My name is Cleber and I would like to share my experience at RecordPoint’s Graduate Program with you. I’ve been working as a graduate engineer at RecordPoint for 7 months. I am originally from a small town in the countryside of São Paulo state, Brazil. Having finished a degree in Quality Management, I decided to move to Ireland to study English and that’s where my technical journey began. A little later, in 2016, I moved to Australia, where I got the opportunity to study a Bachelor of Information Technology at Macquarie University in Sydney.
Life After University
Finishing a degree feels great and rewarding. A minimum of three years studying topics that are of your interest (and others not so much). It is the time for networking, making friends, stressing out about exams and assignments and feeling relieved when the results come as expected.
During that period, I was sure I wanted to become a software developer. For most of my elective units, I chose software units so I could get ahead with my programming skills. Having finished the degree last December, I focused on finding a job in software development.
Looking for jobs can be an exhausting process. Being fresh out of university and having limited industry experience brings up many doubts and uncertainties. Interviews in this area are intense and although draining, the process certainly leads to personal growth and learning.
The interview process with RecordPoint was one of my favourites. We got a brief overview of our software and challenges we face. There were individual interviews to assess our technical and general knowledge as well as a dynamic group interview to evaluate how we approach group work.
Only a few days after the last interview, I received the call.I would finally become a professional Software Engineer!
The Graduate Engineer Program at RecordPoint consists in three rotations of 12 weeks each. Out of those three rotations, one will be technical and one will be customer facing. The idea behind exposing graduates to customers is to bring fresh ideas about how they interact with and what they expect from our software. This leads to us becoming more thoughtful when solving problems.
I started in an engineering rotation, and what drew my attention to it from day one, was the way the teams interact with graduates. They always answered my questions with enthusiasm and patience. More than that, the team always listened to and valued my opinions. As soon as I finished my onboarding, I started working with our code base and delivering solutions to our product. My duties during that time varied greatly, between unit tests, APIs, updating the deployment pipelines and much more. It was during that time I started to develop interest and curiosity in the work that our product management team was doing.
Behind the Corporate Veil
People at RecordPoint are always keen to hear what you are thinking, and they will certainly do their best to match your experiences in the Graduate Program to your interests and strengths. Realising I was becoming more and more interested in Product Management, I had a chat with Charissa, the head of the grad program about joining the Product Management team for one of my rotations. She was supportive and arranged to make it happen.
After 12 weeks in an engineering team, I moved to the Product Management Team. Members of the product team take on one of two roles, Technical Product Managers (TPM) and Program Product Managers (PPM). The TPMs play the role of product owner for the engineering teams and are responsible for creating, maintaining, and grooming the Product Backlog Items (PBIs) that the teams will work on. They also triage bugs, prioritise each engineering team’s work, etc. The PPMs on the other hand, are responsible for market research, customer interviews, feature discovery and much more.
As a graduate in the product team, I was able to experience both roles within product. I was able to take on tasks that were even more diverse than the work I completed in engineering. I wrote documentation for our software, created processes to bring engineering tools to the team, made wireframes, participated in and ran PBI grooming sessions, worked with the team towards feature visions, created videos to demonstrate our software for the marketing team, and this list will go on.
I cannot express how much I enjoyed every single piece of work I did during those 12 weeks. I had to relearn the way I expressed myself and thought of our software. During the rotation, my engineering skills contributed to areas of the team, I deepened my knowledge of RecordPoint’s product and domain, and I further improved my communication skills. However, more importantly, I discovered my passion for product management and was able to make becoming a product manager my new goal.
Product vs Engineering: The Verdict
Getting to experience a rotation in the product team opened my eyes to where an IT degree can lead you. Despite not fundamental to be a product manager, my technical skills were useful and helped me to bring new ways to do tasks as well as to optimise product team processes. The rotation in product has broadened my thoughts surrounding features we are building, and taught to investigate alternative solutions that would suit our software and customers better.
Both the product and engineering teams are essential to delivering our software, and both take different kinds of creativity. Exercising engineering duties gave me deeper technical understanding of problems we face as well as how to tackle and solve them. Being in the Product team enhanced my way of thinking about software, customers, and goals. I am glad that through RecordPoint’s Graduate Program I was able to experience both, and find the role that most interests and excites me.