Lucy Wang only has one regret about her career in product marketing: that it took so long for her to find it.
“I switched between different lanes quite a bit early in my career, before I finally hit product marketing,” she says. “I wish that I had had a program or network of mentors to go to and say ‘Hey, I’m an engineer, but my passion is connecting with people. There are so many roles within marketing. I don’t know which one is cut out for me. Can you give me some advice?’”
She did figure it out eventually, building off of long and productive stints in marketing functions at Microsoft and Amazon, among other places. Currently, she is a Director and Head of Product Marketing at security software company Veracode. And now more than ever, she’s focused on paying back her hard-earned knowledge and perspective.
“I bumped around and figured it out years later, but I could’ve avoided some pitfalls,” she says. “And now I feel passionate about providing mentorship to others so they can avoid some of those detours.”
We sat down with Lucy to hear more about what advice she has for those considering a career in product marketing — including which soft skills are really necessary (and perhaps even more necessary than hard, coding-based skills) to succeed.
There’s one question Lucy asks all of her mentees when their relationship begins: “What’s your passion? That doesn’t mean the industry that gives you the highest pay. We spend a lot of time at work and if that’s not something you feel passionate about, you’ll feel burned out very quickly.”
As a student, Lucy considered educational psychology as a life-defining passion, but later found her passion elsewhere. She was in Seattle in the early 2000’s and saw how the tech field was taking off and impacting daily life, and she decided to give it a try.
Growing up, her engineer father had stressed the importance of pragmatic thinking and problem-solving skills, which served her well in her first tech role. She did a master’s in computer systems to deepen her knowledge, and her hard-working approach helped her make it through several rounds of layoffs when the dot com bubble burst.
But working through turbulent times made Lucy realize that pure engineering was not her true calling.
“I felt passion and energy from connecting with people,” she reflects. She took on some management roles and even ended up doing an MBA. Several jobs later, she found herself at Microsoft, where she had her first “true, bonafide product marketing experience.”
That’s when it all clicked for her. “I have a special knack for positioning and messaging a very technical product in a way that people understand,” says Lucy. “I can explain and sell things to someone who knows little about my industry.”
When it came to subject matter, Lucy jumped at the chance to head up the marketing for Microsoft’s cloud platform Azure (Platform as a Service) and later AWS’ portfolio of databases.
“Everybody was moving to the cloud; it was a full digital transformation,” she says. “People were freaking out about how to do that, and I understood that pain.”
Embracing cloud meant dealing with a new set of security concerns, which set Lucy up well to transition to Veracode when the opportunity came up.
“Customers had to think about business continuity when migrating to the cloud. If we transition to the cloud, what happens to our portfolio of applications? Can they continue to run without a break? What about cyber attacks? These are real topics people have to worry about.”
Passion + Skillset = Impact
Passion is the first step in Lucy’s framework for finding meaningful work — but the second is knowing that you can make a difference.
“When you feel passionate about something and you have the skill sets to bring value to the table, you are helping the business to do better down the road. It’s pretty powerful and fulfilling,” she says.
That’s what led Lucy to take a role at Veracode. She was interested in the security field, having worked through related problems for cloud products and also in her own personal life, where she’d dealt with data breaches twice as a customer of her bank.
She also liked that Veracode was a mid-sized company where she could really visualize making an impact.
“It’s not a small company, but it’s small enough for you to make a sizable impact,” she says. That’s been especially true during the last year and a half of the Great Resignation, she notes, which has put pressure on her and all managers to step up their game and really have an employee-first mentality.
“You cannot be their authority figure. That’s so 1980. You have to be the coach, the mentor, the shoulder that they can lean on in life. It’s extremely important that they’re happy, that they can feel safe and motivated to do more. You start by showing them what you can do for them: how you can enable them, how you can help unblock them, and how you can help them build a career here,” says Lucy.
Lucy is excited about the parallel problems she is currently working to solve — first, how to bring Veracode’s security platform to its target customers, and second, how to build a team that can empower customers while fulfilling their career goals at the same time.
