An interview with the Product Manager
A Product Manager is not only the person who puts the companies’ processes together. He’s responsible for moving the product between stages, bringing it to the market, and making it successful. Viktor says that his main screen is in the passion he puts into every project he takes. According to him, if you come to IT just for money you will fail. More interesting insights and words of wisdom about the IT industry in our interview with Viktor.
About you and your work
How and why did you decide to become a Product Manager?
I think the start of my interest in the sphere, in general, was in my childhood. I was quite prone to organizational work, I liked to participate in creating strategies, including strategies in games, etc. When I was 17 I already started to work at a startup created by me and my friends, who were not much older. It was called EdEra – the first Ukrainian online learning platform. In those times, in 2014, Ukraine did not have proper online education, there were only foreign courses at this big level. We decided to take the chance and digitalize our education. At this company, I made my first business decisions and developed a lot of skills as a Project Manager.
And you were a physicist before, is that right? How did the transition to IT happen and why?
Since childhood, I have loved physics, so when it was time to choose the university, my choice was the faculty of Radiophysics, Electronics, and Computer systems at Kyiv National University. I quite liked studying, but I wasn’t planning to become a scientist, I just did it…I guess for my heart? When we graduated a lot of my peers left abroad to get jobs as scientists, but I didn’t quite want it. I enjoyed business and management more, that’s why I took this path.
Did your university help you get a profession and become who you are right now?
Not exactly, the main thing the university gave me was a good tech base, so it allowed me to work in startups and IT in general. Another great thing that my university gave me was the ability to solve complex non-trivial problems. I used to have tasks where I was given months to do complex research and there was no way to find anything valuable online. So, I had to investigate, look for information elsewhere and create my own solution instead of copying someone’s experience. After this, all problems look at least solvable.
Is this what makes a good Product Manager?
Exactly! When I’m looking for teammates, I’m not looking for developers who would do one task after another using typical solutions, but rather engineers who would create something non-trivial, exceptional, and unique for each given situation. Those who like to research and understand how things work. It’s the same with Product Management – when you want to create a strategy there are no ready-made solutions, one size can’t fit all. A good Product Manager is one who can weigh all the pros and cons and make a decision that will lead to success.
What excites you about your profession?
I guess the biggest joy is when you can directly influence the product. It feels thrilling when a company comes to the market, makes a name for itself, and goes from unknown to successful.
What excites you about the IT-sphere in general?
Progress and dynamics. Technologies progress like nothing else in the world. They develop so fast that 2-year-old trends and solutions might not work nowadays. It is unlike other classical business models, where knowledge from the last century is still valid and makes sense.
The IT sphere is booming in the world. What do you think is the future of IT in Ukraine?
In my opinion, it will continue growing for another 2-5 years. First of all, because the world is being crazily digitized, especially after COVID, the pandemic really pushed the development process to move faster. During the first year of lockdowns, there were lots of cuts to budgets and staff, but later people finally understood that the online world holds the future, from online education to shops and delivery services. The need is higher than ever, and it will be only growing in the future.
In the later future, in about 10-15 years AI will most probably take over developers’ jobs, which will lead to a market drop. But it won’t touch managing professions like Project Managers, Product Managers, Business Analytics, as managing jobs can’t be done by machines. Well, at least yet.
Considering all you said above, still, a lot of Ukrainians will try to get IT professions in the next few years. Is there anything you can recommend to newcomers?
The best advice I can give is: do not start with the financial side of the question, but rather look for directions that naturally excite you and give you passion. I know so many people who studied a lot to get the golden Senior positions in their companies, earn a lot of money and feel quite wealthy, but they are not happy about their jobs. Your job takes a big chunk of your life, and I sincerely think that what you do at your work should bring you pleasure. In the future, this pleasure will shape your perception of happiness.
The ideal start would be to research different IT professions to find what they do, the typical career paths, and the main requirements for this kind of job. For example, so many people want to become QA engineers because it doesn’t require a special degree or too deep technical knowledge at the start. At the same time, this job requires a lot of patience and perseverance. If you don’t have these soft skills, you’ll not succeed as a tester. If we’re talking about project management, this person should be communicative, so if you hate people you can’t become a good professional in this direction.
So do your research and pick the profession that will bring you not only benefits, but development, interest, and happiness.
What are your hobbies outside work?
In the past, I used to be a professional sportsman: 10 years of kickboxing, 7 years of wakeboarding starting from school, basketball etc.
What are you most proud of?
I found the person I’m going to spend my life with – my wife.
Why did you choose to work here?
When I choose the company for work, I consider several things. The first thing that is really hard to tell before you are onboarding and start working is the team you have to work with. At Clearmove I immediately saw that I’m in the right place as I got acquainted with Viktor (VP of Engineering) and Haitham (Managing Director), as they are easy people to work with. The next thing is the product. I understand that automation in Global Mobility is a very relevant idea, it is very much needed in the modern world, and it is interesting to work with it.
Did you know anything about Global Mobility before?
Not too much. I knew that people relocate for work around the world quite a lot, I assumed that some basic CRM systems exist, but I didn’t realize the potential of the software that helps automate and streamline this process. We have quite a unique product, that is true.
Which of the company’s values (innovation, initiative, responsibility, leadership, resilience, teamwork, people) resonates with you the most?
Pretty much every value resonates with me, but I particularly choose people and teamwork. As I mentioned before, the people make the company great, even if you think these things are not connected. The way people do their work inevitably reflects on the company’s success and the product’s success as well.
In the nearest future, we will hire a lot of people to your team, and you most probably will manage them. What kind of people are you looking for from the point of view of soft skills?
I’d like responsible and passionate people in my team. I would more likely hire someone with burning eyes of desire but hard skills less than expected, rather than a person with no passion in their eyes but who is very skillful. Passionate people make the world go round with their desire to improve and innovate.
Are your eyes burning when reading this? Do you want to work with Viktor on our interesting product? Then apply today!