Women in Tech® Romania (WIT) organized an event about “Demystifying Product Management” on November 23, 2023, in partnership with Innovation Labs and UiPath. The event marks the second edition of the “Make IT your Own Way” series, aiming to promote various career opportunities and provide necessary resources. The event is interactive, allowing participants to find answers to their questions with the help of experts. It covers different areas, from certifications to academic resources, attracting a diverse audience in terms of seniority, specialization, and industry backgrounds. The WIT community includes passionate students as well as courageous individuals undergoing professional reconversion.
An event at the heart of Women in Tech’s mission
“When organizing such events, we embody the core of Women in Tech’s mission: spotlighting exciting professionals, role models, innovative companies and partnering with key actors in Romanian Tech; we facilitate knowledge and experience sharing in an interactive setting. Our aim is to inspire, empower and provide perspectives, without taboo. Tonight, we witnessed an authentic exchange.” said Marion Hegarty, Chapter Ambassador of Women in Tech Romania. “Audience gratitude for content quality and conversation is the best measure of success. Product management is a dynamic IT role open to very diverse backgrounds. While a passion for tech is essential, it’s primarily about orchestrating, negotiating, learning, building trust, and resilience. We’ve recently seen a boom in job opportunities for ‘Product Manager’ in Romania, presenting great career options for business analysts, developers, and project managers. So, it seemed to be the perfect time to offer an event to our community.”
Hosted by UiPath and full-house, the event saw over 60 experienced individuals aspiring to pursue a career as a Product Manager. This challenging role continues to expand in the IT industry in Romania. PMs are responsible for product strategy, development, and performance, coordinating multiple teams and adapting quickly to changes. The event addressed topics such as PM responsibilities, daily activities, their role in a team and company, and the essential skills required for this position.
In an interactive event moderated by Oana Groza, PR expert and founder of Wfounded, 5 Product Managers shared their experiences: Iulia Istrate, Senior Director of Product Management at UiPath; Stelian Crișan, Senior Product Manager at Adobe Analytics; Raluca Alina Laic, Senior Product Manager at UiPath; Flavia Husar, Product Owner at FLOWX.AI; and Ana Velicaru, Product Manager at Google Wearables.
Insights from the experts on Product Management and transitioning into such a role:
For Flavia Husar, “Leading without authority” is the main quality of a Product Manager. “You don’t need to be an IT specialist or an expert in all fields to become a Product Manager. You must have great confidence in your team. Moreover, you need to learn about the business of your product and the technologies it is built on.”
As an inspirational career path, Ana Velicaru started as a developer, and her PM career began through an internship. Stelian was initially a university math professor. After a few years in academia, he made a career shift to become a developer and is a Senior PM after 13 years at Adobe.
Concerning key skills, Ana Velicaru considers curiosity, technical competence, leadership, and diplomacy as the most important ones. Stelian believes negotiation skills are instrumental, interacting directly with developers and various departments, from security and legal to marketing.
Working in a startup, Flavia values the opportunity to shape a product and leave her mark on it. Raluca Alina Laic has the chance to turn ideas into reality and optimize processes for herself and those around her.
Advice for future Product Managers. Ana Velicaru: “Be curious. Be dynamic and ready for change. There’s no specific way to lead a product. We all have different approaches. There’s no right or wrong in Product Management.” For Stelian Crișan, 3 mantras: Understand the business, connect with people. And take a break, and then you’ll find the solution”. Flavia Husar: “1. Research to know what type of PM you want to be and explore the role in the company you’re applying to. 2. Keep learning.”
Statistics about women in tech
The European Union faces gender underrepresentation in Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM). While women represent 52% of the European population and university graduates in the EU, only 20% of scientists and engineers are women, as well as 17.9% of engineering and technology professors (according to the European Commission). Romania ranks third with 26.2% of IT&C specialists in Romania being women, according to Eurostat. Despite a better representation of women in the IT field, only one in five girls studies computer science (2023 Google study).
According to a McKinsey Digital study, if the share of women in technology were to double to around 45% by 2027, the IT industry could achieve gender equality and benefit from a GDP growth of up to €600 billion.
These statistics underline the ongoing need to promote diversity and gender equality in technology, principles that form the basis of WIT’s mission.