Developer: do you have to become a manager to evolve?
Have you gained a few years of experience in development and now wonder whether you need to take on a managing role? Rest assured: this is not the only way to continue growing, both from a professional and personal point of view. Most employees have traditionally valued vertical promotion. But filling a manager’s shoes isn’t for everyone; some are already in shoes that fit!
The manager in me
For some, taking on a managerial role is a fundamental step in their lives as a developer — a kind of goal to attain and tier in their career. These people are perhaps naturally inclined to have certain soft skills like listening, communication, empathy, or stress management. Sometimes, the managerial fiber is right there from the get-go, and promotion to the position of lead developer might seem perfectly natural.
Even if certain traits are inherent in the role of manager, we mustn’t forget that a manager must especially know how to communicate well. Between the management of clients and the development team, or the responsibilities of the project and the deadlines to be met, heavy responsibilities rest on the back of the lead developer. Beware: too often, the role of manager is reduced to the importance of mastering certain soft skills. However, you can’t simply improvise a manager’s role. That’s why companies should offer professional training when they promote new employees.
Becoming a manager also means taking more control over projects — and thus taking your hands off the code. These are brand new projects that will open for developers who embark on the managerial adventure!
And so what, if it’s not for you?
In recent years, management seems to have lost some of its shine. According to a French study,* 62% of employees say they wouldn’t want to become a manager — even if the opportunity arose. The trends are reversing: for a long time, management was the only conceivable way to develop, but these days, it’s no longer the inevitable end goal. More than ever, employees are seeking a good work/life balance, and it’s undeniable that managers are taking on more daily stress.
As you know, the world of development is rich and constantly changing. If you feel like you’re going around in circles at work, why not take on some new tech projects? The opportunities are numerous.
You can challenge yourself to become an expert in your sector, for example. By keeping on constant watch and up to date with the latest advances, and by working with different technologies in greater depth, you’ll position yourself as a real expert and boost both your reputation and your CV. With such mastery, there’s a better chance that your company will appreciate your know-how in the field.
You can also decide to move to another position — and thus evolve “horizontally.” Many developers move from front-end to back-end development, but this is just one example. There is a whole world between the design of the graphical user interface and the analysis of databases! If this desire is on your mind, then apply internally. A training course can be offered to you.
And why not become a mentor to one or more of your team members? We talked about this in our article dedicated to this topic a few weeks ago. Sharing all your knowledge with an apprentice can help you grow even more.
To be sure, what matters most is what makes you feel good in your job. Gone are the days of professional careers where management was the only sure way to grow! There’s really just one basic rule to follow: keep learning. Learn from others and learn on your own.