Jessica Uelmen is the Product Manager at Fitbit and a Product School graduate with a major in electrical engineering. She was featured in a recent podcast by Breaking into Startups and we were excited to hear even more about her success through the interview. She talked about not only how she, a hardware engineer, became a product manager but also how taking the product management course helped her along the way.
Getting into engineering
Growing up Jessica Uelmen was a self-confessed nerd. She loved reading, learning things and most of all she loved computers. She was fascinated by the easiness of sharing thoughts and ideas on the internet. At the age of 13 she built her own website, but in college, she was very interested in musical theater.
Even though she had a great interest in computers and technology, she didn’t think that engineering or programming was a job she could do. It wasn’t until her Sophomore year that she decided to major in electrical engineering.
First job after college
After college, she went on to work at Parallax in their education department designing boards and products and creating projects. There she moved on to be the Engineering manager for the whole company. After a couple of years at Parallax, she wanted to relocate to the Valley.
Because of her passion for education, she got a job as a program manager at Udacity. Udacity is an education company that offers free Nanodegree programs for technical and some non-technical programs. They’re designed to get people jobs by teaching them the skills they need to get the job they want. Jessica wanted to be close to education but also stay close to digital interaction.
Transitioning into product
At Udacity she got interested in Product Management. However, when she asked other people and product managers what the job included, she couldn’t get an undivided definition. Jessica wanted a more solid ground for the whole role. She heard about Product School from a friend and decided to attend it in order to be able to create her own definition to what product management actually was.
At Product School, the part that she liked the most was getting live feedback. She also enjoyed learning from someone who was experienced in product management and that is a product manager in real life.
After the course, Jessica applied for a job at Fitbit for the third time and got the job. She thinks that Product School gave her the confidence to be able to not only speak about product management as a role but to be able to connect all her past experiences to a product role.
Check out Jessica Uelmen in an article From Product School Student to Fitbit PM.
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