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John Van Wagenen
John Van Wagenen

Posted on

What is a Tech Lead?

This isn't a new topic by any means, but some recent events at work brought this question to my mind. I started writing down my thoughts and doing some research on it and thought this might be a great question to ask here on!

So, what is a Tech Lead? How would you define it? What roles and responsibilities do they have? What skills should they have? Any recommendations on resources to learn more about this role?

Top comments (4)

leightondarkins profile image
Leighton Darkins

The list of things a Tech Lead can be is almost infinite. The list of things a Tech Lead is, in a given context, is almost always unique.

There's a great book by Pat Kua called Talking With Tech Leads that really helped me grasp the breadth and depth of the possible meanings of Tech Lead. It also really helps me in my transition from follower to leader as my career continues to unfold.

For a small injection of opinion: In my current context, a Tech Lead is a technical guidance counsellor, a conflict resolver, a crunch-time decision maker, and, above all else, an enabler for all members of the team.

jtvanwage profile image
John Van Wagenen • Edited

Thank you for your thoughts! I've come across Pat Kua's blog and I like what he has to say about tech leads. I'll have to check out his book!

I agree that the list of what tech leads could be responsible for is almost infinite and what they actually do or are varies from company to company. Thank you for sharing your opinion on the matter! That's what I'm looking for. What do you think tech leads are? No right or wrong answers, really. Just trying to collect different viewpoints.

Thanks again for sharing!

scottshipp profile image

A person being asked to carry more responsibility but without getting a raise

teachingtls profile image

As much as I want to hate

scottshipp image

response below, he's not wrong.

But, the way I see it, the TL is a multifaceted role. They are a bridge between the solution design and the client. They are a caretaker of the development team. And they are the guardian of the codebase itself.

You need to be able to talk to the non technical business type folk about the problem they're facing and how your team can provide a solution to it. Once they've agreed, you need to be able to (single handedly or with an architect)design the solution. Then, break said solution down into byte sized morsels to hand off to your developers... before locking them away never to be bothered by the PM again.

I go into more detail in one of my posts on

or you can find more of my thoughts on the matter in my blog TeachingTechLeads