Episode 19: Switching Job Functions

Angie Chang: Welcome to the Girl Geek X podcast, connecting you with insights from women in tech. This is Angie, founder of Girl Geek X and Women 2.0.

Sukrutha Bhadouria: Hi. This is Sukrutha. I’m, by day, an engineering manager.

Gretchen DeKnikker: This is Gretchen, and I’ve been working in tech for over 20 years.

Rachel Jones: This is Rachel, the producer of this podcast. And we’re the team behind Girl Geek X. This podcast brings you the best of Girl Geek X events, dinners, and conferences, where we’ve been elevating women in tech for over 10 years.

Angie Chang: And today we’ll be discussing switching job functions.

Rachel Jones: We’ve covered career transitions before. So how might this topic be a little different?

Gretchen DeKnikker: Well, career transitions tend to be any… I guess it would be a subset, right? So, career transitions are you’re switching companies, you’re getting a promotion, you’re… whatever. And the job function is, I was doing X, and I’m now going to do Y. Whether or not that’s with the same company or a new company, you’re moving really far out of your comfort zone, and you’re about to try something really new.

Sukrutha Bhadouria: Yeah, you could be working in the exact same area, but your role could be totally different too.

Rachel Jones: Have any of you, during your career, switched job functions?

Sukrutha Bhadouria: The only job function that I ended up switching that was really noticeable was from being an engineer to a manager. But, while I was an engineer, too, I changed job functions a few times. I was primarily a backend engineer, and then I switched to being a frontend engineer, and then full stack. I feel like, after you work in a particular job function for some time, you’re working… playing to your strengths, so you start to lose the distinction between doing, really, more of what you’re good at, versus being comfortable and then complacent. So, just the fear of not constantly wanting to be too comfortable is what forced me to look around and switch around.

Gretchen DeKnikker: I think there’s only one time that I went from one company to the next where I didn’t switch job functions. I had more of an operational role, and then I went back to business school. And I thought I was wanting to go into marketing, but I realized as I was doing a marketing internship, that business development was a lot more interesting. And business development has a lot of operational functions, right? You’re dealing with accounting, and sales, and product, and engineering, and you’re kind of working all of those things together. So, if you look at my resume, it makes no sense. But the core functions and sort of making the pieces work together is what I do. And that always comes with a different title or a different scope of what’s most important, but I end up working with all of the pieces in different ways.

Sukrutha Bhadouria: Angie, you changed job functions quite a bit too. You were a web designer, and then you also did product management. You were doing so many various roles in the education startup you were in, as well.

Angie Chang: Yeah, I think there were… I was pausing on this, because I feel like I change careers a lot, and so it didn’t fall in this category of job functions. And I’ve been at, like Gretchen, tiny startup companies with less than 50 people. And I’ve been there for only a few years. So I don’t feel like I’ve… in the situation where people at the biggest companies worked there for decades, and then they’re switching their job functions or after years of doing a job. So, for me, I didn’t really identify with this switching job functions. But we’re right. Because, we were trying to differentiate between career transitions and job functions. Yes, I’ve definitely, happily, jumped and tried new things. I went from product management, to marketing, to editor in chief, to… I think that, like Gretchen said, at startups, you give yourself names, and they’re not totally serious sometimes. Or sometimes they are. And you wind up doing so many things.

Sukrutha Bhadouria: What about you, Rachel? Tell me what changes you’ve experienced in your career.

Rachel Jones: I think one transition that I made early in my career that was kind of subtle is when I was still working with students in youth media. And when I first started, my role was really focused on the tech side of production with them, just showing them how to use the cameras and how to edit. And I switched to being more on the storytelling side. And even thinking about approaching media from that different perspective and how you teach technical things versus how you teach a kind of softer skill, I really had to think about the work that I was doing in a completely different way, even though I was working in the same space with the exact same students and creating the same kind of content. Yeah, my whole approach had to change completely.

Angie Chang: Lerk-Ling Chang is Vice President of Strategic Ventures at Guidewire. She leads Guidewire’s venture investing efforts and drives acquisitions and strategic partnerships. We heard about her transition from product to corporate strategy at the Guidewire event.

