Changing career paths at ExpressVPN
“ExpressVPN really invests in its people. No matter who you are, if you have something to bring to the table, you belong here.”
No matter how much you love your job, sometimes it’s just time for a change. As a fast-growing company that embraces agility and innovation, with a culture of encouraging employees to try new things and develop new skills, ExpressVPN embraces change. New opportunities abound, and we want our employees to have flexibility in growing their careers in the way they want—whether that means a shift in responsibilities, new trainings and skill development plans, or even changing career paths and moving to a new department.
Year started at ExpressVPN: 2016
Original department: Localization
Current department: Product marketing
I initially entered ExpressVPN as a content strategist. My original role was to grow the French market by writing French content for the website as well as translating existing content. I started doing PR and occasionally writing for the blog, in English, as we all had a hand in writing for the blog at that time.
I wasn't localizing anything into French because we weren't ready yet technically to allow pages to be localized, so I worked on other projects where needed. I also started the ExpressVPN scholarship program during this time—all of this was pretty much during my first few weeks on the job.
When we were ready to localize pages on a larger scale, I essentially translated the entire website into French, page by page. From there, I moved on to other languages and began hiring people. We would hire someone and provide a list of 30 pages to translate, review their work through a third party, and, if it was good, we’d provide another 70 or so pages across the site to translate.
I didn't hire anyone for French for around a year because I was doing it all myself. It was an amazing experience as I got to really learn everything about our product entirely through translation. I remember translating the encryption page involved a lot of technical terminology and concepts so I had to research everything and figure out how to accurately convey that messaging to tech-savvy French readers.
Over time, we began rolling out efforts to translate into more languages and our team grew significantly. By that point, it was agreed that my role would be to oversee all of our localization efforts. I began setting up processes for both team members and each stage of the translation process. I hired localization project managers to help handle requests and work with translators.
The localization team really took a turn when we hired our current localization lead, who came to us from Twitter. She originally joined us as a localization project manager and spearheaded an initiative to scale up our output by having two translators per language. So suddenly, we doubled the amount of translators from a team of 16, to a team of 32—more if you count project-based translators for Arabic, Chinese, Indonesian, and other country-specific languages. She also did a lot to improve language quality because she's super passionate about this.
Eventually, I left on maternity leave and handed a lot of responsibilities over to the current localization lead. She had been growing steadily in her role over time and I realized that she could handle everything. At this point I felt like I’d seen everything and was starting to feel a little bit too comfortable in my role. I realized that after I came back from leave, I would want to do something a little bit different. I didn't really know what exactly, but I knew that we were hiring for senior marketing roles in different functions. We weren't yet talking about product marketing, but were trying to structure the marketing team around bigger senior roles.
One of the more interesting opportunities that arose was looking after streaming, which at the time had no product marketing function. And so it just sounded like something I could do. I think from the outset, the sentiment was, we need someone to be the oil in the machine, someone to manage all the different pieces of the puzzle. So I took on the role at a somewhat amorphous time, and the ambiguity really allowed me to take charge of the situation.
One of the main issues was that we had several people coming from various teams who didn’t have 100% of their time to give to streaming. So often, there would be situations where people were providing ad hoc input into an issue but with no overarching management process to tie everything together.
I came into this role with very little context and zero knowledge of anything technical so I had to ramp up pretty quickly just to be able to sit in on meetings and understand what others were discussing. I began to treat these disparate groups as a team, and over time they just naturally began functioning like a team, which did a lot for efficiency and collaboration.
Grow with ExpressVPN
For me, the opportunities that have contributed to my career evolution were quite natural, but I appreciate that the company trusted me enough to let me try these new positions. Additionally, I’ve had the opportunity to attend various international conferences to learn everything I could to further hone my craft. These experiences were invaluable to my development within the company.
ExpressVPN really invests in its people. This is especially evident with the abundance of internal training programs we have. One of the first things I realized after joining was that it was OK if you didn’t know something, as you would learn it over time. I’d also say this is a great place for fresh grads. When we hire them, we assume their brains are wired in a specific way and we like to stuff them with a ton of knowledge and set them loose on a project. The idea is that they’ll absorb a lot being surrounded by other like-minded people, and will learn from example.
Have something unique to offer? We want to hear from you! Talented people of all backgrounds will find a home at ExpressVPN.