Career advice

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avsh21
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Career advice

Post by avsh21 » Sun Jun 23, 2019 10:03 pm

(Note: I have been on this forum for some time now and made this account to get some career advice since some people I work with are on this forum, too. I did let the moderators know about it.)

There are so many wise and successful people here - I was hoping someone can give me some career advice. I have been working in public sector consulting for the past 12 years now. I started my career as a business/systems analyst and have been doing project management for the past 5-7 years now. My company manages large scale IT systems for the State of CA. I have also managed some medium scale projects - so have program management experience, too. I might have to move to the Bay Area or Seattle in the next few months (family reasons) and have been looking at jobs at large technology companies there (FB, Google, Amazon, Microsoft, Uber etc.). There are not too many public sector opportunities there and I have been wondering how my consulting experience can align with the work these companies are doing.

The project management at these companies is more oriented towards product management. Has someone here worked in consulting and made a switch to these companies in the past? I am hoping I could leverage their experience/knowledge and gain some insight into how to target those jobs. Any advice you could provide would be much appreciated. Thank you.

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Re: Career advice

Post by LadyGeek » Sun Jun 23, 2019 10:11 pm

I confirm avsh21 received permission from the moderators before posting with this account. See: Usernames (accounts), second paragraph.

This thread is now in the Personal Finance (Not Investing) forum (career advice).
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Goal33
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Re: Career advice

Post by Goal33 » Sun Jun 23, 2019 10:21 pm

avsh21 wrote:
Sun Jun 23, 2019 10:03 pm
The project management at these companies is more oriented towards product management.
I haven’t made the switch you’re talking about but this is just not true. All these companies have traditional project / program management.
A man with one watch always knows what time it is; a man with two watches is never sure.

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avsh21
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Re: Career advice

Post by avsh21 » Sun Jun 23, 2019 10:27 pm

Goal33 wrote:
Sun Jun 23, 2019 10:21 pm
avsh21 wrote:
Sun Jun 23, 2019 10:03 pm
The project management at these companies is more oriented towards product management.
I haven’t made the switch you’re talking about but this is just not true. All these companies have traditional project / program management.
That has not been my understand from what I see online. Also, spoke to a couple of people I know who work there and they confirmed that the traditional project/program management roles in these companies are far less than product management.

nordsteve
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Re: Career advice

Post by nordsteve » Sun Jun 23, 2019 10:32 pm

Agree with the others - lots of jobs that might not be labeled as project management but require that as qualifications.

Example: https://careers.microsoft.com/us/en/job ... am-Manager

harrychan
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Re: Career advice

Post by harrychan » Sun Jun 23, 2019 10:38 pm

I've done something similar where I moved from an ops manager at a large EMEA networking company to healthcare IT role as a program project manager. It is possible and most if not all FAANG + MSFT type companies will value experience outside the industry. With that said, you need to disassociate your experience from what is relevant vs what isn't. Your resume, linkedin profile and cover letter should emphasize on transferable skills and accomplishments. I meticulously researched on what roles I could manage at my top choice company. It took me a bit of time but I got one interview which led to a full time job and 45% bump in salary.
This is not legal or certified financial advice but you know that already.

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avsh21
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Re: Career advice

Post by avsh21 » Sun Jun 23, 2019 10:40 pm

harrychan wrote:
Sun Jun 23, 2019 10:38 pm
I've done something similar where I moved from an ops manager at a large EMEA networking company to healthcare IT role as a program project manager. It is possible and most if not all FAANG + MSFT type companies will value experience outside the industry. With that said, you need to disassociate your experience from what is relevant vs what isn't. Your resume, linkedin profile and cover letter should emphasize on transferable skills and accomplishments. I meticulously researched on what roles I could manage at my top choice company. It took me a bit of time but I got one interview which led to a full time job and 45% bump in salary.
Thanks, that is good advice. The part in bold is what worries me, though. I am thinking of trying to connect with a recruiter at these companies and chat with them to understand these companies better and to see what exactly they look for.

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avsh21
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Re: Career advice

Post by avsh21 » Sun Jun 23, 2019 10:42 pm

nordsteve wrote:
Sun Jun 23, 2019 10:32 pm
Agree with the others - lots of jobs that might not be labeled as project management but require that as qualifications.

Example: https://careers.microsoft.com/us/en/job ... am-Manager
Fair enough, I am not too aware of these companies so I might be making assumptions that are not true.

Still, trying to see how my skills and achievements would be transferable.

Goal33
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Re: Career advice

Post by Goal33 » Sun Jun 23, 2019 10:53 pm

avsh21 wrote:
Sun Jun 23, 2019 10:27 pm
Goal33 wrote:
Sun Jun 23, 2019 10:21 pm
avsh21 wrote:
Sun Jun 23, 2019 10:03 pm
The project management at these companies is more oriented towards product management.
I haven’t made the switch you’re talking about but this is just not true. All these companies have traditional project / program management.
That has not been my understand from what I see online. Also, spoke to a couple of people I know who work there and they confirmed that the traditional project/program management roles in these companies are far less than product management.
What do you mean by far less? Product Managers probably make more money, if that's what you mean.

There are definitely these types of roles, and roles you are qualified for. Maybe your friends are coders and maybe aren't aware of the army of project, program, and product managers enabling their success...

