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Technical Vs Management Jobs

Sharn Arora
Ranch Hand

Joined: May 09, 2006
Posts: 57
Hi All,

This is my first post in the forum. Not sure if it fits in here but would love to have opinion of fellow ranchers.

I am working with a reputed indian based IT company from the past 4 years. I have spent these 4 years working on various platforms and technologies. Particularly, my inclination is towards J2EE platform.
My dilemma of 'Technical Vs Management Jobs' has arisen from a PL (Project Leader) role that I'm currently being offered. I'm a bit reluctant in accepting this role as I feel that it involves lot of management related activities that I'll be left with no time for technical stuff and I'm more interested in technical work.
I think if you are not comfortable in the kind of job you are doing, you will not be able to give your 100% and hence be inefficient. At the same time, I have seen the trend that if you accept such roles, its very good for your career growth. But it also makes me wonder, how good a PL can be if he is not technically sound and is not able to deliver the quality product to client. Can someone please take me out of this delimma.. Is this the right time to make a switch from technical to management stuff? What can be the possible alternatives. Thanks, in advance.


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Balaji Loganathan
author and deputy
Bartender

Joined: Jul 13, 2001
Posts: 3150
both Technical or Management job have equal challenges in its own style.
You can't do coding all the time. At one point of your career, you have to switch to management.
if you really really really like coding in your life(like a member of sourceforge team, apache team or others), stay with it. If not you can take this opp and get on to the next step of your life.
Management involves challenges like socializing, effective communication, new contacts management, new business, fresh ideas, document writing etc., You can get certification from PMP, finance etc., You will get more visibility in your company and new chances of hirings, travels etc.,


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David O'Meara
Rancher

Joined: Mar 06, 2001
Posts: 13459

Better suited to the Job Discussion forum, I'll move it there for you.

Dave
Svend Rost
Ranch Hand

Joined: Oct 23, 2002
Posts: 904
Hi,

you should post in the Jobs Discussion forum.

If you accept the job as a PM you'll most likely have less time to
do technical stuff. Conserning the importance of technical knowledge
of a PM I agree that in most cases it's important that he/she knows
whats "going on".

I think if you are not comfortable in the kind of job you are doing, you will not be able to give your 100% and hence be inefficient. At the same time, I have seen the trend that if you accept such roles, its very good for your career growth.

It might be good - if you wish to take the management route.. but it
doesn't seem as if that's where you want to go. Then again, if you've
never been a PM you dont know what it's like.. would it be possible to
take the position as PM, and then later return as a developer?

You need to ask yourself where would you like to see yourself in
5 years from now?

/Svend Rost
Abhijit Kumar
Ranch Hand

Joined: Sep 28, 2005
Posts: 225
As a 2+ years experienced person, my opinions may not reflect the true reality of IT World, but I think that Indian IT scenario is undergoing a slow, but sure change.

Till 2 years back if somebody wanted to move up the ladder, his/her only option was to look at the management side. But now with the kind of work coming to India (e.g.: CRL labs at TCS where they have projects in Nanotechnology and other cutting-edge technologies) the 'techie' has the option to become 'Technical Fellow' , 'Principal Software Architect', ' X Domain Architect', CIO/CSO and not just PL/PM/CEO

Also I feel that too many people are trying to be 'Managers', so those who want to climb the technical ladder can create a niche for themselves and survive tough times (e.g.: In recent Intel layoffs, majority where middle-level managers).

Just my 2 cents.

AK
Srikanth MJ
Greenhorn

Joined: Aug 26, 2006
Posts: 4
Both the jobs (Technical and Management) have their own challenges and risks. Ultimately you need to decide what you want for yourself. Prospect of losing touch of one's technical skills is one of the common reactions for a person wanting to move to the Management role. But once you get over it there are lots of challenges ahead in the management career.
Its easy to be a manager but to be a Good Manager you need to keep the people reporting to you as well as your Boss happy and that is one of the big challenge.
David O'Meara
Rancher

Joined: Mar 06, 2001
Posts: 13459

"Srinath",
Welcome to the JavaRanch.

We're a friendly group, but we do require members to have valid display names.

Display names must be two words: your first name, a space, then your last name. Fictitious names are not allowed.

Please edit your profile and correct your display name since accounts with display names get deleted, often without warning

thanks,
Dave
ankur rathi
Ranch Hand

Joined: Oct 11, 2004
Posts: 3830
Originally posted by Sharn Arora:
Hi All,

This is my first post in the forum. Not sure if it fits in here but would love to have opinion of fellow ranchers.

