Dwelling on engineers' weaknesses hurts morale and productivity. To help your engineers perform better, build well-rounded teams that leverage...
Webinar: How I became an engineering leader
Developers turned engineering managers discuss the skills you need to level up your career.
Ariel Weinberger is Vice President of Research & Development at Amplication. With over a decade of experience in software development, he grew to leading an engineering department of 60+ engineers.
Steven Yi is Vice President of Marketing and Growth at Educative. He is a developer-focused growth marketing leader with hands-on expertise as a former software architect across multiple platforms, devices, and cloud, including leading the global marketing launch of Microsoft Azure.
Click here to watch the full webinar on demand.
In the months following the Great Resignation, competition for software engineering jobs remains high. To set yourself apart, it's more important than ever to level up your skills.
A strong technical baseline can help you land exciting roles and find early success. But to move up the career ladder, you'll need to focus on building key leadership skills.
Today we'll cover how you can make the leap from developer to engineering manager.
- Qualities of a great engineering leader
- Habits to unlearn
- Balancing performance with mentorship
- Overcoming challenges
- The future of leadership
- Advancing your career
Qualities of a great engineering leader
Think back to the best managers you've had in your career. What specific actions did they take to help you thrive? Everyone has a different management style, but these 3 qualities are crucial to leading successful engineering teams.
- Ask questions and break down concepts to provide clarity.
- Avoid assumptions that people know what you're talking about. Provide concise background context.
- Acknowledge others' perspectives and relate to their feelings.
- Engage in healthy conversations. For example, listen without interrupting and ask questions to learn more.
- Learn what motivates your engineers.
Extreme sense of ownership
- Show bias for action by looping in the right people, providing feedback, and communicating with stakeholders.
- Make tough decisions that will benefit the business when a group can't reach a consensus.
Habits to unlearn
Some of the habits that help you succeed as an engineer can hinder your success as an engineering manager. As you move up the career ladder, you may need to unlearn old habits and shift your mindset. Here are some tips that can help you adapt to your new role:
Stay in the loop, without diving deep
- Accept that you won't be the smartest person in the room.
- Focus on hiring and enabling the right people to execute your mission.
- Avoid blocking your engineers.
Success is measured by the impact of people, processes, and delivery
- Don’t measure your performance on the quality of your code.
- Delegate to your team. Accept that their implementation will be different from yours.
- Stay focused on the outcome and provide your team support as needed. Mistakes are part of the journey.
Help yourself get on track
- Train yourself by using platforms like EMHub, reading leadership books, and seeking mentorship. EMs may not receive formal management training.
- Reflect on your work often and ask for feedback. The best leaders never stop growing.
Balancing performance with mentorship
As an EM, you are responsible for supporting business goals and people's career growth. To find a successful balance, keep these 3 things in mind:
- The business strives to make money.
- Your team needs motivation to achieve business goals.
- Software engineers want to grow and work on exciting projects.
The trick is to negotiate these 3 points and find as many win-win solutions as possible. Here are some tips that can help:
- Let your engineers set their own goals and work together to align them with business outcomes. The SMART method can help guide this process.
- Businesses move fast – leave room for goals to evolve.
- Identify growth areas for your engineers and help them improve.