Originally posted by manoj p: Jacquie, I think If one has to continue on tech path without making sacrifics on the compensation front, he will need to excel in what he does - play a guru kind of role in other words. I mean one could be an analyst programmer for 20 years and get paid one fouth (or even less) of a person with same years of experience who made the management switch. And being just smart good coder will not make you a guru - that is not simply not enough. You need to do stuff, sometimes outside your regular work - stuff like publishing white papers, writing books, developing some good (popular) open source or maybe launching a startup and even more.. I dont know. I think achieveing any of these would take meticulous planning and proper goal setting. Does your book provide advice on stuff like this and help tech guys turn themselves into gurus?
I don't talk directly about becoming a technical guru, but in a sense, doing so is like becoming a famous actor, or a famous athlete: each of these starts out with a passion for what they want to do, and pushes to be the best that they can -- however, they don't go into their chosen profession with a guarantee that they'll come out at the top, but rather, because they love what they do.
Of course, if someone spends 20 years doing precisely the same thing, they don't really have 20 years of experience -- they have 1 year of experience, repeated 20 times. But, 20 years of truly varied experiences will give you insight and wisdom that junior folks simply can't bring to the table.
My book is primarily focused on how to stay on top of a technical track vs. offering pointers on how to transition into management. In fact, I even have a chapter entitled "Climbing DOWN the Corporate Ladder" for folks who've made the transition into management some years ago, but who now long to move back into a technical career track.
One issue with making the switch from a technical to a management career track is that your technical skills quickly get rusty. If you love doing "techie" sorts of things, you may find yourself missing such a role within a few years' time, but then getting back into a technical track is tough. (It took me SIX YEARS to make such a transition!!! )
How true. A few years back I made an unwitting transition into Project Management (in title I was a developer, but in actuality I was a manager). While the abilty to make strategic decisions and use "soft" skills is appealing, I find that alignment with a corporate culture is required to survive as a manager. Which means you'll be fighting tooth and nail with all the talentless wannabees for limiteld resources (position) while watching your technical skills decline.
I have decided that while engineering work requires constant change, being on top of your skills is the key. While you may not establish tenure, you may more easily make jumps as required.
I may buy your book and see what you have to say. Thanks!