Lerk-Ling Chang: I did product management at Guidewire for… I guess it was probably about 12 years… and then decided to switch out of that role into something completely different, focusing on corporate strategy. What that means, initially, was two things. Strategic partnerships. And then second is acquisitions. It’s been kind of fun doing that, because I worked on acquisitions and as an investment banker before. But at that time, you kind of run numbers. You kind of say, “Hey, you can cut costs here, and you can add here, or you can increase revenues by 10%, 20%,” but you don’t really know what it looks like.

Lerk-Ling Chang: Now, I’m on the other side of the table, where we have to go through systematically to understand… Hey, can we really grow revenues, work with all the different teams around the company to understand how to plan an integration, and make sure the acquisition actually comes to fruition. So, I’ve been involved in all the five acquisitions that we’ve done, and it’s been a really interesting experience seeing that. And now I’ve had the opportunity, as part of this, to now lead up our venture investments, which are going to be starting up and doing a lot more of. So, taking the initiative when you see something that’s a problem that you think you can help fix, taking the initiative to suggest solutions, and then working with people to see if that can actually come to fruition…. That has helped quite a bit.

Angie Chang: Wow. 12 years. That’s really impressive. When we were at Guidewire… listening to the women at Guidewire talk about how long they’ve been working there, I think we were all just amazed and had a lot of respect for people that can spend a decade or more at a company and continue to grow.

Gretchen DeKnikker: And respect for the company that could retain that many amazing… because that panel at that event was amazing. You guys should check out the Guidewire YouTube.

Sukrutha Bhadouria: Yeah. I remember it wasn’t uncommon, at least 10 years ago, to stay at your company for that long. But, now it’s becoming less and less common. When companies are able to retain their employees for that long, it’s obviously because they have a program or they have the environment where people can switch around job functions, which is what keeps the profession exciting. It’s interesting, the way Lerk-Ling was moving around in job functions the way she did.

Gretchen DeKnikker: I mean, I think it makes total sense, right? She had the investment banking background, but then she did product. And now she’s doing corporate strategy. And corporate strategy is all about product. Right? And understanding… Is this going to be additive, and understanding how the potential acquisition is going to incorporate into an existing product. So, the transition makes perfect sense, and it’s so cool that she was able to make that. And I think it takes a certain amount of bravery. Especially when you’re 12 years into something. You’re very comfortable. You’re a total expert at it to be, “Okay, I’m going to go do this other thing. And I’m going to have to have a beginner’s mindset, and I’m going to have to make mistakes. And have to probably make mistakes that other people are going to see, but I’m going to stick with it”

Sukrutha Bhadouria: What I find really interesting is her seizing this opportunity to see what are the areas she can make changes in. Often times, we don’t really look for areas that we can make changes in, make a difference in, because we’ve been in a particular role or a job function for a while. You stop looking outside of your area. That really fascinated me, and I know it’s going to push me to continue to do that. Because I’ve done some of it, but not at the degree that I would like to. What did you think, Angie?

Angie Chang: Yeah, I liked how she is very assertive and ambitious, and trying to look around corners, and seeing how she can lend her expertise and grow her domain of expertise. And, hopefully, it’s not so scary. I remember… At an Elevate conference, when Shawna Wolverton, the SVP of Product at Zendesk, was talking about all the jobs that she’s had. And how, taking them, you wouldn’t think that being a handbag designer would actually benefit your career, but it actually gave her a lot of really important insights that helped her in her career later on. And I think, similarly, a lot of people talk about the time they spent as a bank teller, or as a waitress, or as a barista, and how that experience has really helped them later in their careers. So, yeah, always having those different job functions can be very beneficial for your overall journey in life.

Sukrutha Bhadouria: Yeah. It’s always when you look back, you see the pieces of the puzzle that fit, that at the time you didn’t think they would fit. So, having different experiences definitely makes you better at whatever next role you take. Because, you have a closer chance to a full picture.

Rachel Jones: I think one thing that I took away from Lerk-Ling’s quote is just how when you’re switching job functions, it doesn’t even have to be something that’s completely unfamiliar and brand new. A lot of times, you’re using the same skill set that you’ve always had. You’re just applying it in a different way to have a different kind of impact. [inaudible 00:10:49] That was interesting to me.

Sukrutha Bhadouria: Full stack software engineer, Samantha Puth, shared her experience with her colleague, Cathy, as they moved between job functions, during our recent dinner with Amplitude.

Samantha Puth: Initially, we had created this really safe space to learn and be challenged. But over time, we realized that we became too comfortable and too complacent, and that in itself was the scariest thing. Being comfortable is not necessarily a bad thing, but being complacent means you’re stagnating your career. And we really try to prevent that.

