Janell Wilson talks life as a Technical Program Manager at Knowledge Anywhere

TPM and Green River College graduate Janell Wilson
TPM and Green River College Software Development graduate Janell Wilson

Meet Green River College Class of 2019 graduate Janell Wilson. After completing her Associate of Arts degree at Green River, Wilson continued her education by enrolling in the college’s Applied Baccalaureate program in Software Development. After graduation, she landed a role as a Technical Program Manager with Knowledge Anywhere. In the Q and A below, Wilson talks about life as a TPM and offers helpful career tips for college students.

What led you to Green River’s Applied Baccalaureate program in Software Development?

JANELL: I originally visited GRC because I lived and worked in the Kent/Renton area and then I completed my AA at Green River College. When I moved toward Bellevue and started working in Redmond, I checked out Bellevue College but as nice as they were, it was a completely different atmosphere than what I needed. I always felt supported and comfortable at Green River, so as soon as the Software Dev Program was offered, I knew that I would just make the commute.

Can you tell us about your role at Knowledge Anywhere?

JANELL: I am Product Owner of our Learning Management System and Project Manager of our Learning Content Delivery System. High level, I work with 5 developers and 2 QA folks, and manage 3 SaaS Apps. I also manage content development projects as they arise. I try to run our Saas Apps on a Scrum schedule, but we have recently started moving them to a Kanban schedule. In my role, I:

  • Reconcile budgets
  • Schedule hours for the team
  • Run regular standups / refinement /planning meetings
  • Work heavily within our Jira boards / writing tickets, organizing boards etc. as the team needs
  • Hold show and tells and stakeholder meetings
  • Schedule releases
  • Plan software updates / upgrades
  • Present a LOT of ppt for a LOT of different groups within the company 😂

The culture is filled with a lot of humor, support, and a touch of chaos at times, depending on how stable a release was.

What about Green River’s Software Development program prepared you for success in your role at Knowledge Anywhere?

JANELL: All of the presentations we were required to do has really helped in my position. The Java classes. Working with different team member personalities. Group projects. Courses working within an Agile framework also helped me substantially with the position I hold now. My team really appreciates the organization.

Any advice for college students who are looking for work?

JANELL: Good question. I wish I had a magical answer for this because I sent my resume out to numerous companies and it was exhausting, but just part of the process. Although it can be disheartening, try not to let it get to you! Make sure you keep your options open and do not get your mindset stuck in one direction.

I originally wanted a job with a huge company working on really FUN exciting AI type projects, and I ended up in online learning platforms. Not glamorous, but it is a ton of fun and little companies can offer a lot of experience and great compensation. They encourage me to create wireframes / lead a few different Scrum teams / launch new products / do some technical writing / and experience working with numerous companies all over the EU and Asia.

Learn more about Green River College’s Bachelor of Applied Science in Software Development by visiting www.greenriver.edu/software.

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