At some point in the career of most developers, they are faced with making a decision regarding whether or not they should continue the same career path with a long-term goal of working as an architect or even a CTO, or whether they want to go down a slightly different pathway in order to become an engineering manager. Both pathways can lead to excellent careers and opportunities in the long run, so the good news is that there is no wrong or right answer – it’s a highly personal decision that should be made, taking into consideration what you want from your career and your strengths and weaknesses.
Here are some of the top reasons why software engineering managers decided to take this career route.
If you’re a competitive type of person who enjoys always having something to work towards and the competition with other software companies, engineering management could be an ideal choice for you. As an engineering manager, you will often be competing with other top companies, and closing a strong candidate can often feel like winning a huge competition like a sports match. If you are good at your job, you can win a lot as an engineering manager. However, it’s also important to develop the skill of learning from your mistakes whenever you lose and using what you learn to improve your chance of winning in the future.
There Are Huge Goals
Working as a developer is an excellent career choice for anybody who wants to be hands-on with technology, solve difficult problems, and deliver them as part of a strong team. However, for developers who are more skilled and passionate about the other parts of the business alongside the technology alone, a role as an engineering manager could be a more preferable choice. Many software engineering managers get into their career because they enjoy achieving huge goals as part of the team rather than all the smaller goals that they would achieve as a competitor.
You Can Stay Close to the Technology
If you’re the type of person who enjoys learning about new technologies and figuring out the best ways to apply and utilize new technologies to collaborate with your team and get better results, working as an engineering manager in software could be a great choice of career for you. Although you are likely to be expected to take a step back from the front line of production and implementation as a manager, you’ll be partnering with lead engineers and developers to ensure that your team is using the best-suited technologies for their needs to ensure that they achieve the best results.
You Get to Take on Further Responsibilities
As an engineering manager, there are various other responsibilities that you’ll be required to take on. If you are interested in learning more about the business side of things and want to be accountable for things like managing the team, hiring new employees, making sure that products are shipped and delivered to customers, and having a key say in major business decisions, a career in engineering management might be right for you. As an engineering manager, your job is not only to ensure that products are made quickly, but also delivered fast and to a standard that your customers expect.
Develop a Wide Range of Skills
You will need to demonstrate certain skills to become a software engineering manager. But as you work in this job, you will be able to develop certain skills even more than you would expect to when working as a developer. Some of the main skills that are required for a successful career as a software engineering manager include:
To succeed as an engineering manager, you will need to ensure that you are consistently keeping your knowledge of various software programs and technologies up to date. You will need to be well-versed in any frameworks, languages, toolkits, methodologies, and cloud services that your company uses on a regular basis. While you might not need to keep your knowledge as deep and intricate as you would be expected to as a developer, you will need to be aware of what should be applied in a range of situations and the advantages and downfalls of each.
Management and People Skills
For developers looking to break out of the tech-based industry and work in a more people-based role, management skills are absolutely essential. It is particularly relevant in the field of software engineering where soft skills are not often as highly valued as technical skills. If you’d prefer to be in a role that requires more people skills and social interaction, a role as a software engineering manager could be a better choice for you compared to a more tech-heavy position.
The Option to Learn Agile Management
Over 50% of organizations now have their team using Agile practices, and Agile is becoming more and more popular within the software development industry. Those looking to enter a career in software engineering management would do well to develop their knowledge and skills in Agile as it is often a key requirement for any candidate looking to get into this career path. The Agile approach places a heavy focus on intra- and inter-team communication, continuous development and testing, automation, waste reduction, and various other directives. Even if you decide later on that the engineering software manager role is not for you, developing your Agile management skills will benefit you in a wide range of potential future roles, e.g. in systems engineering. Click here to learn more about engineering management versus systems engineering to figure out which one is right for you.
As a manager, you will be positioned to help others in a wide range of ways. Whether you are mentoring engineers who want to move up the ranks into top engineering positions or helping developers decide where to next take their career, your knowledge and experience can be used as a great way to support others in your field, which can be incredibly rewarding.
Whether you’re a developer or a software engineer, getting into engineering management can be a great way to boost your career, learn new skills, and go down a more people-oriented route.