Samantha Puth: So, that’s how we started getting to know each other, and we tried to discuss, “How can we keep improving our career? How do we keep growing together?” It’s hard to find advocates that are going to push you to do more. And as my manager was trying to do it, I still felt like I needed more. So, from there, I personally tried a few different things. Cathy tried similar things, where we moved to different parts of the product, different parts of the tech stack. And I, myself, as a traditionally more frontend engineer, did a rotation in DevOps for a quarter. And while I learned a lot, I just didn’t feel like it was super sustainable.

Samantha Puth: So, we knew the inevitable was coming. But that didn’t make it any easier. And as scary as it was, we were more fearful for the fact that our careers may be stagnating and we were missing out on valuable opportunities. So, with that fear in mind, that job is to really dive down deep and figure out what it is that we want. What is it that keeps us happy? What sustains this fulfillment as a developer? So, over lots of deliberation, on cocktail hours, happy hours, and wine, we came up with this. This was our need. We needed to find an ability or an opportunity to continually learn while providing a lot of impact. We knew we were the kind of people who would get bored if we weren’t being challenged. Yet, we were the kind of people who didn’t feel valued or fulfilled, if we weren’t proving to ourselves that we had an impact for those around us, as well as our customers.

Samantha Puth: So, that led us to Amplitude, where we’ve been actively trying to measure whether or not we’re actually doing this. This goal is something that we’re trying to keep each other accountable for. Or as I like to say it, accountabilibuddies who like to drink wine.

Gretchen DeKnikker: Hers really resonated with me, because I do get bored pretty quickly. I like to build things. I like to create something from nothing. I make this dumb analogy that if you put me in it a junk yard and said, “Take all these weird parts and make an engine,” eventually I would make an engine. And then once it ran fairly consistently, I would be bored. And I’d be, “Okay, so somebody else needs to come in and soup it up, and make it go fast and make it whatever.” But I get bored. And so, I think that’s probably the reason why I’ve always kind of switched functions to keep it interesting and to keep myself challenged. Because I’m one of those people who gets kind of self-destructive, if I’m not being challenged. I was the kid who was always in trouble, because I’d be talking or whatever else, because I was bored in class.

Sukrutha Bhadouria: That was me too. But I found that there were moments that I was letting myself be complacent before I got bored. So, you can be enjoying what you’re doing, but you’re just not getting any better… playing to your strengths.

Gretchen DeKnikker: And there’s nothing wrong with being complacent, if you are drawing what you need from some other part of your life, right? My life has always sort of centered around my job. But if you’ve got a hobby, or a volunteer thing, or your family, or whatever it is that you focus your time on… Right? Then, have a job where you can be a bit complacent, right? Because you’re growing in other areas of your life, and you need one part to be simple on some level.

Sukrutha Bhadouria: My thought is that I don’t want to let it reach that point where I’m like, “Oh my gosh. I’ve been bored for a whole year.” You know what I mean? I don’t want it to reach that stage that I’m reacting so late. Yeah, I think I’ve gotten better at looking for signs when I’m starting to go into that complacent stage. Because usually, for me, what it turns into is me feeling like I’m not getting appreciated at work, or I’m not getting my due. And it coincides with me starting to feel like I haven’t been challenging myself enough. Because it takes time to even make a move in your job functions, you want to get ahead of that, is what I feel.

Angie Chang: I was thinking of what Gretchen said about it being okay to be complacent. So, I’ve had… two times I was a product manager, and I know that in the Silicon Valley everybody was like, “You should be product manager. It’s very respectful, [inaudible 00:15:57].” So, I did it for two different jobs, and I knew it was kind of… I’m not saying complacent. But I feel like, maybe, that was not the ideal fit for me. It was weird because, I was like, “I’ve been very entrepreneurial. I shouldn’t do this, being CEO.” But, as Gretchen was saying, if there’s other things in your life that you are doing that light your fire and that you’re interested in… I was doing Women 2.0 on the side and Girl Geek dinners. So to me, I think, that was my saving grace through working at a job in tech… is that Women in Tech aspect on the side.

