From Web Engineer to Product Manager: Joseph Edmed

Amity Web Engineer turned Product Manager Joseph Edmed shares his experience on changing careers and how his past experiences helped him in his new role.

September 22, 2020
By
Chris Vibert

Changing positions can be challenging — new responsibilities, new things to learn, and new people to deal with. Former Amity's Joseph Edmed underwent a career change recently. From being a web engineer, he now handles product management for one of our core products, Upstra. In this interview, I ask him about this shift and the adjustments he went through as he transitioned to this new position.

Can you summarize your new role as a Product Manager? What are the projects you are working on now?

One of my key roles as a Product Manager is to be the mediator between all the project’s stakeholders. From investors, clients, our other departments, and our engineers, I make sure that everyone is on the same page on what we are doing.

I am currently managing Upstra, one of our more technical product lines.

How does your technical background help you in your current role?

Upstra, the current project that I am handling, is a highly technical product. It is essentially an SDK that provides our clients with the data they need to build their own social and chat applications. Unlike most other products, there is no visual component to Upstra, which can make it challenging for non-tech-savvy users to grasp.

As I originally started as an Engineer on Upstra, I have a good understanding of how it works and how we manage the data. This background helps me better communicate with clients about our product and receive feedback on what features we should be working on next to solve their problems.

What’s your favorite thing about the new role?

I get to make decisions for the product that I believe will benefit us in the long run. I see Upstra as a lego piece that our clients can use to build their apps the way they want to. Sometimes this means that we have to make sure the features we create do not paint us into a corner or conflict with another client’s use case. It is a good exercise in separating business logic from data logic.

What do you miss most about your previous role as a Web Engineer?

I miss writing code. There is a great deal of satisfaction gained from spending time on a coding problem and coming up with an eloquent solution. Many of the challenges I solve now are human problems such as resource allocation, managing expectations, and resolving conflicting ideas.

What advice do you have for somebody who wants to make a similar move at some point in their career?

Be ready to work a lot harder.

Be open to learning more about subject matters that you may not necessarily be comfortable with. I learned a lot about mobile development, data structures, deployment flows, microservice management, and building for scalability. As the Product Manager, you are responsible for making decisions on the product’s direction, and so those decisions must be well informed and well researched.

Be willing to listen to others and understand their point of view. I am blessed with a reliable Upstra team that always strives for more extraordinary things. They are always ready to put in their maximum effort to ensure that we deliver features that we can be proud of. They are also not afraid to raise their concerns, and as a Product Manager, it is crucial to listen to these concerns and take them seriously.

Be the change that you want to see. I initially took on the responsibility of managing Upstra because I wanted to make sure that we would keep building features that followed the product’s central ethos.  As an Engineer, I also understand the frustration when new feature requirements are vague or not fully scoped. I make it a point now as a Product Manager to be as clear as I can about what the requirements are for new features, and if there is ambiguity, I try to clear it as quickly as possible.

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