A Look Inside: Product Management at PwC

Feb 08, 2023
hackajob Staff

For our latest post, we're joined by our good friends at PwC as they continue to work on innovative and technical projects. They're currently looking for engineers just like you to join their team.

Meet Laura, a Product Manager within the Advanced Research and Engineering Centre in Operate at PwC. Find out about her unusual career journey into the tech sector and how it’s not always your previous roles that are important but the transferable skills you bring with you…

What attracted you to the technology sector?

My route into the tech industry was not a traditional one. I’d been running my own retail business since 2008 before an unexpected career break in 2012.

During this time, I cared for my Mum who had Multiple Sclerosis, until she passed. I'm not a person who ‘idles’ well, so even during this, I tried to figure out what was next. I decided to use my free time to study the basics of coding and building using free online resources.

I started looking for opportunities that would allow me to work in tech whilst studying as I couldn’t afford to take time out to follow a full-time degree pathway. My research led me to an apprenticeship scheme run by Belfast Metropolitan College in collaboration with various tech companies in Belfast. Given I wasn’t the stereotypical apprentice (I was mid 30’s at the time) I didn’t hold out much hope of success, but I was offered interviews for two of the companies and eventually a position at one of them.

How do you feel your previous experiences have shaped your journey?

I started working part-time jobs when I was 15 years old, everything from cloakroom attendant in a nightclub, to a pizza chef in a takeaway and an administrator within the health service. These jobs and the skills I have developed, coupled with travel and education have shaped me into the person I am. They allowed me the confidence and ability to have a go at running my own business in my mid 20’s, and whilst it ultimately failed, it wasn’t because I couldn’t do it, it came down to economics.

I spent seven years with the company I started my apprenticeship with. They were amazing and a great team of people, but ultimately to learn and grow we need new experiences so whilst sad to leave there, I'm very glad to have joined PwC. Every job I’ve had has led me to this point in my life, I’ve finally found the career I want and a company that will invest in me.

What’s the role of a Product Manager?

I'm currently a Product Manager within Operate’s Advanced Research and Engineering Centre at PwC based in our Merchant Square Offices.

A key part of the role is communication. I collaborate with the business to understand their needs, translate that into measurable business values, and then translate again into technical requirements for our engineers and architects. All the while, ensuring everyone is working to the same vision for the product.

Product Management is all about making sure your software product is usable, scaleable and fits its target market. To do that, I encourage my development teams to produce novel ideas to solve ‘challenge statements’. Innovation isn't always about using the latest and greatest technology (although it’s nice to play with it).

What skills are important in a Product Manager role?

To be an effective Product Manager you need to utilise both creativity and logic. It's about approaching problems with an open mind and collaborating with a diverse set of stakeholders to ensure as many approaches to solving it are accounted for, tested and the right solution is ultimately chosen.

Seemingly complex problems can be solved by collaborating with the right people, thinking innovatively and re-using known technology in a slightly different way. That approach not only solves the challenge but can bring our solutions to market rapidly.

At PwC, you also need to be a tech evangelist - someone who creates curiosity from the business to explore using the multitude of tools available to them. You support people to not only become comfortable with them, but help them learn to articulate better what their needs are.

Interested in a technology career at PwC? Visit our careers website to learn more.

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