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My Journey from a Software Development Intern to a Product Owner with Philips

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Name: Bhavya Mihira

Position: Data Collection Specialist

Location: Bangalore, India


Finding the Root and Growing

I joined Philips straight out of university, with a Masters in VLSI Design and Embedded Systems, incited by my remarkable internship experience with the company during my studies. My first project as an Intern involved developing the Webkit-based internet browser for the Smart TV Blu-ray players. I still recall my surprise and at the same time, my sense of pride, to be given the responsibility to work on one of the latest technologies even though I was a newcomer. While the internship was challenging, it was also an extremely fruitful experience. I learned the importance of perseverance, especially in finding the right answers– to keep pushing, to keep looking, and to stay focused to find the root of the problem. Digging down to the basis of things can often lead you to the most elegant solution.


In terms of technical expertise, working with a small team of senior developers allowed me to grow very quickly and as a result I took on more and more responsibilities. I urge everyone to observe and absorb as much as possible during the early stages of their careers. Until today, I still benefit from much of the knowledge I acquired during my initial years at Philips.


Upon the completion of my studies, I had several offers from major players in the industry, yet my initial Philips experience really stuck with me. My thinking was that if the company had trusted me with such a meaningful task as an Intern, then without a doubt, Philips would be the right choice for continuous professional growth as a full-time employee.  


Connecting with Data and People

After four years as a Software Engineer and a short stint as a Technical Specialist, I started my current role as a Data Collection Specialist last year. Together with the Connected Digital Propositions team, I specialize in connected applications for our consumer products such as the Avance multicooker, the air purifier and the Sonicare toothbrush. My role entails reaching out to the business groups in order to analyze the data points of various app features. By furthering our understanding of user behavior, we are able to provide better solutions. I can proudly say that through my work, I help to continuously optimize the experience of millions of Philips consumers worldwide. Since I am dealing with data, my work is very tangible and I can directly see the impact on people’s lives around the globe! 


Compared to my previous role as a developer – in data collection, interaction and collaboration with my colleagues have become a more integral part of what I do.  While I greatly enjoy this opportunity to form professional connections and bonds, it can still be tricky at times. The more stakeholders there are in a project, the more opinions have to be taken into account. In order to benefit from the many diverse inputs, I have placed great emphasis on refining my collaboration skills and fostering stronger relationships.


In early 2015, I was assigned to develop an app for a children’s toothbrush. This project involved coordinating with teams in the Netherlands and the US. Joining forces across such outspread locations was demanding! It not only required working between diverse time zones but also dealing with different cultures and ways of thinking. This experience taught me that developing real friendships with your teammates not only makes the work easier but also more enjoyable.  Many of my colleagues have become my good friends and I have also felt greatly supported by my leaders. What makes me feel especially valued is the level of mentorship I received during challenging times, both professionally and emotionally!


Shaping Your Career and Ceaseless Learning

I prefer to further my technical skills on my own count and this has worked very well for me. Nonetheless I have also received beneficial training, such as the Product Owner Training, which allowed me to hone my communication and collaboration skills, therefore enabling me to best convey my vision to a team as a key project stakeholder. As I will be taking on a new role as a Product Owner soon, empathy in dealing with multiple contributors will become increasingly important. I am ecstatic to be taking on this new opportunity to stretch myself. This has been my dream role since I started in data collection!


Throughout my four and a half years with the company, my instinctive drive to explore and learn has always been satisfied with various opportunities to do so. Thus far, I have rotated through three different domains and at every stage my superiors have trusted me and given me the chance to take on new challenges.


Here at Philips, you can do your best as a keen learner because of the trust and faith invested in you by your leaders. This is especially crucial as technology is a fast-paced industry where things are constantly changing. When I interview people for our team, I first and foremost look for a thirst for knowledge and potential to learn.