If you aren't finding relevant job postings, try to network on LinkedIn.
A man with one watch always knows what time it is; a man with two watches is never sure.

starsfan18
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Re: Career advice

Post by starsfan18 » Sun Jun 23, 2019 11:05 pm

Are you open to travel? If so, how much? Do you have an active security clearance? What technologies (if any) are you familiar with in the course of your current work and to what level (basic/intermediate/advanced)?

Amazon, Google, and Microsoft all have US public sector business and have varying roles in these locations related to that business in functions like product management, software engineering, service operations, program management, and professional services (consulting and support). I would expect your skills and background to be relevant and while there might be more of a density of those roles in the National Capital Region, there's certainly a need at HQ. You can add other companies to this list - IBM, Oracle, etc. - but my guess is Amazon or Microsoft will have the greatest number of positions (though perhaps not open positions at any given time).

starsfan18
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Re: Career advice

Post by starsfan18 » Sun Jun 23, 2019 11:15 pm

Sorry, I gave this a closer read and saw that your company manages state and not federal contracts. Forget the question about the security clearance. The rest of my reply should still be valid, however, the three hyperscale cloud companies are competing for market share in the public sector space and are in need of people who know the sector.

carolinaman
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Re: Career advice

Post by carolinaman » Mon Jun 24, 2019 6:43 am

I spent 28 years in a large local govt as executive director of IT. As others have said, all of these companies market to state and local govt. They need people like you who have experience and understanding of that market. Some, perhaps many, of these jobs will likely require substantial travel. The key is to get your resume to the right hiring managers. I suggest talking with the recruiters and find out how to do that.

nordsteve
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Re: Career advice

Post by nordsteve » Mon Jun 24, 2019 8:42 am

To follow up on starsfan18's post, here are some specific jobs that you should be looking at -- found by searching for "state government" and selecting "services" in the profession refiner.

https://careers.microsoft.com/us/en/job ... t-Services
https://careers.microsoft.com/us/en/job ... -Executive

Topic Author
avsh21
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Re: Career advice

Post by avsh21 » Mon Jun 24, 2019 9:14 am

Thanks a lot everyone. I have been trying to network with some headhunters and recruiters to see if they can connect me with the right hiring managers. That seems to be the biggest roadblock so far. Looks like my skillset could be transferable, just a matter of getting the resume in front of the right person.

nordsteve
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Re: Career advice

Post by nordsteve » Mon Jun 24, 2019 9:29 am

If your target is FAANG + Microsoft, the only recruiters you should be talking to are ones who work directly for those companies.

Topic Author
avsh21
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Re: Career advice

Post by avsh21 » Mon Jun 24, 2019 10:08 am

nordsteve wrote:
Mon Jun 24, 2019 9:29 am
If your target is FAANG + Microsoft, the only recruiters you should be talking to are ones who work directly for those companies.
Yep, that is what I am doing. There are some headhunters who work with those companies as well, though. So trying to connect with them as well.

chenzi
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Re: Career advice

Post by chenzi » Mon Jun 24, 2019 12:44 pm

It's relatively easier to get interview calls into these companies if you know someone who can refer you.
For Amazon, FB - they are always hiring, and recruiters on Linkedin should be good to start if you don't know anyone personally.
Google moves at its own pace - it takes weeks to months to finish the end to end hiring process.
MSFT has been tricky in my personal experience - their recruiting process is haphazard. Despite significant experience in Tier1 firms and multiple referrals from my friends - their recruiters never called me!
Outside of work - One of their hiring managers told me that I belong to a significantly overrepresented demographic within Microsoft and that could be a major reason.

chenzi
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Re: Career advice

Post by chenzi » Mon Jun 24, 2019 12:51 pm

Also, interview preparation is significantly different for these companies compared to IT consulting. There are some companies/individuals who train you on how to prepare for TPM & PM interviews and also connect you with employees who can take mock interviews. It would be a useful investment.
I know some of the candidates who have used http://seattletechinterviews.com/ and cleared FAANG interviews.

Topic Author
avsh21
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Re: Career advice

Post by avsh21 » Mon Jun 24, 2019 1:41 pm

chenzi wrote:
Mon Jun 24, 2019 12:51 pm
Also, interview preparation is significantly different for these companies compared to IT consulting. There are some companies/individuals who train you on how to prepare for TPM & PM interviews and also connect you with employees who can take mock interviews. It would be a useful investment.
I know some of the candidates who have used http://seattletechinterviews.com/ and cleared FAANG interviews.
This is helpful, thanks. Might be a worthwhile investment to make for someone like me.

CommitmentDevice
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Re: Career advice

Post by CommitmentDevice » Mon Jun 24, 2019 2:01 pm

The University of Washington has a Software Product Management certificate you might want to look into: https://www.pce.uw.edu/certificates/sof ... management

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Re: Career advice

Post by KyleAAA » Mon Jun 24, 2019 2:04 pm

All those companies have Technical Program Management tracks which more closely align with what you have been doing, most likely. They are somewhat technical positions so while you won't be writing code, you need to be able to understand it and system architecture. But the meat of the job is basically project managing large technical initiatives across groups and not necessarily product management.

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