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Career of a developer - How?

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  • User profile image
    mertsakarya

    I am wondering, how should a software developer's career be.

    I have been developing software for more than fifteen years. I am working as a software architect and managing a team of twelve wonderful developers.

    In all my training and professional life, I encouraged myself to solve problems, design and write code (to be an engineer). I always thought myself as a developer. I worked as a single developer, team member, architect and project manager. I had to choose between hardware and software, Systems engineer and software engineer, Microsoft and Unix, Application development and System Development, Web development and Windows development in time. Than specialized in selected area with keeping up with what's going on in other technologies.

    My skills are on software engineering (Microsoft and web development) and I am good at it. But... Managing people, dealing with daily business problems and networking between departments are not my area (I want to put my headphones on and code for days without interruption). Now I am pushed to be a manager in my career. But manager's responsibilities and skills are different than engineers.

    Can an engineer be a good manager? As a manager I won't be using my main skills, I have to learn a different/new skill-set. Have I wasted my time all these years?

    So, I am wondering, how should a software engineer set his/her career.

  • User profile image
    Shaded

    Well think of it this way.  When you were an engineer did you want a manager that knew what you were doing, to supervise and help you, or did you want a manager that had no idea what you are doing?

    It is my belief that if those with talent do not step up, then others will come along and make things worse.

    As far as career advise, do what gives you the most money for the most enjoyable effort.  If it puts food on the table and a roof over your head, good for you, the rest is fluff really.

    It is true; manager's skills and responsibilities are different, but not very.  Yes an engineer can be a good manager, especially if your work is forcing you to be one, they see things in you that you don't.  Ask them what it is, and believe them when you hear it.

  • User profile image
    gswitz

    Thanks for your post. It has caused me to do a lot of thinking.

    Everyone gets asked to do work that isn't their favorite, and the unfamiliar is always less appealing. Maybe one day you'll look back on the good old management days.

    Blessings,

    G

    My daughter says...
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  • User profile image
    littleguru

    I think also this is the way how the career of a developer goes. Everyone that is in lead of a small group is a "manager".

    It's better people who know coding and understand technologies are in front then some other stupid guys that know only about marketing and nothing else...


    One of my professors told us students a few weeks ago: "Try to read books of management or other books of fields that you like but have nothing to do with computer science. Everybody should have an open mind for everything. It is more important to understand connections as being a person that knows only his little part".

  • User profile image
    icelava

    mertsakarya wrote:
    Can an engineer be a good manager? As a manager I won't be using my main skills, I have to learn a different/new skill-set. Have I wasted my time all these years?
    Wish i had that amount of years under my beat to start reflecting Smiley

    I think Number One is the individual's career and life goals. Do you wish to be a businessman in the plumbing industry, or be an expert plumber? Those should present two different paths (how drastic, i dunno).

    Here in Singapore, I hardly meet programmers/developers who want to remain a hardcore developer forever. It has largely to do with the local culture where developers are not highly regarded and the only way up the chain to larger remunerations and hierarchy position is to management. That means leaving the "lowly" work of programming (construction) to younger blood. Money wins at the end of the day.

    In fact, of a different vein, i am trying to looking into ways to promote a change in mindset amongst local employers how they engage and employ developers to carry out project work. Would love to hear/read what advice can be had for this
    http://groups.yahoo.com/group/going_independent/message/254

  • User profile image
    ScanIAm

    mertsakarya wrote:


    Can an engineer be a good manager? As a manager I won't be using my main skills, I have to learn a different/new skill-set. Have I wasted my time all these years?

    ...


    I think it is possible, however I have tried it and hated it.  After a while, I spent more time managing than coding and eventually would have had to quit coding entirely.  Luckily, I was terrible at management so I was laid off and able to return to coding for a living Smiley

    You may also want to check out the Peter Principle:

    http://www.bartleby.com/61/4/P0220400.html



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