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Conor Bronsdon for LinearB

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How Promotions Ruin Dev Careers w/ Shopify's Dir. of Engineering James Stanier

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In so many professions, the reward for exceptional work is a promotion to management. Unfortunately, for developers whose programming gets them singled out for promotion, the skills to manage a team have nothing to do with the work that got them recognized in the first place.

James Stanier, Director of Engineering at Shopify, understands the pitfalls of being promoted from an IC to an engineering manager, and began writing as a way to think through the mistakes he himself was making.

Today, James is an accomplished author; his first book Become An Effective Software Engineering Manager debuted in 2020, and his second book Effective Remote Work was published earlier this year.

On this week’s episode of Dev Interrupted, James talks about how developers can prepare themselves for a role in management, or alternatively, why they should avoid a career in management altogether. He also discusses why Shopify loves remote pair programming, how to find your voice as a developer and why writing a book can be a spiritual experience.

Episode Highlights Include:

  • (4:06) Why so many devs are afraid of becoming managers
  • (16:51) The 90 day management test
  • (22:46) Remote work has increased dev productivity by default
  • (27:47) Why Shopify loves remote pair programming
  • (33:01) Finding your voice as a developer
  • (41:17) Writing a book can be a spiritual experience

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Top comments (1)

nobilitypnw profile image

His advice on a sort of 90-day management dry run is really interesting. I suspect more orgs should try implementing something like that.