As a leading tech employer in the East, we want to showcase some of the diverse roles and routes into tech. Today we meet Product Owner, Sarah Roberts.
What is your role at Epos Now and what does that involve?
I'm the Product Owner in the Software Department at Epos Now. Being the Product owner means I collate user feedback from our users, and look at the industry to collate ideas about missing features and functionality on our system. Once collated, I work with the rest of the product team to spec these features to make the best user experience for our customers. I manage the Software roadmap, train the business on each Software release and do my best to keep the Software department a happy bunch!
What previous education/work experience helped hone your skills to get you where you are now?
My degree is in Linguistics; which is the study of phonology, phonetics and morphology. Nothing to do with Software development! I started off working in a University Library, and found myself doing a lot of the IT training and assistance. I then went to work for Norfolk Constabulary in their IT department and was soon promoted to a Business Analyst. When the position at Epos Now came up for a Business Analyst I thought it was a great opportunity to use my skills as a BA at the police to bring the Epos Now product to a place where we were keeping up with the industry and disrupting the tech industry even though it was just a start up!
Have you picked up any new skills in your role?
- Time management - I set myself deadlines which match the deadlines of the business. Sometimes it feels like everything at Epos Now seems to be needed yesterday! So setting deadlines and knowing who to chase up by what date has helped me organise myself and the Software department.
- User feedback - Collating feedback directly from our customers is so important to progress the product. We use a multitude of tools and techniques to do this, and Epos Now has allowed me to explore the best ones and run campaigns in drumming up more engagement with these.
- Industry knowledge - I've learnt a huge amount about POS systems and the Hospitality and Retail industry from all the competitor analysis and research that I need to do on a daily basis.
- Marketing knowledge - Before starting at Epos Now, I didn't know the importance of using keywords in blog posts, social media engagement statistics or anything about Adwords. Learning how to use these in my role as taught me an area of the business that I didn't know anything about and given me a great insight into it's importance.
What skill is most critical and why?
Collating and managing user feedback is essential in the Product Team. We couldn't build our features and research POS systems unless we understand what our users want from the product.
Can you offer any advice to someone starting out?
If you see a gap in knowledge, organisation or ownership do your best to not only notify others, but work to fill that gap! Showing that you can use your initiative and be proactive in helping areas of the business outside of your own helps businesses grow, and shows that you have great skill in using your initiative. It also teaches you things that you wouldn't normally be exposed to and is a great way of building relationships with stakeholders and colleagues outside of our own department!
If you would like more information on the #MySkillsStory movement, check out City and Guilds. If you'd like to see if your skills are a good fit for the roles we have, check out the Epos Now career pages.