Early years and where you came from?
Born and raised in Coimbra, Portugal, I grew up watching the university students proudly showing off their dark robes throughout the city streets. I was 100% sure that one day my turn would come and happily it did. In 2006, I joined the University of Coimbra to learn and experience the academic world, embracing several projects besides my graduation, like belonging to the students’ association, promoting a taste for physics among the youngest in local schools, helping to found a junior enterprise, participating in the creation of the physics’ department magazine, and more. At 23 years old, when I finished my master’s in Engineering, I moved to Lisbon because I wanted to work for a big international enterprise and live in a city of great opportunities.
How were you introduced to the world of the Portuguese tech industry?
For as long as I can remember, my family had a computer at home — even before it took eight floppy disks to store a new video game. My Dad is a crafty person and I grew up seeing all kinds of disassembled devices at home; electronics and beyond. He practiced DIY whenever possible and I always enjoyed watching and learning. Having a mom who is a nurse and an older brother who was in medical school, I became very attentive to the (lack of) quality of life of patients and how technology could help them. So, I started to fall in love with that idea and that’s how I ended up applying for a Biomedical Engineering master’s degree. Later on, already in Lisbon, I realized that, regardless of the industry (healthcare or not), what I was really passionate about was applying technology to a purpose that would resonate with me, to a mission that would make me get up every day.
Walk me through your work and what you are doing now in the tech industry.
After 5 years delivering projects to customers at a large Portuguese consultancy company, I joined OutSystems to discover the amazing world of Products. Here we want every company to be able to innovate through the power of software, and as a Product Manager, I work together with incredibly smart engineers and product designers to allow our customers to make the most out of the platform and be ahead of their competition.
What part of what you do, you love the most?
Feeling that I have a positive impact on the lives of our users is definitely what I’m most excited about at work. For instance, one day I arrived at work and received this emotional feedback from a user thanking us for the product we were building and that he had found in OutSystems the greatest opportunity to finally find a job and provide a better life for his family. I love paying attention to our customers and talking to them, creating new opportunities, and solving their problems, while contributing to the growth of the product. I love following the development teams during the design and implementation and when we celebrate the success of the initiatives in the end.
How do you think that your background and knowledge impact the way you approach your work in the Portuguese tech industry?
My master’s degree gave me all the foundations I needed to apply every engineering concept in any sector or industry. My consulting experience provided me with extreme customer centricity, it gave me a sense of urgency and high-quality standards expectations which are top principles for a fast-paced environment company in hyper-growth as OutSystems. Also, recalling those times really helps me to put in the shoes of OutSystems’ users that are rushing to deliver projects according to their customers’ expectations.
What advice do you have for young women that want to get into tech and don’t know where to start?
Just start, find your purpose, define your goal and focus on it. Follow your path and don’t get distracted — you might not get there as soon as you’d want but you’ll keep getting closer until you make it.
Walk me through a day in your life as a Portuguese women in tech.
I wake up early every day with my baby daughter excited to start the day. I quickly check my agenda for the day and Slack on my iPhone and then we have breakfast together (as we grow in the company, chances are high that there might be a pending reply from someone from a different timezone). She goes off to school and my focus time starts (actually, since I was a mom my concerns of being extra productive during the actual work hours grew exponentially). Given the nature of my job, I don’t actually have 2 equal days, but Zoom meetings are there every day — might it be to talk with other Product Managers aligning on vision and strategy, to interview users to understand their pains, to discuss with engineers and designers the solution for a given outcome or the status of an initiative — you name it. At lunchtime, I try to walk for at least 30 minutes in the neighborhood to exercise, with my partner in crime (remote and its benefits). In the afternoon I can expect more Zoom meetings and perhaps I’ll be processing feedback, checking or defining success metrics, and understanding the best that I can about our customers and the market. The day ends with me picking my baby up from school, playing a bit, and having dinner altogether as a family, bathe her, and put her to sleep. I’ll then finally have some “me” time that I’ll use to watch a tv series or read a book.
What’s the best advice you’ve ever received?
I’ve started my career at Novabase Academy and at the end of those intense two weeks we were told “It takes 10 years to have 10 years of experience” meaning that good things come with effort and there are no shortcuts, and no comparisons should be done. I never forgot that quote.
What apps/software/tools can’t you live without?
WhatsApp to communicate with my parents who are in my hometown Coimbra; TripAdvisor App to check on the next restaurant as I am a food lover; Health App to track how much have I walked in the day; My iPad that I use for several things from taking notes (best of two worlds, digital and “paper”) to online shopping or watching a movie.
Any links that you want to share? In what are you working on…
Get to know a bit more of my work by trying out the OutSystems platform (it’s free!)
👉Find Ângela on LinkedIn