5 Key Soft Skills for Product Marketing
When Lucy is hiring for her team — or even helping to interview for other teams within the company — she’s looking for a range of abilities, and few of them are hard skills.
“People think you have to be a nerdy person. You have to be a math genius to find a job here. That’s so not true,” she says. “If you have the right passion, portable skills, and a can-do, can-learn attitude, you will find a job in tech.”
Here are some of the key soft skills Lucy looks for and helps her mentees foster:
- Creative problem-solving. “If you want to grow faster, you have to find gaps and you have to find solutions to fill those gaps. People hire you for a reason. They have a real business problem to solve. So you come in, identify the problem, come up with a solution, and execute.”
- Getting curious. “Curiosity is really important. If you are curious about how things work, then you'll come up with something even better than what is already in place.”
- Building relationships with people who are doing what interests you. “This helps you get the real detail, the real download on what roles are like, and also gives you a support system like mentors you can go and ask for help.”
- Empathy. “I’ve seen many great [women] leaders in IT who, on top of having the same brain power as any other gender, have a special ability to nurture and connect, which I have found powerful and refreshing.”
- Accepting your mistakes. “You want to learn through the mistakes. Don't beat yourself up for small mistakes; there's no need to do that. If you don’t make any, when something bad does happen you won’t know how to deal with it.”
Overall, Lucy wants other women and underrepresented groups to have confidence in themselves — and to not cut themselves off from a promising career before even trying it out.
“All these other people, they seem to have everything. But underneath the calm surface, they also panic, just like you do,” she says, smiling. “Have confidence in yourself.”
Muldair Welch wasn’t your average 11-year-old. Instead of playing with toys, she was writing code to check her homework.
“I had just gotten a computer and my uncle had shown me some simple QBasic programming,” Muldair explains. “I was trying to do my homework and I wasn't sure if I was right, so I used the computer to write a piece of software to check my synthetic division.” And it worked!
From then on, Muldair was hooked. “I thought to myself, ‘I can get paid to solve puzzles on a computer all day?’” Motivated to keep learning and developing, she worked through the summers to save up for school. She started college at 16 and landed her first job in engineering at 18 while she finished up her undergraduate.
Nowadays, with just as much enthusiasm, you can catch Muldair pushing her team to keep learning and developing as the Director of Engineering at Tackle.io. We sat down with her to discuss her career journey and three pieces of advice for women in engineering who are eager to advance in their careers.
Foundational skills for career growth
Soft skills, or as Muldair prefers to call them, “foundational skills,” are not typically associated with becoming a successful engineer. Yet for Muldair, along her 20+ year career journey, skills like intentionality, communication, and emotional intelligence have been key as she’s moved up the career ladder.
Her first step was becoming a tech lead—a move she says was “100 percent intentional.” But her move to engineering manager came with some hesitation. “I was afraid it was going to be a career block,” explains Muldair. She was passionate about coding and worried that she wouldn’t be able to solve problems every day like she was used to. “I thought, ‘I'm not an engineer anymore. What if I'm a manager for a year and I lose all of my skills and I can never come back?’”
Although she admits these worries were irrational, she was able to push through her fears. As she immersed herself in her new role, she realized that her engineering skills were still being put to good use. “I was so shocked at how much I loved it because I'm still solving problems, but I'm solving what, to me, are so much more meaningful ones,” Muldair says cheerfully.
Moving up and giving back
Through the leadership lessons and unique experiences she gained as an engineering manager, Muldair was eager to take on another challenge. “If there's an opportunity, I'm going to take it, I'm going to try it, and I'm going to learn from it,” explains Muldair. “I knew that I wanted to take the lessons that I had learned and share them with other managers and help them avoid the pitfalls that I had fallen into.”
Muldair joined Tackle last year as an Engineering Director. She was attracted to the technology and intrigued by the company culture and leadership philosophy. “I saw a company that had a really good long-term vision with empathetic, intentional, and focused engineering,” says Muldair when talking about her first impressions of the company. She describes Tackle as a software company that, “supports not just the technology and the clients, but supports the people that make the business possible.”
