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PM Interview With TAPAD

Just two notes I took from my interview with TAPAD for a Product Management internship. I was a finalist but they ultimately decided to go with someone else.

You’ll see it again and again (and again). What’s up with the computer science requirement for PMs? Coding isn’t a regular part of a PM’s regular job, so why don’t companies loosen up that requirement to find someone who’s truly excellent at the core product management skills?

Here’s the simple answer: Many people without a background in computer science can’t form a strong working relationship with engineers.

All of those excellent product management skills will go to waste if the PM alienates his engineers and can’t earn their respect. Product Management is a job where you have to lead without authority. The only way to get great work done is to bring the team onboard with your vision.

It’s possible to be a great PM without a technical background, but you’ll need to find a way to build a strong relationship with your engineering team and work past the hazards that non technical people so often hit.

What makes a PM the top 1% of PMs?

I’m not sure I’ve ever met a 1% PM, certainly not one that I identified as such prior to hiring. Instead of trying to hire one, you’re better off trying to hire a 10% PM who strives to develop and improve along these dimensions.

By Frances Coronel

Frances Coronel is a software engineer specializing in UI development on the Customer Acquisition Team at Slack where her mission is to make your working life simpler, more pleasant, and more productive.

She has been working professionally as a developer since 2015 and holds a Bachelors in Computer Science from Hampton University and a Masters in Computer Science from Cornell Tech.

Outside of Slack, Frances is an Executive Director of Techqueria, a 501c3 nonprofit that serves the largest community of Latinx in Tech in the US.

She also supports Code Nation as a member of their Bay Area Leadership Council and the Latino Community Foundation as a member of their Latinos in Tech Giving Circle.