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"The experience made me feel like not just a product manager but also an entrepreneur."
On Monday, Ayobami ‘Ayo’ Ayodeji stepped into the role of Program Manager II at Microsoft. Over time, he has earned his own merit by learning a great deal and working very hard. But he shared with us— and now we share with you — that his participation in Co.Lab was of immense help in landing the new job. He said, “Co.Lab gave me a platform not just to learn product management but to perform product management.”
If you’re wandering in the technological space and not sure where you fit exactly, Ayo’s story will inspire you to do that thing that will take you a step further in your tech journey. If you don’t know for sure what that is, it might just be the very thing that comes to your mind while reading his story.
Our Co.Laborators have been hard at work for the past few weeks! Come hear from Product Managers, Designers and Developers on how their first time working within a real product team went, and see their shipped products in action!
After going through a lot of career changes, you’ll start to think about settling down eventually. Ayo had experiences in engineering and data management but there weren’t a lot of signs directing him to his future career field. He had taken a product management course before, having discovered it was a field that would help him have a mix of leadership and the technical expertise he was looking for. But he knew he needed more than that to crack his dream job. That's why when the course came up, he decided to give it a harder try because he believed it would be worth it. (Spoiler alert: it was!)
When Ayo worked as a Project Manager, he decided he wanted to be in the software industry as opposed to the manufacturing industry. This led to his decision to take on a Masters in Data Analytics; he really wanted the hands-on tech experience. So Ayo knew what it’s like to work with a developer and he’d played the part of a data scientist. From his short time in software, he noticed he enjoyed coming up with ideas and co-ordinating people to solve problems focused on the customers’ wants. Ayo realized what he really was drawn to was Product Management.
The How To Be A Product Manager course started while Ayo was already working a full-time job. On the side, he was developing a project with his friends in response to the #BlackLivesMatter movement. Ayo merged the side project and the course together, and that’s how BlackMINT’s Rising Star Platform kicked off within Co.Lab. The Platform provides Black youth with valuable information and resources to encourage them to pursue degrees and careers in tech. Learn more about BlackMINT through the Rising Star Podcast. For high school students, there’s a free online career event next Thursday. Check it out!
From their user research, Ayo’s team discovered that their potential users, high school students, largely utilize mobile devices. They went with a mobile responsive web application, packed with information and a medium to interact with featured career mentors. While the team had a great idea to begin with, they struggled to pinpoint what the actual features of the application would be. They had to do more in-depth user research to determine the features to be included. There was work to be done.
Building with the developers and a designer was also extremely exciting for Ayo, but they all had full-time jobs that also demanded their attention. As the PM, Ayo had to be creative and think of ways to encourage them and remind them of the importance and impact of the platform they were building.
That’s probably why his favourite part of the whole process was having everyone busy and working on the project at the same time. Bringing everyone together to successfully complete the project was his goal and he was satisfied having done just that.
Co.Lab gave me a platform not just to learn product management but to perform product management. I launched a web-app… which is now live by working with the designer and developer I was provided, as a team. We would not have such a successful product if it wasn't for Co.Lab.
He says the experience made him feel like more than a product manager. There’s no settling down for Ayo, he believes he can be an entrepreneur too.
Ayo was part of the Summer 2020 cohort of Co.Lab. Sign up for the upcoming Winter cohort here.
Congratulations to Ayo on the new job! Did you enjoy his story? What part of Ayo’s journey did you resonate with? Share with us your thoughts on social media!