I'm hoping someone will read and give me some advice.

I started my career as an engineer after I finished my master's in computer science in Germany. I worked as a software engineer doing computer graphics and distributed computing for almost 5 years and I switched to product management due to circumstances in the company.

Since then I've had mixed feelings about product management as a job/career, I have been good at it and I'm at a principal level in a company since 5yrs. I lost my job recently and I'm finding it hard to get a meaningful role where they truly think of product managers as product thinkers and not as program/project managers.

Location also has an influence, I have noticed silicon valley companies value prodcut management much more than others.

Now, my question is - I'm thinking of switching back to an engineering career but I'm afraid my career graph will look fragmented and I'll be judged in the future for neither being a good engineer nor a product manager.

Any advice is highly appreciated, I'd love to hear if someone switched from engineering->pm->engineering.

  • By saying product manager, do you mean product owner? They can have different meaning, in some contexts. Commented Feb 10, 2020 at 11:47
  • If you haven't yet looked at the Pragmatic Marketing framework for product managers, may I suggest you do so? It may help you refine your resume to describe your product-management strengths, and how those might apply to a senior engineer's role.
    – O. Jones
    Commented Feb 10, 2020 at 15:56
  • Hi Sourav, I meant product manager as a role, I'm guessing you mean product owner in agile terms as an internal delivery manager? Commented Feb 11, 2020 at 11:02
  • @O.Jones thanks! didn't know about that framework will check it out. Commented Feb 11, 2020 at 11:03

1 Answer 1


I don't know about the particular circumstances of the German job market, but if I were you I would accompany the CV with a cover letter, where I would explain the reasons for the career change and why I would be a good hire for the company. For instance you could highlight that, because of your past experience, you can negotiate with stake-holders, manage expectations, etc..., and that you have a strong engineering background, having a degree in computer science and having worked as a developer for 5 years.

You may have to accept a more junior role (you are now a principal PO, but you would unlikely be hired as a principal engineer), but career changes are not that unusual and your product experience may prove very useful once you fill the technical gaps.

  • Thank you very much, I have started applying with a cover letter now hopefully it works out. Seniority level was what I was afraid of, unfortuantely a lower title means lower pay Commented Feb 11, 2020 at 11:04

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