I spent my first two years at Workday in the Associate Product Management (APM) Rotational program. Every 3 to 6 months, I would join a new team, start a new project, and even move to a new location. As part of the program, I was exposed to different stages of a product’s development lifecycle, took ownership of impactful projects, and received guidance from seasoned product managers.
I graduated from the APM Rotational program as a senior associate product manager for the Monitoring, Insights, and Alerting team. This means that I get to drive the vision and oversee the development of new features for the monitoring products in order to ensure that Workday has observability into its infrastructure and services.
What skills/technologies have you learned since you came to Workday?
A product manager’s day-to-day activities varies quite a lot and the skills that I am exposed to are completely tied to the status of the product. But overall, this role has taught me a diverse range of technical and soft skills while giving me many opportunities to make an impact.
I learned that I don’t have to be a software expert, but I should be technically aware by having a high-level understanding of a product from a code perspective.
Moreover, all great products are built by having a user-centric mindset. Therefore, I conducted user research and usability testing to improve our customer needs and to solve their pain points. In addition to this, I learned the importance of making data-driven decisions by translating data into actionable recommendations.
Tell us about the culture in Workday?
Workday has always placed a strong emphasis on its core values, especially on prioritizing people first. It is fun to work in such an incredibly supportive environment in which I am encouraged to speak up, build meaningful connections, and be creative! Also, how the company embraces diversity and inclusion has helped me, a Romanian citizen who moved to Ireland, to have a great employee experience. They also outline opportunities for us to make new friends such as suggesting that we join book clubs and volunteer for charity events to help local communities.
What's been the biggest challenge to date?
The most challenging part of the role is to be well-rounded. As a product manager, I sit at the intersection of other functions in the company. Whether I have to talk through a business case with senior leadership, put myself in my customer’s shoes or ensure the right decisions or trade-offs are made by the engineers, I always have to ensure that I expand my skillset so I am able to wear more of these hats.
What type of support do you receive for your career development?
The product manager career path is an exciting one at Workday and I was offered plenty of opportunities to develop it. I was exposed through the APM Program to product advice from experienced product managers and leadership. This created a foundation of knowledge sharing, which helped my growth.
In addition to this, I had access to a mentorship-focused program designed to help me work through issues and learn new skills. A key piece of the received support lies in the company culture itself. I’m encouraged to set up discussions with other people to debate issues, discuss career goals or to simply chat.
Where do you want to be in 5 years?
I aspire to continue to grow professionally within Workday. It is difficult to say whether I will choose a career path in people management or a product management expert role, but I would like to continue to serve as the holistic voice of the customer and to develop deep expertise so I can set the strategic direction of one of Workday’s product areas.
What advice would you give to graduates looking for a job at Workday?
My advice is to be prepared to learn as much as possible! Nobody knows everything and by showing your willingness to learn and grow your understanding in a certain area, you will stand out in the interview process. Also, ensure that you outline the qualities that make you unique!