Dhriti Nath is Product Manager at financial inclusion tech company NOW Money – but her career could have been very different as she holds a Bachelor’s degree from Vellore Institute of Technology, in Mechanical Engineering.

Tell us a bit about yourself, background and your current role?

I have been at Dubai based payroll and banking app NOW Money for just about 4 months and have been in the Product Management industry for three years. NOW Money provides mobile banking services for workers of all income levels, who may have previously found themselves overlooked and underserved. Financial inclusion is at the heart of NOW Money in its aim to provide equal access to financial services.

I am very passionate about the NOW Money mission and vision. It gives me a sense of purpose and satisfaction knowing that we work to make the lives of migrant workers here in the UAE easier. On a more personal note, my parents moved to Dubai in 2008 from Kenya and this helped me in two ways. Firstly, being exposed to diverse cultures at a very young age gave me the mindset and ability to understand different people which is a skill I bring to work everyday to help me relate and understand our users to the best of my ability. Secondly, having lived in Dubai for the past 15 years, this has really helped me understand the migrant workers here, including their mindset and struggles.

Our target audience is blue collar migrant workers and we build a financial services app which gives them access to a whole range of previously unattained services including remittance market place, early wage access, access to a digital bank account and all the benefits of an online bank including international transfers, online payments, fraud protection and a prepaid card which they can use across Dubai in an increasingly cashless world.

I work on developing the app on the B2B side of our business model, ensuring the app is delivering for our business customers which are the employers, Finance Managers, HR Managers and CEOs. I ensure the product delivers an effective payroll solution which benefits the employer but also gives financial freedom and independence for the employees who are traditionally excluded from the digital financial world due to their migrant status. Our team works hard in creating experiences on the app which are easy to use for our users. There is a lot of research, customer interviews and prototype testing which goes into every tweak on the app. Aditionall, we are always trying to fill the needs of our users and this is where product discovery is at the core of what I do- this helps ys determining the best products to build which satisfy our users.

Did you ever sit down and plan your career? 

The simple answer is no, absolutely not. I graduated in the midst of a global pandemic in 2020 and there were no job opportunities at all for me. I hustled my way into working for a startup in the HR Tech space initially and then I moved to a bigger company which provided payment solutions for companies, employees and merchants for a couple of years before moving to my current role at NOW Money. I didn’t really plan my career, I just planned on upskilling the core skills I had and focus on my passion for being very customer centric.

I knew I wanted a career in tech and I really liked the stakeholder management and moral element of creating products and services that actually provided value into people’s lives. So I up-skilled on my foundational skills and found my way into Product Management.

Have you faced any career challenges along the way and how did you overcome these?

Everyone has career challenges and I am no different. I knew from the very beginning that I wanted to get into Tech focused Product Management but there is no clear cut way of how to get into this sector and this was a huge challenge for me. There is no ‘one size fits all’ solution so I had to do my research and network hard. The more traditional route is to be a Product Designer and move into Product Management or you could completely pivot your initial training like I did but it came with its challenges.

There was a big gap in sources and knowledge available online as well as information on how to navigate your way into finding roles in this profession. I had to reach out to lots of people who worked as Product Managers who had slightly similar backgrounds to my engineering training. I reached out to them to understand what they do on a daily basis, and created case studies to demonstrate how my skills are relevant to Product Management. Even though I didn’t have direct experience I would take this knowledge to companies and demonstrate how my skills are all transferable to this career.

Thankfully, I did end up getting jobs in Product Management but the biggest challenge for me is that there was no clear way of entering this job market, but of course, you can figure it out if you have the determination and ambition. I wasn’t going to give up on this career change and that kept me going.

What has been your biggest career achievement to date?

I think in my career, the biggest thing I have done is pivot from something I did not like to something I actually really love doing. I worked hard at upskilling myself and made sure I met like minded people and read a lot of online resources until I was able to find the right people who guided me. One person eventually became my mentor and introduced me to opportunities and therefore for me, this entrepreneurial spirit, grit and determination to enter a career which didn’t follow my educational career path is my biggest career achievement.

