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Do all tech guys / developers have to become managers or something like that ?

Andy Jack
Ranch Hand

Joined: Nov 22, 2012
Posts: 257
I keep hearing this from developers and even other type of engineers (young, old, male, female, 2 years experience to 10 years experience) that in their line of work there is not much progress "after a certain point" in terms of
responsibilities , SALARY !!! and some other stuff. Often, you have to work on weekends, late nights and mess the work-life balance to get work done. This also came from some guys who are in "good" positions in "big" companies.
They tell me to do only 2-3 years of dev (even when i could do 6-7) and become a manager or business analyst after that. To add to that, they also say that developers are like a commodity which can be replaced
by other developers from across the world. So, there is also the element of fading into obscurity. Feel very sad and discouraged to hear this again and again.
So, Is this just cold hard reality or just a notion ?

Why can't i be a tech guy for my whole life and enjoy what i do, rather than managing teams, doing financials and stuff like that ? Those things are important and require another kind of aptitude and intelligence, but I don't enjoy them.

I wanted to put this in the jobs section, but not sure if i should.


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Jayesh A Lalwani
Bartender

Joined: Jan 17, 2008
Posts: 2402
    
  28

Yes for the most part, this is the most annoying thing about the industry. Management is seen as some sort of holy grail by the management, and they push people who are good at coding into managing, which they may not be good at. It's Peter principle in action
Jelle Klap
Bartender

Joined: Mar 10, 2008
Posts: 1770
    
    7

It's complete nonsense. If you want to remain a software developer for the rest of your days that's entirely your choice. There will be endless challenges to overcome and oppertunities to learn new things if you so choose. Still, eventhough you now enjoy development and couldn't possibly see yourself doing anything else that may well change at some point. You will gain new experiences as you go and find new challenges and new interests. Getting more involved with the organisation in a management role may well be a choice you'll find yourself making in the future, but not because you must. It's always good to re-evaluate your goals at certain times.

Oh, and anyone that views a developer as a generic commodity that can be swapped out or replaced indiscriminately is a complete idiot, who you can comfortably ignore.


Build a man a fire, and he'll be warm for a day. Set a man on fire, and he'll be warm for the rest of his life.
Jayesh A Lalwani
Bartender

Joined: Jan 17, 2008
Posts: 2402
    
  28

There are people out there who see developers as commodities, but remember that even middle managers are as much commodities as developers. I've seen PMs blamed for bad management decisions from upper management too many times. Moving to a team lead or a PM position doesn't make you less fire able.

I wouldn't move to a management position unless there was a good mentorship program at my company. Technologists need to learn how to manage other people. You can't just throw people in the deep end.
Andy Jack
Ranch Hand

Joined: Nov 22, 2012
Posts: 257
Jayesh A Lalwani wrote: Technologists need to learn how to manage other people.


So, one has to end up in a management position anyway ?
Campbell Ritchie
Sheriff

Joined: Oct 13, 2005
Posts: 39396
    
  28
Managing people is part of the skills for almost every job. Even if you are not being paid for management.
Prasad Krishnegowda
Ranch Hand

Joined: Apr 25, 2010
Posts: 537

Andy Jack wrote:They tell me to do only 2-3 years of dev (even when i could do 6-7) and become a manager or business analyst after that

I have never seen a business analyst or a manager (PM) with only 2-3 years on development experience.

I would suggest you ignore these people(and of course their suggestions/comments) and concentrate on improving your development skills and keep learning new technologies, so you can be in the development stream only.
Regarding managing people, even if you continue in development stream, you will be senior developer and will need to mentor junior developers, at this point you need to bring your soft skills into play, which involves managing people also...
So, better start improving your communication, presentation skills..
Luke Kolin
Ranch Hand

Joined: Sep 04, 2002
Posts: 336
Andy Jack wrote:To add to that, they also say that developers are like a commodity which can be replaced by other developers from across the world.


Places who treat developers like that either don't have software as a key business asset, or their code bases are crap and they suffer from it. Good places don't treat software folks that way, and as a result get results an order of magnitude better than the sweatshops.

Luke
Bear Bibeault
Author and ninkuma
Marshal

Joined: Jan 10, 2002
Posts: 61420
    
  67

Andy Jack wrote:
Jayesh A Lalwani wrote: Technologists need to learn how to manage other people.


So, one has to end up in a management position anyway ?


Absolutely not.


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chris webster
Bartender

Joined: Mar 01, 2009
Posts: 1772
    
  14

Prasad Krishnegowda wrote:I have never seen a business analyst or a manager (PM) with only 2-3 years on development experience.

Unfortunately I have.

There is a tendency in some organisations these days to de-value the skills of developers and impose an artificial hierarchy onto software development, where a small number of highly-valued (= highly-paid) architects and business analysts create system designs etc and throw these over the wall to the actual developers, who are regarded as semi-skilled (= relatively low-paid) "coding monkeys". From what I've seen, this is not a very effective way of developing software and is not really compatible with the demands of Agile practices, which expect close collaboration between members of multi-skilled teams over multiple iterations. These rigid hierarchies resemble the old "waterfall" caricature and this approach drastically reduces opportunities for communication, collaboration and feedback between the different members of the team and different stages in the development life-cycle.

However, this approach has one big advantage: it allows big companies to reduce the salaries of their developers or replace them with cheaper/less skilled resources (usually offshore), and reduce the number of highly-paid "expert" architects/analysts they think they need for each project.

Similar pressures exist for project management roles, but the higher profile and specific responsibilities of a project manager to deliver the project make it harder (though certainly not impossible) to put inexperienced people into these roles. So it's common to find "coding monkeys" having to fix problems created by failures in architecture/analysis/design, without the customer knowing about it, but PM failures tend to be more obvious to the customer. I've seen far fewer bad PMs than bad analysts/architects, simply because it's harder to get away with being a bad PM.

Luke Kolin wrote:Places who treat developers like that either don't have software as a key business asset, or their code bases are crap and they suffer from it. Good places don't treat software folks that way, and as a result get results an order of magnitude better than the sweatshops.

Perfectly true. Unfortunately, from what I've seen here in the UK, the short-term economies available by pursuing the "sweatshop" model all too often seem to outweigh any longer-term concerns over the quality of the software, or indeed the damage done to the IT skills base by effectively eliminating the mid-tier technical roles for experienced analyst/programmers and technical team leaders that are vital to ensure good results and would also provide a career pathway from "coding monkey" to "business analyst" or "architect". This creates a double pressure for developers to move into the few remaining "skilled" roles too soon: developers want to earn more money (which is often not possible as a developer in these organisations), and their employers can charge more to their clients for "architects" and "business analysts" (whatever their real experience) and replace the developers with cheap graduate trainees.

Jelle Klap wrote:Oh, and anyone that views a developer as a generic commodity that can be swapped out or replaced indiscriminately is a complete idiot, who you can comfortably ignore.

Unfortunately, it seems all too many businesses are run by exactly the kind of "idiots" you describe!

So if the OP wants to have a decent career in a technical role, I'd recommend avoiding the sweatshops and big consultancies etc that follow this model.


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