Overall, becoming an engineer leader is great. All routes to seniority lead away from programming. But, once you make it up that ladder, based on hard work and your engineering excellence, did you ever think you might not be as prepared to lead as you’d like?
- One of your most important talents as a leader will be delegating. You must know who is capable of doing what and who is willing to take on additional responsibility. People must be pushed without being drowned. If you can delegate everything, you'll be ready to take on greater responsibilities in the future.
- Big Tech does a superb job at putting together teams. The two-pizza team is the most effective. Take the model and use it. It is not always a good idea to experiment with organizational structures.
- When it comes to managing engineers, what can non-technical leaders do? Many developers find it difficult to report to non-technical bosses. It's why, with a few exceptions for CEOs, all Engineering Managers in Tech-Driven companies are examined for technical skills during interviews. As soon as possible, place qualified technical individuals in the middle between them and the teams. If this will take time, promote and assign tech leads to be your right hand in the short term, and then pay attention to them.
- Engineers have a problem with empathy at times. Just because they've worked as an engineer before doesn't mean they're qualified to manage people's careers. People who lack empathy should not manage engineers, just as non-technical MBAs should not manage engineers. No amount of Management training can teach you to care about people. You have to find it in yourself.
- Don't juggle the roles of Engineering Manager and Senior IC! Performing both jobs for an extended period of time is a bad idea. It will stifle your growth in the long run.. You're not going to get very good at either of these things. It's also a disservice to your employees, product, and clients.
- Corporations have a pressing need for trans-formative leaders who drive innovation in today’s complex, rapidly evolving global markets. This is true of many technical disciplines but incredibly true for software engineering. To become one of these highly prized leaders, technical professionals must transcend their silos and broaden their perspectives.
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