What one thing do you believe has been a major factor in you achieving success?  

Major factors for success include a really good combination of constantly learning new things and upskilling yourself. I’ve been able to do this from online sources and reading books or listening to podcasts which are all readily available online and mostly for free. The biggest factor, however, is learning from other people and networking with people, especially with Product Managers who work in different industries.

At the core of our industry, we’re all solving problems and it’s always really interesting to understand the thinking patterns of different people, how they manage stakeholders and essentially how they create value in their company. Therefore constant learning from other people, working on yourself and of course, regular up-skilling is key.

What top tips would you give to an individual who is trying to excel in their career in technology? 

My top tip is a continuation of what I have said previously – keep learning new skills constantly because methodologies in tech, and tech itself changes every minute. Therefore, you need to keep up with all of this by reading online sources and news and always being in the know about your industry. This industry is fast paced and you need to keep bettering yourself to keep up with it.

An example of this, is that even though I’m a Product Manager, I am currently learning about SQL because it helps me to analyse the health of my products better and it also reduces my dependencies on other people in terms of gathering data. This is a clear example of the importance to continue to grow and evolve as industries, products and culture do and to always try to fill holes in your skill set.

Another important tip is to network as much as you can because you never know who you might meet. You’ll also find knowledge and exciting opportunities. Finally, I found several amazing mentors which have really guided me in my journey of being a Product Manager and this has been a huge benefit to me. Reach out to people and ask if they would like to mentor you, you never know unless you ask.

What barriers for women working in tech, are still to be overcome?

I don’t think in terms of opportunities, there are barriers for success. I’ve seen a lot of companies, my company included, who will look at hiring and skillset and there are no gender biases in the hiring process. The most important thing is finding the right people for the job regardless of their gender.

I think companies have made huge efforts towards equality in terms of hiring and looking at what skills they need to bring into the team therefore I personally have not experienced barriers to success based on my gender. Find companies which have strong equality and inclusion policies at the heart of them, or even better, work for a female founded company such as NOW Money, which was Co Founded by Kat Budd and women will have exactly the same opportunities as men.

What do you think companies can do to support and progress the careers of women working in technology?

Supporting female careers starts with how a company and its policies focuses on nurturing and providing training and development opportunities for women currently working there. This is a great way of increasing job satisfaction, showing a person’s value to a company and ultimately helps women to achieve their full potential within the industry.

In an ideal world, how would you improve gender diversity in tech?

I believe there’s a huge gap within working communities where women can really learn from other women particularly in tech and provide mentorship to people who are still in their early stages of their journey.  I would really like to build an online local networking community which would focus on empowering women to ask for higher salaries or job promotions or a place where women in tech can ask for advice on tech related issues.

I feel some women tend to underestimate themselves, which ends up stopping them from reaching heights in their careers, but by offering a safe space to discuss this would be a huge benefit.

What resources do you recommend for women working in tech?

I love ‘Inspired’ by Marty Cagan, a book called ‘Never Split The Difference’ by Chris Voss and  ‘Continuous Discovery Habits’ by Teresa Torres. Also, ‘Zero to One’ by Peter Thiel and ‘Hooked’ by Nir Eyal are my favourites and have taught me alot about products, people and culture.

And in terms of podcasts and videos, I really enjoy the ‘Mind the Product’ content and Medium is a great platform to discuss and read shared articles by other Product Managers around the world.

About NOW Money

Founded in 2016, NOW Money provides mobile banking services for workers of all income levels, who may have previously found themselves overlooked and underserved. Financial inclusion is at the heart of NOW Money in its aim to provide equal access to financial services.

NOW Money gives all customers access to its mobile banking app, providing low-cost financial services including local and international mobile top-up, use of contactless Visa card for online and card transactions and cross-border money transfers at the lowest exchange rates to be able to send money to their families back home.  The social enterprise has won over 20 awards internationally for financial inclusion and is backed by the world’s best-known fintech venture capital funds, banks and regulators.

To find out more about NOW Money, visit https://nowmoney.me/or follow on Twitter  and LinkedIn.