Should You Become an Engineering Manager?

Yes.  Or No.  Only you can figure out the right answer for you and your situation.  

For the sake of this post I will assume that you are currently a senior software engineer, and your are thinking about trying to become a manager or have already been given a chance to become one.

Engineering management is not about individual accomplishment.   In a management role it is likely that you will be much more responsible for the success or failure of one or more teams, than you are as an engineer.   This responsibility can put pressure on you.    In addition, the way you measure your success will change, as you will need to think in terms of your team’s performance, not just your own.

You will need to deal with people: managers, peers, and reports, as much or more than you deal with technology.   And dealing with people is often tougher than dealing with code and designs!  Most engineers are good/familiar to work with, but as a manager, you will need to deal more with folks outside of the engineering department (Product Management, Marketing, Sales, HR, Support, Execs, etc.).  These folks often think and act in ways that can challenge an engineer’s perspective.

But if you take the time to develop your skills, you can get the thrill of far greater accomplishment than you will as an individual.   It is a real satisfying feeling when you can help teams of happy and productive engineers consistently delivering valuable products.

Seek more information relevant to your prospective role.  This blog is a start.  There are plenty of other great blogs, books, and written resources you can tap.  

Key advice you will see again and again in this blog: seek out role models and coaches, people who are already succeeding in the area you wish to succeed in (in this case engineering management).   Cultivate a relationship and have them help you long term.   Build your network, don’t wait for it to spontaneously generate itself.