I am working with a reputed indian based IT company from the past 4 years. I have spent these 4 years working on various platforms and technologies. Particularly, my inclination is towards J2EE platform.
My dilemma of 'Technical Vs Management Jobs' has arisen from a PL (Project Leader) role that I'm currently being offered. I'm a bit reluctant in accepting this role as I feel that it involves lot of management related activities that I'll be left with no time for technical stuff and I'm more interested in technical work.
I think if you are not comfortable in the kind of job you are doing, you will not be able to give your 100% and hence be inefficient. At the same time, I have seen the trend that if you accept such roles, its very good for your career growth. But it also makes me wonder, how good a PL can be if he is not technically sound and is not able to deliver the quality product to client. Can someone please take me out of this delimma.. Is this the right time to make a switch from technical to management stuff? What can be the possible alternatives. Thanks, in advance.


I am concluding from your post that you are not comfortable with management job. I would suggest you, go for it. It's a challange for you and you should not run away from it, accept and do it...

All the best.
Mike Van
Ranch Hand

Joined: Apr 06, 2006
Posts: 83
I think the core question here is: what are the differences between a management job and a technical one?

As someone who has been successful to varying degrees in both roles, I think it comes down to just a few things.

First, a management position does have a technical requirement. The difference is the technical part of the management position deals with accounting and performance metrics. So then, they are both technical positions.

Second, the management position has a strong requirement for effective communications. You've all heard the complaint " Why didn't you just say that?" As a manager, you have to understand who your talking to, what they will understand, and then tailor what you are going to say to your audience. This doesn't mean to speak to the lowest common denominator of your entire office, but it does mean that you dont' talk over anyone's head. Communication is the toughest skill a manager must master, and few do it appropriately. Conversely, with programming there are generally very well understood methods of communicating, be it a use-case diagram or well formed javadocs, there is usually some standard you can follow.

Third, don't wear your heart on your sleeve. If you like being the popular person in the office, dont' take the management job. Managers are loved and hated by all, at once. If you give one person kudos, someone else will feel ignored. If you give one person a bonus, everyone else will expect it. And, if you have to fire someone, expect to see everyone's performance drop and at least 2 others to quit. This is something you probably dont' have to deal with in most technical jobs, other than light office politics.

Fourth, soft skill vs hard skills. A hard skill is something easily taught and learned. Your skill at programming may have taken you years to master, but there was always training available to you to learn. A soft-skill is something that isn't easily taught or learned. People skills are a major portion of the soft-skill area. By personality, some people are just good at interacting with others. Some aren't, and others are very poor at it. Management jobs require soft skills. If you can't master your soft-skills or you have a hard time speaking with people, management isn't your thing. Just like if you aren't good that problem solving and deducing algorithms, computer programming isn't your thing. Someone once said that a manager without people skills usually relies on fear and intimidation to get people to work. If that's the case with you, don't expect high degrees of performance, because people rarely work well under duress.

Fifth, a manager's job is to define the goal, the technical person's job is to figure out how to get there. As such, if you, as a manager, interfere or put up obstacles to your techie's ability to perform well, you are failing as a manager. Your job as a manager is to remove obstacles and make sure the techie's path is clear. The techie's job is to bust thier butt to make sure that goal is met.

Lastly, if as a techie, you prided yourself with your ability to cut-corners and "beat the system", you're going to have a tough transition to management. Managers not only have to work within the system, they are usually expected to define the system.

Ok, that's all for now. Hope that helps.


Mike Van
If at first you don't succeed, try, try again. Unless you really suck at it. Then, you might just want to try something else, if you dont' want to be a loser I mean.
Svend Rost
Ranch Hand

Joined: Oct 23, 2002
Posts: 904
Great post Mike. Thanks for sharing your expirience.
Billy Tsai
Ranch Hand

Joined: May 23, 2003
Posts: 1297
there is no future in just being a programmer no matter even if you are senior


BEA 8.1 Certified Administrator, IBM Certified Solution Developer For XML 1.1 and Related Technologies, SCJP, SCWCD, SCBCD, SCDJWS, SCJD, SCEA,
Oracle Certified Master Java EE 5 Enterprise Architect
Mike Van
Ranch Hand

Joined: Apr 06, 2006
Posts: 83
Originally posted by Billy Tsai:
there is no future in just being a programmer no matter even if you are senior


I respectfully disagree. The fact is, software engineers will always be necessary, more so than mediocre middle-managers anyway. If one is a pure software engineer, is good at it, and is capable of keeping thier knowledge-base up-to-date with the bleeding edge of technology, they will always be able to get a job.
Summer Cheung
Greenhorn

Joined: Apr 08, 2002
Posts: 5
Originally posted by Billy Tsai:
there is no future in just being a programmer no matter even if you are senior


I agree with you.Your opinion is correct, especially in China.
There are two factors in this question.
The one is "who you are?", What is your be good at? And what is your short factors? etc... If you can get these questions' answer clearly, you can get the right choice.
The another one is that "What do you wanna do?" You need money? beautiful life?etc These things will be around with your mind.So you should deside it firstly?
[ August 31, 2006: Message edited by: Summer Cheung ]
 
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