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Matheus Mello
Matheus Mello

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Becoming a TRUE Tech Lead

Hello πŸ‘‹ amazing readers, Matheus Mello here again.
Today, I want to talk about how to become a TRUE Tech Lead, not only based on my own experience but also based on so many people that I've been reaching and asking about this specific topic.
You will need to do a few things to achieve that, and these are the major ones.

Don't tie your identity to a technology

A lot of people when they have the need of explaining who they are in some minutes, often say something like this:

Hello, I am a Python developer ...

This is ok if you are a junior developer/engineer but in most cases, you are limiting the problems that you are able just because you are seeing yourself as a person that uses the tool XYZ.
Currently, I have some years of experience and I already programmed in these languages:

  • C
  • C++
  • C#
  • Java
  • Ruby
  • Elixir
  • Javascript (w/ so many frameworks)
  • Typescript
  • Python

As you can see, the tool was just a way to achieve my final goal which was to solve the problem. Lately, in my current job, I already had the necessity of jumping into different projects, and the ability to solve problems allowed me to be more useful than a person that is tied to technology.

Your job is to solve problems

Your job as a software developer is not writing code but it is about solving problems and impacting positively the business, often this goal is achieved through writing code, and often not.
Once I had the mission of solving a low convert rate of onboarding new users in the app that I was currently working on, the product and the data team asked me to solve this changing a lot of things, comes up that the real problem was the way that we were approaching the users and all the ads that we were running to places that we didn't support yet.
Finally, I solved this by studying a lot about the user's behavior and coding in the end was the smallest part of my job.

Leverage your manager

During your one-a-one meetings and feedback sections, try to instead of having conversations about how can I do better? What are my next achievements? start thinking more broadly.
Keep in my that I am not saying to stop asking these questions, but at some point in your career as the mid/senior level, your goal should be impacting your team/squad more positively over and over again.
Your manager should be "used" as a partner instead of a person that will set your next goals.
A good example that happened to me was that I started having conversations like:

  • I noticed that we are spending X minutes a day on our daily and we could do it in X/2.
  • I have been seeing the person XYZ is not too communicative, do you know if she is motivated?

As you can see, I am trying to improve the team's performance instead of just improving myself.

You have to earn the trust

To be able to achieve the opportunity of adding a huge impact in the business that you are working on, you must develop and earn trust.
There are a few key factors of how to do that, and these are:

Be proactive and reliable

You need to be reliable in a sense of delivering constantly and with high quality. Of course, things may go wrong, but then you need to be proactive and bring this to your team and manager. It is easier to fix a small hole in a ship than when it sinks.

Be easy to work with

Well, this is kind of self-explanatory but you need to be a person that is easy to work with. No one like to work with a person that doesn’t communicate, deliver their promises, raise their hands when it is needed, and try to improve their solutions instead of having just a solution.

Be well-liked

If your goal is to earn trust, you must be well-liked it means that you need to have a good reputation and network abroad with your teammates, squads/teams, and company.
Keep in mind that is easier to trust someone that everyone likes but is harder to the one that no one does.

πŸ’° These are my 2 cents for today.
πŸ‘‡ Let me know what you think about this topic in the comments section.
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