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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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Gergely Orosz Ask Me Anything • Edited on

The most common mistake I've seen is engineers thinking they can still be engineers, while also being managers. As one of the managers who I talked with, told me: "When I went into management, I spent 80% of my time coding, the other 80% on management. It did not help the team and I burned out, even though I worked harder than ever.". This manager later went back to being an engineer, realizing they liked that kind of work better. To avoid this, I would suggest to stop coding for the first few months of being a manager, however tempting it would be. This will force you to focus on people, and the managerial skills you might be lacking.

The other common mistake I see is people assuming they'll be good managers, and not seeking frequent feedback from various channels, like mentors, peer managers and asking their new reports (after they built up trust). The best time to build up habits that will make one a good and efficient manager is in the early days of this role - but seeking and getting good and actionable feedback is key. To avoid this: gather people who you can get honest feedback from, ask for the feedback, listen and see if you can or should change your behavior.

I also collected some things that helped me transition into engineering management.