Engineering and Product
Shaleen Kaur, Product Specialist at Vend by Lightspeed
From aspiring fashion designer to getting her masters degree in computer applications, Shaleen Kaur, Product Specialist at Vend by Lightspeed has no regretted her decision to work in the tech industry.
We caught up with Shaleen to learn more about how she navigated the early stages of her career into tech, how a Product Specialist differs from a Product Manager and what she loves about her day-to-day working at Vend. Thanks for sharing your story, Shaleen.
“I would say that I help people who want to grow and start awesome businesses.”
Firstly, how would you explain to a five year old what it is you do?
I would say that I help people who want to grow and start awesome businesses. I also give them the tools that help them to modernise their business and stay ahead.
And for the adults, what does that translate to in regards to your day-to-day?
My role as a Product Specialist enables me to gather a wealth of knowledge and insights from our support teams and deliver it to the product teams. I also connect with our retailers on a daily basis and address their product related questions.
What are some of the common misconceptions about working as a Product Specialist?
One of the most frequent clarifications that I have to provide while explaining my role is how I am different from a product manager. Even though both roles sound quite similar, there is a difference between them.
The way I explain these roles is that the product specialist normally carries the product vision to the support team and provides feedback to the product teams whereas Product Managers are typically decision-makers in drafting the product strategy, such as what feature the engineers should build next for example.
“I actually wanted to be a fashion designer but never had good drawing skills.”
Was working in tech something you dreamed about doing as a kid, if not what was?
I actually wanted to be a fashion designer but never had good drawing skills. It eventually turned out to be an unachievable dream. Tech has always intrigued me and that’s why I ended up doing my masters in computer applications. To be honest, I really don’t regret doing that.
Tell us a little bit more about your career journey and ultimately about how you ended up working at Vend by Lightspeed?
After completing my masters, I wanted to land myself in an entry-level job where I could use the technical knowledge that I gained during my course and also get some exposure to a good workplace. As they say, getting your first job is always hard, so I started as a volunteer in public libraries where I used to teach computers.
I then worked as a customer service representative in an electricity company. Both of these jobs gave me enough exposure and skill set to write up on my resume. I then applied for a support role at Vend where I worked for more than two years and finally got promoted to a product specialist role.
“..continue to learn no matter what stage of your career you are in or what age you are at.”
What is the best piece of career advice you have ever received?
You can continue to learn no matter what stage of your career you are in and regardless of your age. When you learn continuously, you can gain more skills and be flexible and adaptable in your career path. Having a willingness to learn is a highly valued attribute in today's workforce.
What do you love about working at Vend by Lightspeed?
Other than Vend’s own unique vibe and culture, the thing I love the most is that I have a great degree of control and freedom within my job. I work full-time, both in the office and remote, and my boss trusts me to produce high-quality work and results.
I work hard to maintain that level of trust, which keeps me engaged and excited — but at the same time, I love that my job enables me to enjoy my other passions in life.
“We do everything we can to ensure they don’t just like us, they love us.”
Lastly, Vend by Lightspeed continues to grow and evolve, what are the key traits and characteristics of people that will be well placed to work there?
One of the characteristics that I believe a person should foster is the ability to delight our retailers. Here at Vend, we put ourselves in our retailers’ shoes. We do everything we can to ensure they don’t just like us, they love us. We can only win when they do. If you are someone who wants to join our mission through helping retailers, then ride along!