As we all know, cable is slowly becoming a thing of the past, and streaming services are in. Netflix, Hulu, HBO and Discovery+ are only some of the services that offer audiences across the globe a range of films, television shows and documentaries at the click of a button. On Wednesday afternoon The Werth Institute and the University of Connecticut Data Analytics Club, along with Rashana Weerasinghe as host, welcomed three industry leaders from the Discovery+ team to discuss the ins and outs of product management, software engineering and data analytics.
The panel consisted of three individuals, each who work in a separate field within the company. Christopher Jordan is a Software Engineer IV, Tejal Patted is an Applied Data Scientist II and John Pascual is a Senior Product Manager.
One sentiment all individuals share across the panel is the enrichment that comes along with a cohesive, collaborative environment. While each person has individual tasks, Discovery+ emphasizes the concept of being “one team.”
“Everyone is one team, no matter where you are on the stack, no matter where you are in the company, everyone’s contribution matters,” said Jordan.
Patted see’s this in real play during her own work within the company. One of the biggest challenges within the field that is especially important in her department is the usage of data that has been cleaned, or in other words, simplified to the data that is the most important.
“I really have started appreciating what Chris’s team does,” she said. “They put in so much effort to give us good data.”
Neither parties would be able to excel at their respective tasks without the help of each other, further highlighting the importance of collaborative effort.
Throughout academia, students are always hearing the importance of networking and how meeting the right people can land you in places you had never imagined but love.
Pascual never saw himself as a product manager until a former colleague of his reached out and invited him to come work at Discovery+. While Pascual was initially hesitant, he knew the amazing professional relationship he and his manager had built in the past.
“He’s always been a great manager, so that’s why I’m here,” he said. “Our ways of working mesh so well together, that I just wanted to work in that environment.”
All three panelists have experienced different jobs before being at Discovery+, some of which were not even in the software industry. For some, it was those jobs that taught them imperative skills for where they are now.
Pascual’s education was based around psychology, with his initial career track being in academia. Through lecturing and his time spent as a Fransciscan Friar, Pascual learned necessary skills that he uses daily in his current role.
“I learned how to listen to people empathetically,” he said. “Having a community and listening to how groups of people are talking about things and how they feel about things, and being in that space, and listening to people’s problems is a skill I use.”
While his path may not be traditional, the skills he learned through non-traditional pathways aid him immensely when going about challenges that arise in his professional life.
Jordan began his career through venturing in the start-up culture, where he too learned important lessons that led him to where he is today. He also spent time coaching a professional sport in Canada where he grasped the importance of mentorship. In his current role, he spends a vast amount of time mentoring lower level or newly hired software engineers.
“I live to see the epiphanies and growth of the people I mentor,” he said. “One of my favorite things is mentoring new graduates, I love that one-to-one mentorship.”
While of course there are challenges, Patted touches upon the reward when creating a product that is loved.
“When you actually see that what you did impacted the customer and really liked it, you feel like that is a reward. “You see it probably on your own Discovery+ app, and then you see that my recommendations are doing better than what I had before or something is looking better than what it was before, it just feels so good.”