re: Have you been promoted out of programming? VIEW POST


I never actually got promoted, just had more responsibilities piled on to me with no actual change in title. At some point, I found myself being a team lead on a production support team, sitting in meetings all the time, deploying fixes, and troubleshooting a lot, but rarely being the person to implement a fix.

Note that this was in a more old school environment (no devops, failed attempts at actual agile, weird proprietary dev. tools/language), so any of the usual challenges that would have come with that role were intensified. I liked the parts where I did some work with customers, liasioned to the network folks, BI team, etc. and to some extent the architectural pieces. What I hated though, was being officially responsible for others performance, having to deal with headbutting personalities, etc.

I'm thrilled to mentor juniors, help facilitate, give feedback, etc., but when it became my primary job and my personal failures to keep up with everything led to others getting bad reviews, project failing, etc., I hated it. Granted, again, it was a bad situation on many levels, and I'd consider stepping up to a little more leadership again, but not for a while. I quit that job, went back to being an individual contributor -- this time at a consulting company, so I can actually leave projects eventually -- and then did a 90 degree turn into data engineering. I've got some time before I need to worry about the promotion past code bit again.

That said, it is a concern I have with not only our industry, but our culture in general. Why does everyone need to only be on this path of "move up or out!"? Why can't we accept that some people just want to be good at their day job, stay in their day job and share that expertise, and then go home at the end of the day? Management (people or projects) is a completely different skillset, and on some level so are some of the other high level IT jobs that don't involve code. I've learned enough languages that jumping into, say Python, isn't a stretch for me. Swapping out all the coding to a leadership or high level tech role is not the same -- it's at least as hard as going from front end to trying to run a server room (that's like a locally hosted miniature version of the cloud for the kids out there) or dumping any of us into an embedded system or something similarly different from web. Come to think of it, I'd have an easier time jumping on to a mainframe project than I did that role.

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