So, You Want to Be a Manager?
You’ve been a software developer for several years and have gradually taken on more responsibility for coding projects. You’re likely in a lead or senior developer position, and beginning to wonder whether it’s time for you to advance into more of a supervisory role. But is development management the right next step for you?
Should you take on a management role?
To answer that question, consider why you want to be a manager. Are you looking for a salary increase or more authority? Have you gone as far as possible on your company’s developer track and, though you love to code, you’re feeling unchallenged in your current position? Are you looking to advance your career? If the answer to any of these questions is “yes,” then you may want to think again. Several developers who have moved into management (such as Steve Yegge, Stephen Haunts, and Bruce Walton) cite these as good reasons not to become a manager.
Candidates who are ready for management have the desire and necessary skills to motivate and lead a successful team. That leadership involves developing team members’ skills, mentoring team members, allocating resources and distributing project deliverables, hiring people who are more skilled than you to get the work done, dealing with conflict, and fostering a collaborative team environment. A manager must also be willing to do a lot less coding and spend most of their time managing the team.
Prepare for management
If you know management is the right move for you, the next question is whether you’re prepared to take on the role. Here are some steps you can take to ready yourself for management:
Get leadership training. Find courses and material on topics such as conflict resolution, negotiation skills, effective team leadership, and helping others succeed. Get in touch with your HR department to discover what resources are available in this area, including employee evaluation writing and managerial procedures.
Pursue leadership opportunities. You’re going to have to step outside your technical nest and seek out cross-functional projects and cross-departmental committees that will expand your skill set and help you get noticed by senior staff.
Perfect your time management skills. Being in a supervisory role means additional tasks, so start thinking about ways to better manage your time so that you can balance the additional load.
Engage a recruiter. Who better to consult about acquiring job skills and making a career transition than the experienced IT recruiters of Chase Technology Consultants (CTC)? A firm that specializes in your industry is better equipped than generalist recruitment agencies to help you plan and begin advancing your career.
Revamp your resume. Simply tweaking your skills to highlight leadership rather than technical acumen can orient your resume more toward a managerial position. One approach is to group your skill set under new headings, such as “Business Strategy,” under which you highlight decision-making, planning, and strategy execution experience.
Even if management is not the right path for you, you may find a recruiter like CTC to be a great resource at this point in your career. A knowledgeable recruiter can identify positions that make the most of your strengths while helping you to remain professionally fulfilled and challenged, whether in a managerial or a different role.