Industry Insiders: E-Commerce

This edition of Industry Insiders is focused on the world of TECH.

We’ve all heard of software engineer roles but what about other functions in tech? What if you’re not the “techy” type? Follow us on @atherdeskco and subscribe to learn more over the next few weeks as we uncover various roles in technology companies.

We’re kicking it off with insights from JP (28 years old) who works in an e-commerce company based in the U.S. Thanks so much for sharing, JP!

Q: What is your official work title?

Program Manager


Q: How would you explain your job to a 15 year old?

I’m a member of our delivery service team which ensures that customers receive their order on time. As a program manager, I define the program's strategy and create a plan to achieve a greater business objective. To do this, I manage several strategic projects that are interconnected to help me achieve that goal. These projects are not all ones that I myself can execute, but instead rely on several cross functional partners each within their expertise to complete the project.

Q: What are some things you are responsible for?

I'm responsible for keeping costs low, while maintaining a high quality customer experience. To do this, I have to come up with innovative options to delight customers and provide experiences that other companies don't offer. I work with various stakeholders across the organization to implement strategies and then measure the impact of those projects to understand how we are trending towards our goal.

Q: Tell us about “the good, the bad, and the ugly” of your role?

The Good:

  • I work with smart, driven individuals from all walks of life. Our team has ex Navy SEALs, chemical engineers, and people straight out of college all working in tech.

  • I get the unique opportunity to be exposed to direct VP level feedback, whereas in more traditional companies, you wouldn't necessarily experience this. This allows me to move up in the organization faster.

  • Because it's such a fast paced environment with very high standards, the rate at which you learn is incredible.

The Bad:

  • It's a competitive environment, which makes it difficult to get collaboration and support from team members and cross functional partners.

The Ugly:

  • A small degradation in a metric can spark an onset of questions from leadership that need to be answered immediately, which can be very stressful as it needs to be articulated well and is not always in your control.

Q: What skills have you learned while on the job?

Project management skills, influencing stakeholders, analytics, understanding metrics and how to truly assess problems and solutions. There's always a solution to a problem!

Q: What skills do you have to have to be successful in your role?

You have to be very organized in order to stay up to date on the multiple projects you are leading as well as navigating the organization to identify the right stakeholders to get buy-in at the right levels.

Q: How is your performance measured?


As a program manager, performance is measured based on achieving set goals, delivering projects, and demonstrating leadership qualities.

Q: What are the best perks that come with the job?

  • Concerts from top performers, high profile speakers including Sheryl Sandberg.

  • Flat organization with open door policies that make me feel empowered to make my own decisions.

  • Participation in beta launches

  • I get to wear whatever I want every day!

Q: What is the ratio of female to male in your direct team?

3 female : 7 male

Q: What do you think is the biggest misconception about working in a tech firm?

Not everyone is an engineer or working on applications. Tech is a good example of work hard play hard. It's not all about beer kegs and ping pong.

We hope this gave you a good taste of a role in an e-commerce company in the tech world! Stay tuned for more.