As a director, Muldair collaborates with other teams to align on projects, creates sustainable growth strategies, and focuses on optimizing processes. She also meets with managers on her team to assure they’re supported in their daily tasks, as well as long-term projects and career development. “When I'm meeting with [my team], we're talking about career growth, we're talking about leadership evolution, dealing with things that are on their mind,” Muldair explains.
And she still gets to do some of the engineering work that she’s known and loved since she was a child. “I always ask how I can help my team be successful in the endeavors that they're working on at that moment, so I do a lot of hands-on support of engineering managers.”
Leading by example
With her intention of supporting other managers, Muldair has learned that, unlike technology, working with people doesn’t always render consistent results.
“When it comes to people, you give them tools, you partner with them, you let them go and you see if they're successful–and sometimes they're not. Sometimes they fail and you have to help them deal with that and make it into a learning opportunity,” she explains.
Along with supporting her managers through setbacks, she has learned that leading by example is equally as important. She uses time management as an example of this. “If I want someone else to grow and eventually become a director, I cannot establish this role as an 80 hour a week role where you're always on and you never disconnect.” She understands that the time she puts into her work is just as important as turning off her laptop at the end of the day or taking time off. “It's a challenging thing for me sometimes, but it's also been hugely impactful to my quality of life,” she shares. “It's really important to create an environment where people are successful when they're working their best hours for their best life,” Muldair points out.
Three pieces of advice for ambitious engineers
In true Muldair fashion of supporting others, she offers advice for fellow women engineers — especially those who don’t have many role models at their companies.
- Don't push yourself into a mold that doesn't fit you. “When I first joined leadership, there was no one that shared my demographics. There was no one that acted the way that I acted. No quirky, odd, humorous, empathetic people in positions of leadership,” Muldair explains. “I thought if I want to be a leader, I have to be cold, I have to be perfect, I have to be super professional and not connect with anyone. And this was a lie. Success will come when you embrace who you are.”
- Don’t be afraid to show off your work. “Very often, women will not champion themselves, due to societal reasons or the fact that they don't want to appear boastful,” Muldair shares. Showing off projects you are working on, achievements, and demos can be the factor that makes future employers want to work with you.
- Network and collaborate. Something as simple as joining a niche engineering Slack group can open opportunities for support and collaboration. “You will find people who want to be supportive,” Muldair advises. These early collaborations can set the foundation for working in larger teams.
“Failure is not a bad thing, it's a consequence of growth and it's a good thing,” Muldair encourages. “You don't have to change who you are to be successful. You need to embrace who you are to be successful.”
If you’re looking to work in a company whose success is a direct factor of how they invest in their employees, check out the job opportunities at Tackle.io.
💎 Prepare for your job interview with Logicworks! Learn how to best showcase your skills, build a stand-out resume, and more!
📼 Prepare for a job interview and learn how to showcase your skills with these tips from Jessica Cowle, Technical Recruiter at Logicworks, who will go over Logicworks’ application process and give you some insights into preparing for your interview.
📼 The best way to prepare before a job interview is to think about how to clearly and concisely showcase your background and skills. Logicworks' interviewers will ask probing questions that dive deeper into your experiences. Long-winded responses lead the interviewers to believe that you are trying to manufacture an answer. So if you don't know something, it's best to admit it! When asked about specific projects or experiences you've had, make sure you give examples of times when you demonstrated your earned skills in the workplace. Tell meaningful stories, focusing on context, action, and results.
📼 Apart from the job interview, your resume is another way to showcase your skills. There are many different ways to make your resume stand out from the pack. Typically, a resume with certifications like AWS Cloud Practitioner, Solutions Architect, or Azure Fundamentals will stand out more than a profile without any. These credentials prove you have the desire to go above and beyond to sharpen your skillset (even outside your role). And at Logicworks, recruiters like to see strong tenure. So if your profile is a bit hoppy, their team might scrutinize it a bit. They're also looking for candidates that have worked in customer-facing roles. When hiring for a non-technical position, like Accounting or Sales, recruiters like to see intellectually curious candidates!