Rachel Jones: I was kind of thinking the same thing when Gretchen made that comment. For me, a lot of times when I do feel complacent at work, my response isn’t to go in that same job and think of a new function, but to find something outside of work to give me that fulfillment. That’s why I do podcasting outside of work… feeling like, yeah, I can still use a part of my skill set that’s exciting that I don’t get to use in my job. So that’s interesting to explore… not just within your strict career, but what things you can add to it on the outside to fulfill that need to challenge yourself. So, when you decide that it’s time to make a change, how can you go about doing that?

Sukrutha Bhadouria: Yeah. So, in terms of advice, I like Samantha’s approach where she and her friend Cathy… They were really deliberate about making sure that they talked through all the ideas of what they should do next and finally came up with what it is that they wanted to switch over to. I mean… Having someone you’re doing it with makes it a lot easier. Especially because they were looking specifically for opportunities where they were able to provide impact, while also learning and challenging themselves. And I think that sounds like a really good way to do it. I’m sure there are various ways. [Inaudible 00:17:56]

Angie Chang: I think from some of the ways that I’ve seen… For example, women in Product really succeed is when they work in Product, they create these Facebook groups or communities, these women in product meetups. They become little organizers of these different cities all around… I think, the Bay area and beyond. And it gives them a leadership opportunity, and also the chance to talk to other women in Product, and kind of share their experiences, figure out how to navigate the interview process, the different hurdles and challenges. They’re getting together. And that’s been really helpful for people’s careers.

Sukrutha Bhadouria: And this stage is when you want to have a network, or mentors. They don’t have to be someone who is far ahead of you in your career, but it could be someone who’s just had those experiences before you have, where you can bounce ideas off of them. So, that’s why we, at every Girl Geek Dinner, we’re recommending to everyone to make their network before they actually need it.

Gretchen DeKnikker: I think the first thing you need to do is figure out what you like and what you don’t like about your current job. And then kind of doing what Sukrutha was suggesting of talking to friends. Definitely talking to former bosses who sort of understand your strengths and weaknesses and understand you as a whole person, in a way that your colleagues or your friends don’t necessarily understand. And just sort of talking through, “I don’t really like doing this. I’d rather not do it anymore. I do like doing these two things,” and talking to as many people as you can who can give you ideas of, “Well, that same skill set would actually apply to this,” or “Have you considered moving into a role like this one?” And that’s where the best advice for me has come from… is particularly from former bosses who probably know, probably better than you do, what you’re really good at.

Sukrutha Bhadouria: I think that’s a great tip. I wouldn’t have thought of asking a former boss, but that’s… That’s really cool. I know I’ve asked a product manager I’ve worked with, because she was sort of working the [inaudible 00:20:08] role as me where she would be able to see what I was good at and what I wasn’t shining at and be able to give me similar advice. That’s really cool. I would think about that.

Gretchen DeKnikker: Yeah, that’s usually my starting point. When I’m frustrated, or bored, or just thinking, “What’s next?” And, of course, if you have an Angie… An Angie’s always very helpful with this. [crosstalk 00:20:33].

Angie Chang: You mean somebody who tells you all the things you could be that are two levels or one level above you? Whenever I hear women talk about, “Oh, I gave someone advice, free advice, I might be like, “You should charge for that,” or, “You should be an angel investor, or a partner, get tax credit.” [crosstalk 00:20:53]

Sukrutha Bhadouria: Why not?

Angie Chang: People are like, “No, I have to take a class. I have to just be [inaudible 00:21:00]

Gretchen DeKnikker: Angie’s next career transition is going to be into Life Coach, though.

Angie Chang: I mean… I guess that’s one way to categorize it. But I feel like… I don’t know. I think that’s the way we should be, just helping each other out. At these accountabilabuddy wine sessions, just help each other, elevate each other. So, for example, when I was looking for roles, I would always look for something very tactical and creative, and people would be like, “You totally deserve to be a director somewhere.” I’m like, “What? No.” And like, “I can see it.” And like, “No.” And so, you know, it’s daring to think that they’d… You always need that person, at least one, in your corner telling you that, you know, [crosstalk 00:21:43].

Gretchen DeKnikker: You need lots of them. Because, you’re not going to, generally, do it on your own. You’re not going to be like, “I’m so ready for that,” and be surrounded by people who don’t think you are. It’s normally your network pulling you, and being like, “Oh, come on, girl.”

Sukrutha Bhadouria: We’ll give you that push you need.

Angie Chang: We are like the best wing women, I think… for each other.

