lot from attending just one event on Clubhouse: https://www.instagram.com/newbie_pm/
  3. Share 1 project you’re committing to by the end of the year and tag EntryLevel on social media, or comment it below (@EntryLevelPrograms or @EntryLevelNet on Twitter)

You can check out Lola’s website here, or connect with her on LinkedIn or Twitter.

Date originally published:
Oct 4, 2022
Date last updated:
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