Ace Your Job Interview At Logicworks - Showcase Your Skills And Shine!
There are a lot of things that Logicworks recruiters look for in candidates. One of them is professionals who embody their core values. Logicworks is a people-first business with a grow-or-die mentality. Suppose someone lacks specific technical skills but makes up for it with personality and attitude. In that case, recruiters will most likely be interested in hiring that person and invest the time to train them on technical skills. So, if you feel you could be a fit for Logicworks, even if you don't check 100% of the boxes, don't feel discouraged to apply!
🧑💼 Are you interested in joining Logicworks? They have open positions! To learn more, click here.
Get To Know Jessica
Jessica is a Technical Recruiter, Content Creator, Licensed Mechanical Bull Operator, and former Musical Theatre major with a Master of Science (M.S.) focused in Marketing Communication Management from Manhattanville College School of Professional Studies. And she’s a proud AWS Certified Cloud Practitioner. Ask her about coffee☕️, skiing 🎿 , musical theatre 🎭 , or punk rock music 🤘🏼🎸! If you are interested in a career at Logicworks, you can connect with her on LinkedIn!
More About Logicworks
Logicworks helps customers migrate, run, and operate mission-critical workloads on AWS and Azure with baked-in security, scalability, and efficiency. Their Cloud Reliability Platform combines world-class engineering talent, policy-as-code, and integrated tooling to enable customers to confidently meet compliance regulations, security requirements, cost control, and high availability. The team of dedicated certified engineers with decades of IT management experience at Logicworks ensures their customers’ success across every stage of the Cloud Adoption Framework.
💎 If you're looking for engineering job opportunities, the engineering team at Turo is the one for you! Watch the video until the end to learn more about growing your technical and soft skills and how you'd impact the business by joining the company!
📼 Make sure to catch all the engineering job opportunities currently available at Turo. In this video, you'll meet Linda Zhang, Director of Engineering at Turo, who will share a bit about the engineering team, how you can thrive, plus what the company looks for in candidates.
📼 Before applying for one of the many engineering job opportunities at Turo, get to know the company and the team. They organize their product development teams by domain: Guest, Host, and Risk Protection, each responsible for an area of their product. Several cross-functional teams exist under each domain, represented by a dedicated product manager and designers. Each group owns the project from the beginning to the end and is responsible for defining the customer experience and delivering on the business metrics that support Turo's goals and mission.
📼 What roles can you find within Turo's engineering job opportunities? The company is hiring engineers on all platforms and at all levels. Specifically, they're looking for senior-level and above with (typically) four-plus years of experience. During your interviews, they will evaluate technical skills and soft skills based on their company core values. On the technical side, the team wants you to be passionate about technology, comfortable in your chosen language, and possess the skills necessary to solve problems efficiently and effectively. You should be able to articulate the trade-offs for your decisions. On the soft skills side, Turo would like you to talk about your experience and projects you're proud of and how you collaborated with and supported others.
Engineering Job Opportunities at Turo - What Do You Need to Thrive?
For you to thrive at Turo, you'll want to exercise the company's four core values: being supportive, down-to-earth, pioneering, and efficient. At Turo, team members help each other, challenge each other, and collaborate. As Linda puts it, "We're humble, transparent, and we lead without being arrogant. We encourage people to get out of their comfort zone and try new things. We're rational and react quickly."
🧑💼 The engineering team at Turo is growing! Make sure you don't miss any of their open positions. To apply, click here.
More About Turo
Turo is the world's largest car-sharing marketplace. You can book the perfect vehicle for your next adventure from a vibrant community of trusted hosts across the US, Canada, and the UK. Recognized as A Great Place to Work®, Turo prides itself on creating a supportive, down-to-earth, pioneering, and efficient work environment. As a community-centered company, they embrace diverse talent from all backgrounds and from all over the globe. They care deeply for their work, for each other, and for their mission to put the world's 1.5+ billion cars to better use.