Gretchen DeKnikker: We are actually. Yeah. [inaudible 00:22:07]

Rachel Jones: [inaudible]

Gretchen DeKnikker: I don’t think any men- [crosstalk 00:22:13] Yeah. Even if we do, it totally bears repeating. It’s awesome.

Angie Chang: I think that a common trait of women is we can help each other out, almost more than we can help ourselves. But in that practice of helping out another woman, you’re like, “Well, I just gave Catherine that advice. I need to give myself that same kind of advice.” [crosstalk 00:22:39].

Sukrutha Bhadouria: When you’re mentoring someone else, you’re assisting someone else, and helping yourself as well.

Rachel Jones: So, one piece of advice that I have… But I think, yes, for myself, as much as other people… is to just try it. Because, I think I hold myself back a lot of times when there’s something new that I want to do. Just like, “I didn’t go to school for this. So, I didn’t have this many years of experience like the other people doing it.” And yeah, I just won’t even try because of that. But that doesn’t make sense. Just taking that first step of trying it, instead of holding yourself back based on the experience you don’t have.

Gretchen DeKnikker: Angela Buckmaster shared her own insights in navigating job function changes during our dinner with Poshmark, where she’s the Director of Community Operations.

Angela Buckmaster: I actually have been at Poshmark for a little over six years now. And so, I found Poshmark through a friend who still works here. We were friends through middle school and high school. And she heard that I had graduated college and was looking for my first big girl job. And she was on the community team here and said, “Hey, you should come interview.” So I did. And at the time, we had basically one role, which was Community Associate. And through that we wore a lot of different hats, as is typical at a startup. And from there, we kind of started to build into different teams. And so, from there I moved into the support team, still under the community umbrella. And I did some management for a couple of years. And through that, I noticed that I started having more and more of an interest in our KPIs and our SLAs. And I wanted to know why are they the way they are, how can we make them better, and to really understand them on a deeper level.

Angela Buckmaster: And so, I started speaking to my manager, and LyAnn, our SVP, and just letting them know, “I’m really interested in this. I would love to move into more of a data driven role.” The time wasn’t right… right at that moment. But I kept telling them, and I kept trying to get into projects that I could kind of dip my toes into the analytics area. Until the day came when LyAnn approached me, and she said, “Okay, the role is here. Let’s do it.” So, I happily went into that… more of an analytics role on the community team, which was awesome. I got to stay with my community family and did that for about a year. And then LyAnn approached me with another opportunity and said, “Hey, let’s build out this team.” So now I have the three areas. I have a data analytics team, a product knowledge team, and a training team.

Angela Buckmaster: And so, I’ve learned a lot over six years, right? I’ve learned that you can’t just keep your dreams to yourself. I think something I really believe is… Whatever you think about and you talk about all the time, is what you are or what you will become. And so I was very open, and I kept telling people about my dream. And I truly believe that that’s why it happened, because if you don’t speak up, no one knows. Right? So, that’s my little tip. I would encourage you all to just be very open about your passions and your dreams.

Gretchen DeKnikker: The thing that Angela points out is that she expressed her interest long before it was available. And I think sometimes it’s hard to know… To be like her, you have to know what your dream is. But, I think having a really strong relationship with your boss and saying, “Oh, that’s really… I really liked working on that thing.” And letting them know your interests and your preferences helps them, especially at a fast growing company like Poshmark, really build out those goals.

Gretchen DeKnikker: As a manager, you’re always in your head, especially in a really fast moving organization. You’re always thinking about what your next hire is going to be, and how that’s going to change the team, and what the skill set is going to be. And you’re just moving these players around on a board constantly. And having that bit of information, as a manager, is hugely important. So, even if it feels weird for you to express that, or they’ll think you don’t like your current job… It’s really a gift to your manager to tell them the things that you like.

Angie Chang: I think that’s a really good reminder for managers, also… to know where their reports want to be in a few years. So they can keep that in mind, as roles open up.

Sukrutha Bhadouria: It’s really hard though. Because, sometimes the manager is more wanting to keep the person who was great for that team or with that for that project, when that project may not be good for their growth anymore. So–

Gretchen DeKnikker: Yeah, but that’s not a good manager. Right?

Sukrutha Bhadouria: No, it’s not.

Gretchen DeKnikker: You definitely want one that–

Sukrutha Bhadouria: Not everybody has… realizes that they don’t have a good manager, until it’s too late.

