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My journey to product management



Enabling career progression and tapping into our internal talent is something we are endlessly passionate about as a business. Occasionally, an opportunity crops up that makes us all go: “Wouldn’t it just be awesome if we could fill this internally!”. It’s even more amazing when we engage our internal audience, discover hidden talents, interests and motivations and can provide positive momentum to act on these.

Here’s the story of Josh, our Junior Product Manager, who in late 2022 discovered his passion for Product Management...


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We understand you recently kickstarted your career in Product Management. Tell us, how did this come about? 

So, I became aware of the product side of Checkatrade properly last year during the Tech Open Evening. I had worked in the business for roughly a year and a half prior to this had spent my time in Sales and Operations. I have always been a problem solver and enjoyed my time at Checkatrade more than any other workplace. At the time I was feeling a little lost about what to do next and had recently embarked on a mentoring journey with our amazing Lead UX Designer Max, who was helping me to figure out my next move. We decided that due to my history and interest in creativity and technology, the Tech Open Evening was a great place to start. At the Open Evening I spent the entire night talking to the Product and Project Teams about Tech at Checkatrade. As luck would chance it, I had seen the position of Junior Product Manager appear on the careers site the week before and sent in an application a few days before the Open Evening. After talking in depth with the Product Team, I excitedly prepared myself for the interview and couldn’t be happier with how everything turned out!

What attracted you to Product Management? And how did you prepare for this move?

 I am a problem solver at heart. I spent my early teens building computers and taking them apart to find out what went where and how everything worked. I then moved onto civil engineering in college and spent two years as a mechanic before going into Sales. I love finding out why things do and don’t work and how to make them better. I feel like Product Management was tailormade for me. It’s all about finding problems and testing solutions.

What has your first six months in the role been like?

My first six months has been spent mostly learning - it’s meant talking to different teams, finding out how the site works and getting a grasp of what the business goals are and how I can help us get there. I have recently taken ownership of a few products on and am excited to develop them.

What sort of products are you working on?

I currently head up our lead enrichment and funnelling on the site. This involves how we guide homeowners from our homepage and search into the correct categories and subcategories to get their work done by the correct tradespeople. And how we provide our tradespeople with the right information to help them decide if a job is right for them.

What training / support are you getting / have you completed so far? Any further plans for additional training in the year ahead?

I have been on the Mentoring Scheme for the best part of a year now. It’s an amazing resource for anyone looking for career progression. I have also made great use of LinkedIn Learning to acquire new skills as well as the Reforge Program and Coursera for tech courses and training. My plan for the coming year is to begin learning more development skills - things like Python, C++ and Java to gain more of an understanding of how the Developers in my team deal with challenges and how I can be a better Product Manager.

 What’s been one of the coolest things you’ve learned since making the switch? 

The coolest thing I have learned since my switch to Product is how the lifecycle of our products look. From an outside perspective it can be easy to not understand the new features popping up on the site and to respond negatively to the change but when you begin to understand all the work and exploration that’s under the surface of these changes, you begin to see the entire business in a very separate way. It’s completely revolutionised the way I think about Checkatrade.

 We hear you also have a side hustle in photography - which you are putting into good use at work also? Care to share more? 

I officially launched my photography business about 12 months ago, and I have been a practicing photographer for roughly four years. Like Product, it’s not something I studied in school or college but something I became interested in after talking to others in the creative space. I have dedicated a large chunk of my free time to it ever since and I am fortunate enough to now be the Photographer/Videographer in residence for Checkatrade. This has been integral in the rapid growth in my small business. I also offer wedding/event photography, vehicle and fitness photos along with professional portfolio headshots.

Any resources you would recommend to someone interested in a career in Product?

The biggest piece of advice I can give to ANYONE looking to get into Product is to speak up! If you have an interest in what the Product Team do, reach out to me or anyone else in the team. That’s how I got here! As for resources I could go on for days on end but here are a few personal recommendations:


·        Escape the Build Trap by Melissa Perri

·        The Lean Start-up by Eric Ries

·        Start With Why by Simon Sinek

LinkedIn Learning

·        Introduction to Product Management

·        SCRUM the basics

Huge congrats to Josh and thank you for sharing this inspiring career swap!