Working As A Product Manager In Tokyo

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In today’s article, we interview Sora Maruyama, a graduate of Code Chrysalis’ 6th Immersive cohort. Sora now works as a Technical Product Manager at Moneytree.

She offers some valuable insight on the challenges of completing a coding bootcamp as well as the benefits (both mental and tangible) gained in the aftermath.

What is your job now?

After graduation, I started to work at Moneytree as a Technical Product Manager. It’s a company with a really strong technical framework and everyone there is fantastic.

It hasn’t even been a month since I was hired, but I’m basically in charge of agile development of mobile apps.

Right now I’m reviewing over 100 user stories, and compared to my previous workplace the number of engineers is much higher here. So I’m really looking forward to learning as much as I can about the process of software development from a manager’s perspective.

What did you do before Code Chrysalis?

I used to work as a Product Manager at a US-headquartered digital market company, and was mostly in charge of designing the business process for products using APIs to connect CRM and platforms.

How did you hear about Code Chrysalis?

I went to a 2 hour Meetup for beginners to Javascript taught by Yan (Code Chrysalis’ CTO) and was surprised by how interesting and clearly she explained everything!

I decided I wanted to learn more, and I also really wanted to become able to master these topics in the same way. Before then, I had actually visited Code Chrysalis, but the moment that made me start thinking seriously about it was definitely the workshop.

What ultimately made you decide to study at Code Chrysalis?

It was Yan!

I thought that if she taught me, I would be able to truly master programming. So rather than wanting to study at Code Chrysalis specifically, I originally thought:

“I want to be taught by Yan.”

First, I enrolled in their 1-month, part-time Introduction to Programming class (Foundations) so that I could study while working. I wasn’t actually interested in the Immersive course at the time.

Before meeting Yan, I actually used to study Java, Ruby, and other random programming languages when I had time off. This continued for about 3 years. But I never gained the skill to actually use these languages at work, so in my mind, the idea of taking time off work and studying coding all day for 3 months seemed like a bad joke.

But something changed during Foundations, and I started to feel like I wanted to develop these skills further. That was when I started aiming for the Immersive. Of course I had moments where I felt nervous or unsure, but that was overshadowed by my desire to change myself.

There were a lot of hurdles to actually enrolling in the course — I had to take the technical interview twice before passing, then I had to deal with the paperwork for taking time off work, the financial aspect of taking 3 months off, and so on. And after that, I also had some anxiety over the class itself and how things would turn out afterward.

What challenges did you face in the Immersive?

I have a lot of pride, so it was very difficult for me to accept that there were some things I couldn’t understand at first. I also got kind of depressed from comparing myself to my classmates. I didn’t think I wanted to become a software engineer after graduation, so I also worried that I wasn’t fully participating in the course.

I also felt stressed about how continuously new topics kept on getting introduced — I felt like I couldn’t find my bearings. It felt like I had to bear three months where my brain was totally out of order. But I was able to get through it.

Was there anything unexpectedly fun or motivating during the course?

After returning to work, I felt so happy that I had chosen APIs as the theme of my Tech Talk during the Immersive. When I first chose APIs as my topic, I was actually worried that it would just be interesting and nothing more.

But it ended up being very closely related to my job, and thus really helpful. Because I had the experience of actually building an API, I’ve been able to enjoy talking about them in various situations since then. In today’s society, there are a lot of people who aren’t able to review code but still need to understand APIs for their work.

How did you change after the course?

As just one example, I became able to study things on Youtube. I had no idea there were so many good tech talks on the platform.

I’ve also stopped feeling so nervous about technical topics, and can converse with engineers using technical language which makes it a lot easier to work together.

And as I become better at tech, my employability has also improved, and I feel way more confident in my ability to work across industries. I really noticed that during my job search.

Do you have any advice for future students?

Be brave, and dive in!

Don’t get in your head too much, and just do your best while you’re in the course. If you can, I’d recommend finding an engineering mentor who understands Node.js and can occasionally meet with you to have problem-solving sessions.

What’s important here is understanding that you may be unable to solve certain problems. And with more difficult problems, it is very common to be unable to solve them within a set time limit. It’s the same even if you have a mentor — they can’t always solve everything.

It’s so valuable to realize that even experienced engineers can have a difficult time solving certain problems.

Code Chrysalis is a Tokyo-based 🗼 coding school providing a full-time and part-time programming courses in English and Japanese. Join us in-person or take our classes remotely. See why we are an industry leader in technical education in Japan 🗾.

We also put on free workshops and events for the community, so follow us for the latest!

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