How to become a programmer manager – experts answer
There is good news. If you really want to do this, then you will immediately have to “try on the skin” of the manager. First you need to figure out the goal of whether or not changing your role is your goal, and not a desire, for example, to make more money (various root cause analysis techniques can help with this). Then you have to formulate it, it’s better to immediately in terms of SMART (S – specific, M – measurable, A – achievable, R – relevant, T – time-bounded) ) Decompose and turn into an action plan. All that remains is to realize it.
Of course, this transformation can be a long one, especially if you decide not just to associate yourself with this profession, but to succeed (the soldier who does not dream of becoming a general is bad). One way or another, you have to learn a lot. Not because you may not have an appropriate foundation, but because management is also a fairly dynamic field of knowledge. Here I can’t help but give one of my favorite quotes: “If it seems to you that education is very expensive, then consider how much its absence will cost.” This does not mean that you definitely need to go to receive a special higher education or MBA, but it will be necessary to systematize your knowledge in the field of management. If we talk about books, I would pay tribute to the management guru and start with the more fundamental books of Drucker, Deming, and then move on to the more motivating ones: Adizes, Tracy, Sharmer. I also recommend that you immediately choose for yourself the most interesting periodicals that will keep you in good shape and provide new ideas for development. My favorite here is Harvard Business Review.
Any managerial position implies a greater involvement in the business and focus on business results. Therefore, immediately think about filling in the gaps in economics, marketing, and finance. For example, in the field of marketing, you can start with the classics – the works of Philip Kotler, and then get acquainted with the more popular ideas based on works on neuroeconomics (Barden) and go deeper into more interesting areas for yourself (maybe it will be digital).
If engineering skills are dominated by hard skills, and their depth determines mainly your expertise, then in management key competencies will relate to soft skills. Therefore, you can not do without additional knowledge in the field of psychology, emotional intelligence, design thinking, leadership, etc. You have to learn to listen and hear, understand and accept. “A good leader can be recognized by the scars in the tongue. Listen more, speak less. ”
Perhaps the main challenge for any representative of the engineering profession will be the need to part with their expertise. Indeed, as soon as you choose the path of a manager, you will have to reconsider your priorities, and your knowledge will begin to devalue. Psychologically, it’s hard enough to perceive – what you feel confident in will cease to be a criterion for evaluating your activity. It will be very difficult for you to force yourself to give up the habits developed over the years and abandon the attempt to do it yourself. But at first it will provide you with a definite advantage: you can rely on your experience in assessing resources and evaluating the results achieved, until you learn to do it in a new way. Another fundamental innovation that cannot be avoided is work in conditions of uncertainty. In management, the higher you go up, the higher the uncertainty. You often will not have a clear answer and an unambiguous recipe, but then your knowledge and experience will begin to help you.
Are you ready to embark on this path, you decide. But if you make an effort and persevere, then this knowledge will help you become an entrepreneur, but this is a completely different story …