Apptega Employee Spotlight Interview
We are excited to be spotlighting David Stromquist, a product owner at Apptega. Originally, David started as an independent consultant with Apptega, but with increased knowledge of the Apptega platform and the cybersecurity industry, David came on board full-time. Growing from cybersecurity consulting to product management and driven by a strong passion for work and work ethic, David tells us more about his journey in product management.
Read more to see a glimpse into David's day-to-day tasks as a product owner and how his career has grown at Apptega in our quick Q&A below.
Q: What excites you the most about working at Apptega?
A: Apptega has rapidly grown over the past two years that I’ve been here. I have seen the company double in size, from both an employee standpoint and a customer standpoint. The fast-paced growth environment has been really stimulating.
Apptega provides a great opportunity to grow in the direction you want your career to go, understand different roles, and expand on that for your future. I have found it to be a great opportunity to grow my career and understand the cybersecurity industry. With my two years at Apptega, I’ve gotten to wear a lot of different hats. I have gone from cybersecurity consulting to product management.
Another thing that excites me is the fast-paced environment. No days are the same, there are always new challenges. The challenges promote growth and a lot of communication with your team.
Q: What is your favorite part about your role as Product Owner?
A: My favorite thing is working with key stakeholders, leaders on the team, and customers to scope out new features to understand what the industry is looking for. Also, developing an advisory board to ask questions, demo the product, and understand customer needs before we release new features to the product.
As a product owner, I enjoy writing detailed user stories, creating new feature ideas, developing mock-ups, building workflows, understanding how the user would go through the product and how they would use the tool.
Q: How has your career grown since starting at Apptega?
A: I started as an independent consultant with Apptega. I was doing technical writing, writing many policies, getting those approved, and implementing the Apptega policies for our security program. I came on board full-time in a cybersecurity solution consultant role, continued the technical writing side of things, as well as, worked with the product team to write requirements and define different workflows.
Apptega’s Audit Manager was something that Armistead Whitney (CEO at Apptega) came to me to help develop in the early stages of my career at Apptega and it is amazing to see it come to fruition.
I then decided that I wanted to focus on the product through product management, improving the product, and building new features. I was promoted to the ‘Product Owner’ role last April, so now every day is different. Collaborating with different people on different projects, building new requirements, and trying to develop workflows that define Apptega as a great product and solution.
Q: What is your favorite part about working with the product management team?
A: It’s definitely working with smart people in a start-up organization. It’s a smaller team but we have a lot of people who have had many different experiences in the industry. Being able to ask them questions, understand their point of view, and how they used their experience in previous roles to bring that knowledge to Apptega, ensures that we are developing an industry-leading product.
I enjoy working in this fast-paced environment and wearing a lot of different hats. The aspect of always innovating and analyzing opportunities to build out new features within the product and improve the product so that as a whole, the product is ‘easy-to-use’ with fewer clicks, is very rewarding to me.
Q: Are there any challenges you’ve faced in your career and how have you overcome them?
A: The biggest challenge to me has been time management. With my busy day-to-day tasks, I also have a to-do list that continues to grow. So, prioritizing my time, where it can best be used for the platform is important, whether that’s doing content manager tasks, like focusing on frameworks, or innovating and developing new content for the platform. Sometimes I have to shift focus for the team, but it’s a vital skill to have to keep things running smoothly within my role and in helping the team be successful.
Q: What would be your top advice for anyone looking to start a career in product management?
A: Although I had a degree in Information Systems Management, you don’t need too much of a technical background. Surprisingly, a lot of people might think they need a background in coding or SQL knowledge. However, without a technical background, if you have an open mind, a strategic mindset, and can take the time to understand the product/development life cycle, you can be successful.
For someone starting their career, spend time looking at different things you can do to meet company goals. Organizations have a vision for the product, so understand that vision. Spend a good bit of time in the product, understand the different user interfaces and how they represent the organization, and understand the overall goal of the organization. Find areas of product management that challenge you, pinpoint those, ask your peers, and try to understand how you can grow in those different areas of product management.
Q: Outside of work, what are some other things that you’re passionate about?
A: I’m very passionate about work, but outside of it, I enjoy golfing and snow skiing. Snow Skiing is one of my all-time favorite hobbies, I’ve skied since I was 3 years old and love the challenge. I also love traveling with my fiancé, spending time with family and friends, enjoying weekends at the lake, being outdoors, and exploring Atlanta (at breweries, wineries, etc.).
Q: What is something people don’t know about you?
A: Most people don’t know that I am of Swedish heritage. My grandfather emigrated from Sweden and started a business in the U.S. We have a large family in Sweden, which gives us a great opportunity to travel there and experience the different culture.
Q: If you could live anywhere in the world, where would you live? Why?
A: I’d say London and there are a few reasons why. A couple of years ago, I had the opportunity to do audit work in Europe. I was working in Prague and the UK, and it was a great experience to see how organizations differ in Europe from here. London would allow me to travel, see more of Europe, eat amazing foods, and learn how Apptega can benefit European organizations with Cybersecurity. Although I am an Atlanta, GA native and see myself living here for the long term it would be an incredible experience to live in London for a few years.
Q: Where is your happy place in Atlanta?
A: I wanted to say Lake Rabun in Northeast Georgia, but if we’re talking just Atlanta, I’d say the golf course with friends and family.
Are you looking to jump-start your career in cybersecurity? Check out our careers page for open roles.