My decade-long career in tech began accidentally with a weekend job selling TVs, whilst finishing up my education. I was effortlessly hitting all targets and happily took on more hours whilst searching for my post-educational ‘real job’. When finally offered one, though, I was far from delighted. It presented everything I had been taught to value: salary, status, and security. It hadn’t come quickly, either, having invested months to secure it. The voice in my head called me reckless, ungrateful and delusional for not seeing the success in this.
Luckily, I had built a great network – including a mentor. She agreed that my current job would never pay as much as that ‘real’ one but promised to help me grow and unlock so much more if I wanted to stay. That seemed impossible; lacking representation meant believing stability could only come from conventional careers like Law or Medicine, but my mentor’s confidence ignited excitement and hope. Though terrified of disappointing my family, who guided every decision thus far and had already celebrated the job offer, I chose to stay in tech.
Two years on, I’d made TV Product Manager but lack of leadership experience blocked further progression. Unexpectedly, a competitor headhunted me to lead their national sales team but given how hard I’d worked to move from sales to product it felt like regression. Even though I knew it would plug my experience gap, I worried I would fail to make it back to product and the nasty voice returned with a vengeance!
Stepping-stone roles are a great way to progress and I’m so proud that I took the gamble. Fifteen months later I returned to Samsung as Senior PM, leading product development across global AI/IoT platforms and recently secured a Director level Product Management & Engineering role.
This article was written by Nida Choudhary