Best advice for folks entering product or tech?

  • 2 September 2021
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Last month we held a number of meetups and some folks shared that they are hoping to get started in tech and product and asked us to share our best advice. I won’t share the gems that were shared on that call here but I did ask a few Mixpanelers who have answered below.

I would love you to share in the comments what your advice is?

AK’s advice

“Have a beginner’s mind… for everything” …. we (only) really learn stuff when we make mistakes, recognize them as mistakes, do some research, and then (and only then) fix/solve/redo the work to make it correct. in my mind, true learning is the iterative process of doing this over and overthe reason adopting a beginner’s mind is important in tech is because it combats the frustration inherent in building things… you’ll build something 100 times before you get it right… and even when it’s “right”… it’s only “right today”… and tomorrow, everything can change.this is either a drag … or a boon depending on your mindset. Beginner’s mind (shosinis a concept in zen buddhism which promotes openness, eagerness, and an acknowledgement that there are many possible paths to arrive at a particular destination.this mindset will serve you well, whether you’re just starting your career, or many years into it.

Connect with AK in Community here

 

Harriet’s advice

Being open to feedback and coach ability. For me that is what I look for in candidates above experience level. Are they open to feedback and will they want to learn and grow?

Connect with Harriet in Community here

 

Sam’s advice

Bite-size your career path (or, "take things one step at a time")
Before tech, I had a career on Wall Street. I applied to tons of tech jobs, but was passed over a lot because my work experience didn't seem relevant enough. I eventually decided to focus on FinTech companies because I knew I could hold my own in the financial services space but could also reap the benefits of getting (so-called) "traditional" tech experience at the same time. Before long, I was able to make the move to a B2B SaaS company in a field completely unrelated to financial services or products. It often takes a really conscious effort to shed the "I want it all and I want it right now" mentality—patience is a grossly underrated quality, but a highly necessary one.

As you're "bite-sizing" your path ahead, it's important to foster relationships along the way. I know networking events are important, but as a rather shy, introverted person, I find them immensely tiring. Instead, I make an effort to create and nurture relationships cross-functionally within my own organization, partners, and (selectively) across my broader existing network. I've learned a lot about challenges that colleagues on other teams encounter, things that excite them, and how those things get dealt with, by spending time talking to them. There's a lot to be said for knowing how to do a job, but equally, there's a lot to be said for understanding the "why" behind it. With that being said, if your company or network doesn't reflect the types of roles or industries you'd like to be in,  you can always hit those networking events hard ;-)

Connect with Sam in Community here

 

Jaz’s advice

I didn’t have a tech background when I joined but I looked for the roles where my skills and background would be applicable. Good old transferable skills. I was also super clear on what I didn’t know and never hid from that I was walking in the door with customer service, project management and team work etc but I was hungry to learn tech (which for me included learning how to use a macbook lol) and was never ashamed of that, it mean’t although I was a customer success manager at first I made every effort to be in on product or sales meetings so I could understand the product and company beyond my corner of engagement. It mean’t I was able to collaborate or advocate for other teams when decisions were being made and felt more confident in my understanding and abilities. So… take a good look at your skills and don’t be afraid to be vulnerable or not-know.

Connect with Jaz in Community here.


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My number 1 advice is to gain data-literacy -- it can have a massive impact on your career trajectory as well as enable you to take on more responsibility, learn faster, and easily switch roles if you’d like to. 

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