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Discussion on: Ask the engineering manager: career development paths in tech companies from junior, through senior, to staff

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Dave Ford

Do you have any advice for anyone who is at a point in their career where they are trying to decide if they want to go into management or stay technical?

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Gergely Orosz Ask Me Anything

Learn more about what management is and take steps to test out the waters, to see if it’s for you. I’ll actually be posting a longer blog post exactly on this topic early next week and I can link it here as well.

In the meantime, gaining breadth or depth in tech is a good way to keep growing. If you commit to the management path, your tech skills will likely slow growing, and might even get reduced.

I am happy that I went into management after I was very solid senior engineer with 10 years industry experience, having gone deep in many technologies: desktop, web, Windows Phone, iOS, Android, distributed backend systems. It both gave me solid technical backing, and it’s much easier to keep my skills sharp, with less effort.

I have seen people with 2-4 years experience move into management, only to feel overwhelmed by not being able to coach senior engineers with 10-15 years experience, as they’ve never been there. The better ones went back to being engineers for a few more years, getting to a good, senior level, before going back into management.