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Discussion on: From Engineer to Tech Lead - Doubts and Challenges

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justynclark profile image
Justyn Clark

I'll share this. On my team a couple years ago in a retro, someone had an idea to maybe make one of us be labeled a "tech lead" and nominated person X. We all agreed, as this individual had some of the most experience with the code base, was bright and well organized.

He later moved on from the team and co-worker Y was given the "title". I did not congratulate him like everyone else did because I didn't know if he even wanted the role. He later told me he was thrown into it.

I myself am a natural born leader as my 4th grade teacher once told me and have been so in many different capacities for many years. Now I am Senior Software Engineer with over a decade of industry experience working independently single handedly built web sites/applications for clients and their business, worked on several start ups, contract and FT in large corporations and with dozens of developers across multiple teams globally.

I'll admit, I felt I was the one to assume the "title" next. But this wasn't an official promotion with a pay raise. Simply a title. Which really turned into becoming the "meeting man" and one to be called on at all times. He is no more talented or "rock star" than me or the others, but he's great and supportive so don't get me wrong.

I knew what this meant though for him or me. Less coding, more meetings and feeling less productive. I really enjoy coding and leading, and I do so by example. For me, all day meetings don't equal productivity the same way as does turning in clean code, improving processes and shipping new features/products to millions of users.

So in essence, we have two tech leads. One takes the meetings, one's in the tranches fighting for us engineers, for our developer experience, to have our voices heard and providing unique opportunities to learn and grow by example. Some people are just built different, what can I say πŸ€·πŸ½β€β™‚οΈ

Now, if I had been asked or thrown into it, knowing what sacrifices come along, to give up part of my joy for more meetings, I'd need fair compensation.

To some important points on this post, I've too learned to be patient and when to pick and choose my battles. And overtime the ideas and proposals I dump on everyone fast out of the gate, some got pushed back but have gradually come to fruition and made positive impacts.

I even received a spotlight award last year announced in our department weekly standup from anonymous electors which came unexpectedly.

When you do good, people notice quietly and good comes back to you. Which in my case the form of a Snappy Gift, bonuses and new base salary only within two years of joining the company. πŸ™πŸ½

Still coding and leading concurrently πŸ™‚

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dvddpl profile image
Davide de Paolis Author

thank you very much for you long comment.

i agree, and found myself in a similar position for many years. then i was finally offered the title and the compensation ;-)
Though sometimes I fear I could / should have stepped up in the career ladder before, I am happy that did not happen, because I had the opportunity to get much better as an engineer and to grow as a person.

When you do good, people notice quietly and good comes back to you.
I hope you will get all the recognition you deserve, and when the time comes you will realize you are not giving up part of your joy but just taking in some more and find joy in new things!