Angie Chang: Right. And a lot of managers… not to knock the manager… learn that… learning curve of the first few years of their career. So, there’s always that chance that you don’t have a manager to help guide you, and you have to be outspoken like Angela.

Sukrutha Bhadouria: I’ve seen managers who have been managers [inaudible 00:27:53], and not provide that insight to the person who’s reporting to them. So, as that person is looking for changes, you need to manage up really well. You want to look up to your manager. If they’re not supporting you or not helping you, you need to realize that early.

Gretchen DeKnikker: And, I don’t think that her story is that much of an uncommon one, as far as joining a very fast growing company early. But, what she really had going for her, beyond just being able to speak up and say, “These are the things that I enjoy doing,” or “These are things I’d like to try,” is having someone who was in her corner that was championing her the entire time. Right? Like her… the person who keeps coming to her with these opportunities… You don’t leave a manager like that, right? If they’re going to keep growing you within a company… You don’t hear of people, especially in a company that stage where Poshmark is, of someone being there for six years. But why would she leave? She’s got the wind at her back and all the support that… at least from this little bit that we know, that she needs. And she’s growing. So, if you wonder why people only stay for 2 point whatever years in Silicon Valley, it’s because they don’t get that.

Rachel Jones: What stuck out to me was Angela’s process as she was waiting for something to become available. She didn’t just announce her intentions and sit back. But she mentions kind of dipping her toes into projects that let her get close to what she was trying to do. So, really just taking any opportunity to really demonstrate to people around her what she was interested in. And give her the kind of experience, so that when something did open up, she was really poised to take it. I think that level of initiative and intention is definitely something to strive for.

Rachel Jones: Do we have any final thoughts on switching job functions?

Sukrutha Bhadouria: I liked the suggestion, Gretchen, that you had where you said, “You should talk to a former boss who knows your strengths and anyone who knows your strengths,” to discuss what your next opportunity should be. I also like the idea of constantly looking out for opportunities where you can learn and make a dent. So, I feel like I should constantly be doing that. So, you don’t want to only be learning, but not have an impact. Because then, unfortunately, you’re not moving the needle, and that that energy is probably better spent where you can always make a change.

Gretchen DeKnikker: I think you just have to be willing to be courageous and understand that it would be hard to make a transition. And you’ll be out of your depth, but that ultimately you’ll be so proud of yourself, one… once you’ve like gone through it all. But also that you’re learning and you’re growing, and not just sort of sitting comfortably out of fear.

Angie Chang: But, I think also just this idea… People always say, the FOMO feeling of you’re missing out and things. Trying new things, though, is good…. And just taking new opportunities to see how it goes. You can always go back. If that’s not your company, someplace else. [inaudible].

Rachel Jones: So, one thing that I would say, just for people who might not work at an early stage company where there’s tons of flexibility to try different things. Or maybe you just don’t have a manager where it’s safe to announce your intentions like that. Yeah, if you’re feeling stagnant, also just think about maybe some outside of work channels that might be able to fulfill the things that you’re looking for.

Angie Chang: Thanks for listening to this episode of the Girl Geek X Podcast. Please rate and review us on your favorite podcasting app, and we’ll be back soon with more advice from women in tech.

Rachel Jones: This podcast is produced by me, Rachel Jones, with event recording by Eric Brown and music by Diana Chow. To learn more about Girl Geek X or buy tickets to our next dinner, visit Girlgeek.io, where you can also find videos and transcripts from all our events.

Angie Chang: Thanks to our sponsor, Amplitude. Amplitude is a leader in product analytics, providing digital product intelligence that helps companies ship great customer experiences for systematic business growth. Amplitude has defined the future of how companies interact with data build better products. This podcast is also sponsored by Poshmark. Poshmark is currently the largest social commerce marketplace for fashion. Anyone on the platform can buy, sell, and share their personal style with millions of other users. Poshmark brings together a vibrant community every day and encourages them to express themselves and share their love of fashion. This podcast is also sponsored by Guidewire. Guidewire believes that P&C Insurance plays a vital role in protecting people and businesses and enabling society to function. Guidewire specializes in serving P&C Insurance, exclusively with a focused commitment that puts customer success above all else. Their core competency is software development, and Guidewire holds themselves accountable for ensuring that the customers have the right technology to execute on their promises and policyholders over the long term.