Individual Contributor to Manager
I really enjoy the opportunity to chat with individuals after workshops and get their personal questions and have more dialogue about my work, responsibilities, and how is it being an Information Technology Professional.
A question from one of my recent conversations was,
As much as I’d like to say it was easy, it wasn’t. As a developer/software engineer, I had got to a level where I felt really comfortable and confident in my technical acumen and I was looking for what did I want my future to be like. Did I want to continue down an Individual Contributor path or go down a People Manager path. Did I want to stay on the Technical side of the house, or get closer to the Business. From the time I was in undergrad studying Computer Science, I was more of the social engineer type. Although I would like to spend time by myself, I would also like to work with other, try to form teams to get work done. So I knew I wanted to become a People Manager at some point, but the question becomes, ‘When?’. Become a People Manager as a software engineer can happen naturally, but for me it took some intentional effort. I started by attending graduate school and getting an MBA. I felt this would help me with managing in general. Secondly, I participated in leadership programs such as Leadership Fort Worth. I also continued to hone my managerial skills in other areas such as through volunteerism and my personal business ventures where I have to manage contractors, vendors, suppliers, etc.
So there are some things you can do to determine if becoming a manager is something you would like to do, externally (outside of your organization) and sometimes organizations have opportunities internally to support the transition from an Individual Contributor to a Manager. Continued education, whether through certifications or degrees, are also another resource for helping with the transition.
Being a people manager is not about being the BOSS but more so about helping individuals find their passions, and setting them up for opportunities to succeed.