So you are an ambitious senior developer… what next?
- 1 – Move into team leading / management
- 2 – Move into architecture
- 3 – Focus on the cash and go contracting
For the purposes of this blog let’s focus on the first option of moving into management. We will discuss the hugely rewarding opportunities it presents. But we will also highlight some of the pitfalls and how to negate these risks.
The first piece of advice we would offer to any ambitious senior developer is to speak to your employer. Declare your management ambition formally during an appraisal. But also have informal discussions with your line manager about the opportunities to progress within the organisation.
Take the first step onto the management ladder with your current employer where possible. (We appreciate this is not always possible)
Gaining software dev management responsibility can be tough. You will have a steep learning curve, especially if it is your first time managing anyone.
If you add in the complexities of doing this in a brand new workplace it can make this transition even tougher.
In your current employment you will:
Already know the team members (good and bad).
Understand the state of the projects in the pipeline:
- Absolute familiarity around the tech stack and codebase
Know your stakeholders and direct managers characteristics (Good / Bad / Ugly)
Have some insights into how supportive the company/management will be to you as a new manager.
Find out what external training and support you can reasonably expect to support your transition into your new role.
If you are moving jobs into new employment:
Take a good look at the above points and ask the pertinent questions during the interview process. The last thing you want to do is arrive on day one to a toxic mix of an under-resourced disengaged team. Who are under immense pressure to deliver a fireball project against unrealistic timelines. Where the stakeholders will not accept ‘no’ for an answer and your line manager has no time for you as he’s in meetings all day. We paint a dark picture here for effect, equally to find a 100% perfect environment is also unlikely, but make sure you go in with your eyes open knowing what to expect.
We will continue this series of blogs with some articles containing hints and tips for a new manager and also some management and leadership content to support your growth.
It might be a bit counter-intuitive for a recruitment firm to be advising candidates to stay where you are, but we have to be honest with our advice. However, If you do need to move on to get some management responsibility then please get in touch. Here at Greenfield IT Recruitment, we have helped many Software Developers find their first foothold on the management ladder and go on to build successful careers in IT Management, some becoming IT Directors and CIO’s.