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Staying Technical or Going Management: 8 Things to Consider

August 20, 2013

If you’re a techie, chances are high that at some point in your career, you will have the option to make the jump to a management role. When thishappens, congratulations! Pat yourself on the back—and then pause. While management is a great track for some, it’s by no means the only way up, and it’s definitely not right for everyone. Here’s how to best decide what your next step should be:

1.       What do you like about your job? Is your favorite part of your current role working with people, or are you more in love with your projects and your work itself?  The fact of the matter is that not everyone is an extrovert who enjoys constant engagement with coworkers. If the thought of doing twelve performance reviews makes you ill, it might be a good idea to stay put. 

2.       Management isn’t the only way up. Organizations realize that not everyone strives to be a manager. If your organization has architecture, security or enterprise resource planning positions, investigate these as great places to grow and take on additional responsibility doing the type of technical work you love instead of managing teams.

3.       What appeals to you about a management role? Again, consider your own tendencies towards introversion/extroversion and working with people in general. Are you interested in management just for access to interesting projects and a higher salary, or do people and leadership excite you?

4.       Will your work/life balance change in a management role? Managers have different obligations and responsibilities—will this change your job demands? If so, are you willing to make those adjustments?

5.       Long-term, would you like to grow your management skills or your technical skills?It’s as simple as this: when you idly imagine yourself five years down the road, is it working on an awesome new technical project, or running meetings for technical teams?

6.       Do you feel supported taking on a new role? At an organizational and departmental level, do you feel like you have a safety net of folks who want to see you succeed? Or would taking a career risk leave you on your own? If a management role does appeal to you, make sure you have resources within the organization who will help you through the transition period.

7.       If management really isn’t for you, specialize. Investigate other ways to become even more valuable to your department and your organization—and keep learning and growing your skills.

8.       No matter what you choose, grow your soft skills. Even if you opt to stay a techie, the higher up you advance the more you are representing the business to higher-ups and clients, and it’s critical that you are able to be a resource to non-techies when they reach out to you.

Are you interested in management, or are you happy with tech? How does that change your goals and future professional plans? Let us know in the comments!

Posted By: Madeline Stone


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