There is not one path. I can tell you my path, but it may be atypical
Completed my Bachelor's in 96. I was working part time in the last year of college
Promoted to Tech lead out of college. Not formally, but I came up with an idea, and they gave me 2 guys to implement it
Moved to US in 98. Worked as Software Engineer for 2 years
Formally promoted to Tech Lead in 2000. At the same time I started transitioning over to Java. ALso, I started learning formal design techniques like UML, Design patterns Worked as Tech lead in 2 companies until 2008
Got a job as Technical Project manager in 2008
Joined another company as Technical Project Manager in 2010
Promoted to Architect in 2010
Left the company 2013, Joined the current company as Architect
So, to summarize:-
Worked as developer for about 3 years, on and off
Worked as Tech lead for about 12 years
Worked as Technical Project Manager for 2 years
Currently working as Architect for 5 years.
Point to note is that the transition was gradual. When I went to Tech Lead to Technical Project Manager, I didn't take on additional responsibility. I got the title because I was already doing the work of the Technical Project Manager.