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Thread: Going from Dev to manager....

  1. #1
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    Going from Dev to manager....

    As a general question, I'd be interested in hearing what people believe is needed to go from a developer to a development manager (or other manager in IT). What is generally needed as far as skills, training, or other. Also, what are the concerns you would have in being promoted to such a position? If you've been through this transition, then what did you find to be the issues?

    If you respond to any of my questions above, also indicate if you are a developer, manager, or if you are in a different position. This will help in understanding your response.

    Thanks!

    Brad!
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    Brad! Jones,
    LotsOfSoftware, LLC
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  2. #2
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    Re: Going from Dev to manager....

    Going from a grinder to a minder (eg developer to manager) requires a different set of skills and a different mindset - soft skills for managing people. Some grinders can make the leap and some can't. Just because you are a 'brilliant' developer does not mean or imply that you will be even a moderately good manager. A grinder deals mainly with technology - a minder deals mainly with people. You can go on courses for 'people skills' or project management etc etc but if you haven't really got an instinctive 'feel' for minding then you're going to struggle. You also need to have/retain the respect of your grinders - which means that they respect both your technical and management skills. If you can't get their respect and keep it then you might as well go back to being a grinder. You need to be able to make decisions, know when things aren't going right and when to change things. You need to know what's going on and to keep on top of things. One of the biggest problems for a newly promoted grinder to minder is to realise that you are no longer a grinder!
    All advice is offered in good faith only. All my code is tested (unless stated explicitly otherwise) with the latest version of Microsoft Visual Studio (using the supported features of the latest standard) and is offered as examples only - not as production quality. I cannot offer advice regarding any other c/c++ compiler/IDE or incompatibilities with VS. You are ultimately responsible for the effects of your programs and the integrity of the machines they run on. Anything I post, code snippets, advice, etc is licensed as Public Domain https://creativecommons.org/publicdomain/zero/1.0/ and can be used without reference or acknowledgement. Also note that I only provide advice and guidance via the forums - and not via private messages!

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    Re: Going from Dev to manager....

    +10 to what 2kaud just wrote. I really the like the grinder/minder description. And it would apply to any industry.

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    Re: Going from Dev to manager....

    The other one in the trio is finder - ie the salesman. So for a good company you need expert grinders, minders and finders.
    All advice is offered in good faith only. All my code is tested (unless stated explicitly otherwise) with the latest version of Microsoft Visual Studio (using the supported features of the latest standard) and is offered as examples only - not as production quality. I cannot offer advice regarding any other c/c++ compiler/IDE or incompatibilities with VS. You are ultimately responsible for the effects of your programs and the integrity of the machines they run on. Anything I post, code snippets, advice, etc is licensed as Public Domain https://creativecommons.org/publicdomain/zero/1.0/ and can be used without reference or acknowledgement. Also note that I only provide advice and guidance via the forums - and not via private messages!

    C++17 Compiler: Microsoft VS2017 (15.9.4)

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    Re: Going from Dev to manager....

    Quote Originally Posted by Brad Jones View Post
    Also, what are the concerns you would have in being promoted to such a position?
    The developer-to-manager transition used to be the only way to get promoted but I think this has been changing for a while. In many companies people are rather encouraged to keep doing what they do best and are being promoted within that capacity with more responsibilities, higher salary and fancier job titles. I can see a trend where middle management is shrinking and replaced by exceptional individuals who lead informally by competence. At least in younger companies.

    http://panmore.com/google-organizati...tional-culture
    Last edited by wolle; December 3rd, 2017 at 02:18 AM.

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    Re: Going from Dev to manager....

    Thanks guys! I'd be interested in hearing if any others have comments or thoughts to add.

    Do you believe companies do a good job of helping developers make the transition to management? What could be done better?
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    LotsOfSoftware, LLC
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  7. #7
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    Re: Going from Dev to manager....

    Do you believe companies do a good job of helping developers make the transition to management?
    Not in my experience.

    What could be done better?
    This somewhat depends upon the size/structure of the company and the layers of management. If possible have another experienced manager (NOT your line manager/director) as a mentor.
    All advice is offered in good faith only. All my code is tested (unless stated explicitly otherwise) with the latest version of Microsoft Visual Studio (using the supported features of the latest standard) and is offered as examples only - not as production quality. I cannot offer advice regarding any other c/c++ compiler/IDE or incompatibilities with VS. You are ultimately responsible for the effects of your programs and the integrity of the machines they run on. Anything I post, code snippets, advice, etc is licensed as Public Domain https://creativecommons.org/publicdomain/zero/1.0/ and can be used without reference or acknowledgement. Also note that I only provide advice and guidance via the forums - and not via private messages!

    C++17 Compiler: Microsoft VS2017 (15.9.4)

  8. #8
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    Re: Going from Dev to manager....

    Quote Originally Posted by wolle View Post
    I can see a trend where middle management is shrinking and replaced by exceptional individuals who lead informally by competence. At least in younger companies.
    That sounds great and it should happen everywhere. Promotion to management shouldn't be the only venue for career or salary progression.

    Quote Originally Posted by Brad Jones View Post
    If you respond to any of my questions above, also indicate if you are a developer, manager, or if you are in a different position. This will help in understanding your response.
    Between developer and manager, I have to classify myself as developer although I do much more than just development or "coding". I myself have had a management position only once, and I hated it. I couldn't stand the uselessness of only doing "high-level" tasks.

    Warning: Incendiary comment ahead ...
    Becoming a developer with the vision of being promoted to management is a sign of vocational confusion and is a source of frustration to that person and those who work with him. Change 'developer' (or 'programmer') to 'physician' and you'll see my point: What would you think of a physician who says "I became physician because at the end of the day I want to be promoted to management"? Likewise, in the field of music, who's the star: Hendrix|Slash|Dave Mustaine or their manager? Same with sports, chess, etc.

    The common notion of 'developer' has been mostly degraded or trivialized as it if were mere "coding", that is, little more than bare typing of reserved words following some syntax. The "philosophy" of having one person do the business analysis; another one translating requirements to technical terms; another one the coding; and a manager to act as liaison with others, negotiate scope, deadlines, etc. is wasteful and very constraining. The capable programmer can do all of that without need for the middleman, aka manager.

    I don't doubt that there exist some worthy managers, but generally speaking my concern is the overhead and waste that stem from the typical manager who actually hates and was bad at development. Many times I find it frustrating when the manager wants to be kept in the loop even though he's the one with the least understanding (and least interest) of what's going on.

    Conclusion: Don't aspire to become a manager. If that's the long-term motivation for getting into development, that's an indication that you would be happier in a different profession.
    Last edited by iviggers; February 1st, 2018 at 04:20 PM.

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