Being an IT Manager vs. Techie or Developer.....
That depends. Managing an IT group is a real skill, whether anyone tells you that or not. One of the required traits is knowing how to give assignments, trust that the people will accomplish the assignment, and knowing how often to verify that they are in fact doing the assignment correctly.
Do you think you have the right temperament for the job?
Often, it's a trap.
The "IT Manager", sometimes called "Project Manager", is the cut-out between management and developers. So he can get screwed from both ends.
If the developers slow-walk his work, he looks bad, the project gets late, and replacing the IT Manager is what upper management does to placate irate customers. They CAN'T fire the developers, they need them to finish the code. Or so they think.
If the IT Manager steps in to expedite things by actually coding, he can be criticized by upper management for "not doing his job", or for "micro-managing".
This doesn't always happen, and often the "IT Manager" really is a manager of a departement with hire-fire and wage setting permissions. But when that's not the case, it sucks.
And when promoting from within, they tend to get the latest uber-developer to take on "additional responsibilities", who doesn't know any better than to ask for hire-fire authority, and who doesn't know without that, HE is the one on the hook.
The "IT Manager", sometimes called "Project Manager"
Very rarely are both the same. They are usually two completely different roles.
The programmers report to an IT Manager as their primary reporting structure. The IT Manager does personnel reviews, submits raise requests, makes assignments etc.
The programmer may report dotted line to one to many project managers depending on how many projects they are on. They are responsible to each project manager for what they are doing on specific projects.
The only times this would be different:
1. The programmer is part of a PMO (Project Management Office) and there is no direct IT Manager outside the PMO.
2. Small organization. or SMB's. (Small to medium sized buxinesses).
In your example, PS, do they promote IT Managers from developers?
If you get a job where you are accountable for other people's performance, but don't have hire/fire authority, that is not a true manager job. That's the worst of both worlds.
Managers don't get subjected to whiteboard interviews.
However, management is a completely different skill than writing software.
A laid-off manager can have a MUCH harder time finding a new job than a hand-on worker. However, as you get older, people assume that something's wrong with you if you're still an individual contributor.
Plus, most places have limited advancement as you stay technical. Even at places that have a technical career track, it's much more competitive than the management ladder. I.e., count the number of "staff engineer" roles vs the number of managers who earn a comparable salary.
March 20th, 2017 7:06pm