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Advice / Career Paths / Career Stories

How Working in Product Management Puts You at the “Center of Everything”

Doris Yang, a Vice President of Product Management at CrowdStrike
Doris Yang, Vice President of Product Management at CrowdStrike.
| Courtesy of CrowdStrike

Doris Yang was working as a quality assurance engineer at a software company when she had the chance to take on responsibilities in project and product management. The result? A total career pivot.

“I found that I really enjoyed product management,” Yang says. “It allowed me to answer a lot of the questions that I had at the time, like why we were or were not working on certain features and how customers were actually using our product. Being able to interact directly with customers and understand their needs—and being a voice for them with engineering, sales, marketing, and other teams—was extremely fulfilling.”

From then on, Yang has exclusively worked in product manager roles; today, she’s Vice President of Product Management at the cybersecurity company CrowdStrike. And her background in engineering has only helped her find success.

“The skills that carry over for product management are the ability to break problems down and think logically and critically,” she says.

Here, Yang shares why she knew CrowdStrike was the right fit, why there’s never a dull moment while working in cybersecurity, and her secret to successfully leading a remote team.

What led to your job at CrowdStrike? As someone with experience working for other cybersecurity companies, what stood out about CrowdStrike?

A previous manager actually reached out to me. I initially wasn’t interested, but that was because I didn’t fully realize the extent of CrowdStrike’s portfolio. So many vendors talk consolidation and platform, but CrowdStrike actually delivers on it.

When evaluating new opportunities, I always look for companies that have not only identified an interesting problem to solve, but also have a unique ability to solve it. CrowdStrike’s single sensor technology allows us to continue solving interesting problems on the endpoint and the cloud without any incremental performance impact. That’s huge. Customers are truly able to maximize security with minimal footprint.

You’ve been at CrowdStrike for less than a year. What about the interview and candidate process made you realize the company would be a good fit?

It wasn’t so much the process, but the people and the conversations. I got to talk to a range of extremely smart people across organizations, and I could tell that everyone was genuinely passionate about the company and what they worked on. The people you work with are just as important, if not more, as the technology and the problem it’s trying to solve.

What are you responsible for as a product management leader?

Ultimately, I am responsible for helping my team quickly deliver value to customers. This means shaping vision and strategy, as well as ensuring that all stakeholders are aligned on that common vision and then helping all teams execute as efficiently and effectively as possible.

What is one project you’re working on right now that’s especially inspiring?

I’m fortunate to lead many cool initiatives, and although they may be different product areas, the ultimate value is in how they come together to help customers secure their environments. CrowdStrike leads with a single platform, single console, and single agent. When you think about the problems that security teams face, much of it is related to getting access to relevant information and piecing it together efficiently to make decisions and take action.

The most exciting thing to me is delivering on the CrowdStrike vision of how it all comes together to help security teams promptly identify and remediate security incidents. The CrowdStrike platform is greater than the sum of its parts, and working toward that common goal is especially inspiring.

Why is now an especially exciting time to work in cybersecurity, and specifically at CrowdStrike?

Compared to 20 years ago, everyone is acutely aware of cybersecurity and how it can impact day-to-day life. The stakes are higher and the threats more rapidly evolving, but the vendor technology has also never been more advanced. There’s never a dull moment in cybersecurity these days, and being part of an organization that’s focused on stopping breaches has been extremely fulfilling. We help organizations stop breaches so that they can focus on delivering their business. If you want to get cheesy about it, we help businesses make the world go round.

What have been the keys to leading a team in a remote-first environment?

Communication and connection on a human level. When you’re remote-first, you really need to be deliberate about communication and nurturing a human connection with every individual on your team. In the absence of day-to-day interactions, you need to find ways to replace those random hallway conversations because those help build relationships with your coworkers and also may lead to the next great idea.

What’s your favorite part about working in product management?

I love product management because it’s at the center of everything. It’s great exposure to all of the moving parts that make a product—and business—successful.

What is the best career advice you’ve received, and how does it still help you today?

Don’t wait for others to provide you with opportunities. Advocate for yourself and ask for what you want. I’m still working on this myself!