Joined in: 2018
Job title: Product Manager
Sceaf joined Advanced as Sports and Entertainment Product Manager, having previously worked for the London Stock Exchange. He has since taken on ownership of Advanced’s cross-product platform, MyWorkplace. He talks to us about starting out in your career, and how to continue developing as a professional.
Can you tell us a little bit about your background and journey to Advanced?
My background is actually in economics and financial market infrastructure – after a sales and trading internship, I started on the London Stock Exchange Group graduate programme, where I took a permanent role in product management for a derivative transaction reporting software product. It was a highly complex and niche area, so when I made the decision to leave London, I applied for a range of different roles in all sorts of industries. I was hired by Advanced to manage the Sports and Entertainment products, and now also manage MyWorkplace, our cross-Advanced platform for making work easier.
What advice do you have to anyone looking to start their career?
Whatever role you find yourself in, carefully analyse and then challenge the status quo. Either you will find yourself empowered to make changes, or you will find that the organization you work for is not inclined to change the status quo, and that the longer-term prospects for both you and your employer are diminished. This is useful, actionable information which you can use to make decisions about your longer-term career.
At the beginning of your career, the stakes are extremely high – your choice of job and success massively influence your path. Consistently look to demonstrate that you can do and achieve more than the requirements of your entry-level role, and find an employer who empowers you to do that.
How do you keep learning and developing yourself in your own role?
I try to learn at least a little bit about everything I encounter – whether that be technical platforms and tools, market sectors, or nuances of the software product lifecycle and delivery. Changing roles is also one of the best things you can do to keep learning and challenging yourself – I have seen people work for decades in the same sector and role, and it creates highly specialized, useful people – but not people adapted for a world that is constantly changing. If you ever find yourself starting to stagnate, ask questions of both yourself and your employer.
What is the best career advice you have ever received?
I can’t pinpoint a particular piece of advice, but know that the best advice for you will depend on who you are. Seek out feedback from those around you, and you likely find out how you can improve. Receiving feedback seems trivial, but can be incredibly discomfiting – just have confidence in your ability to achieve what you have so far, and have confidence that you can make many of the changes needed to achieve more.
What do you find most rewarding about your job?
The most rewarding thing is seeing a change that I’ve identified and asked the team to develop positively impact someone’s lives. That’s what my role is all about – improving our products such that they make things better for someone somewhere, and having been involved in the process from the identification of a problem all the way through to solution design and delivery, it can be incredibly rewarding to see it make a positive difference.
If you weren’t in your current role, what would you be doing?
When applying for this job, I also received an offer to work as a product manager for a pharmaceutical labelling software company. It was a great opportunity – solid company growth prospects, modern product, and lots detail to get involved with. However, ultimately it was slightly too similar to my previous role (very regulation-focussed), and I felt that I could learn more and do more at Advanced given the wide range of markets in which we operate. That being said, if I was offered the job as a food critic, I’d probably be doing that in no time!