Join Early Retirement Today
Reply
 
Thread Tools Search this Thread Display Modes
From technical to management position
Old 07-11-2006, 12:52 PM   #1
Dryer sheet aficionado
 
Join Date: Aug 2005
Posts: 40
From technical to management position

Iíd like to get some career advice from the group.* Iím in a technical position, similar to a database analyst.* I really enjoy the technical parts of the job and solving the various problems that come up.* However, Iím pretty close to the top of the pay scale in my industry and canít expect much more than standard cost of living increases.*

The next logical step would be into management, but then I would be doing almost nothing technical (which I really enjoy), and Iíd just be managing people and projects and coordinating activities.
*
Iím definitely an introvert and not a natural born leader so I was just wondering what others have done in similar situations, especially since there are so many current and former engineers, programmers, and other tech people on the board.* Has anybody regretted going into management that was previously in a tech position?

Iím pretty sure I wouldnít be as happy if I gave up doing the technical stuff, but I would very easily make 50 - 60% more if I was a manager, which is very hard to pass up.*

Aaron
__________________

__________________
Aaron is offline   Reply With Quote
Join the #1 Early Retirement and Financial Independence Forum Today - It's Totally Free!

Are you planning to be financially independent as early as possible so you can live life on your own terms? Discuss successful investing strategies, asset allocation models, tax strategies and other related topics in our online forum community. Our members range from young folks just starting their journey to financial independence, military retirees and even multimillionaires. No matter where you fit in you'll find that Early-Retirement.org is a great community to join. Best of all it's totally FREE!

You are currently viewing our boards as a guest so you have limited access to our community. Please take the time to register and you will gain a lot of great new features including; the ability to participate in discussions, network with our members, see fewer ads, upload photographs, create a retirement blog, send private messages and so much, much more!

Re: From technical to management position
Old 07-11-2006, 12:56 PM   #2
Thinks s/he gets paid by the post
MasterBlaster's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jun 2005
Posts: 4,359
Re: From technical to management position

The choice, Grasshopper, is up to you....


Well since only you can decide what makes you happy, then only you can decide what you want.

Upward is not always better, that is definitely true. The best job is the one that you like best.

But before you pass on a promotion ask yourself - How would I feel if they choose that lesser person over there to be your boss ?

__________________

__________________
MasterBlaster is offline   Reply With Quote
Re: From technical to management position
Old 07-11-2006, 12:59 PM   #3
Full time employment: Posting here.
bow-tie's Avatar
 
Join Date: Mar 2004
Posts: 687
Re: From technical to management position

Sounds like it's time for a serious gut-check on your part. *Do you think you can handle those things you do not like about mgmt? *Will the money compensate you enough for the BS you have to endure and the loss of the technical aspects you enjoyed? *Probably tough to answer but the more inflection involved, the better your chances you make an informed decision.

How much is that pay raise truly worth? *
__________________
Diggin' my way to financial freedom, one buck-at-a-time
bow-tie is offline   Reply With Quote
Re: From technical to management position
Old 07-11-2006, 01:04 PM   #4
Thinks s/he gets paid by the post
Bimmerbill's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jan 2006
Posts: 1,631
Re: From technical to management position

I've been technical for close to 15 years. I like it very much. I find managing good people to be a pleasure. But managing problem employees is a giant PITA. And its always one or two people that ruins it, too!

There are still large salaries to be made in the technical side of the house. For now I am sticking to technical, but preparing myself for management.

That way, I have opitions.
__________________
Bimmerbill is offline   Reply With Quote
Re: From technical to management position
Old 07-11-2006, 01:34 PM   #5
Give me a museum and I'll fill it. (Picasso)
Give me a forum ...
TromboneAl's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jun 2006
Posts: 11,197
Re: From technical to management position

I was in the same position in about 1982. I went from programmer to director of software at a small educational software company.

I also was an INTJ, and liked programming a lot. The management job wasn't bad however. I enjoyed the challenges. I got to do programming as well, however, when we were shorthanded.

After a year or two I got layed off and became a consultant, so I don't know whether I would have gotten tired of managing after a while.
__________________
Al
TromboneAl is offline   Reply With Quote
Re: From technical to management position
Old 07-11-2006, 02:24 PM   #6
Thinks s/he gets paid by the post
SteveR's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jul 2005
Posts: 2,803
Re: From technical to management position

Quote:
Originally Posted by MasterBlaster
The choice, Grasshopper, is up to you....


Well since only you can decide what makes you happy, then only you can decide what you want.

Upward is not always better, that is definitely true. The best job is the one that you like best.

But before you pass on a promotion ask yourself - How would I feel if they choose that lesser person over there to be your boss ?
Very good points to consider.
My career has included several technical positions many of which also included managment responsibilities. At some point you end up doing 90% management work and 10% technical work. In some jobs it happens sooner than later.

Being in management is not as easy as it appears. It is very challenging in many ways and can lead your career in a variety of directions you may not have previously considered. If I had chosen to remain as a lab rat laboratory technican I can honestly say I would not be any where near as FI as I am today. I would most likely have to work several years longer to be able to retire on a far smaller income stream.

Going into management in a technical area allowed me to use my technical (scientific) knowledge but in a different capacity. Sure it was not as much "fun" as being totally hands on but it allowed me to have a say in what actually happened in the technical areas. I was giving direction and not taking it.

Management is not for everyone as evidenced by the number of very bad managers around. Some see it as only a stepping stone (on the backs of their fellow workers) to a fatter paycheck or bigger bonus. They miss the other aspects of the job that can bring some level of job satisfaction. They also miss those areas that cause the greatest dissatisfaction and those ofter result in a very bitter and unhappy person who becomes only self directed and forgets about the greater good of the company and his employees.

What do you really want out of your career? How many years do you see doing what you are doing today and do you believe you will be happy doing it for that long. Consider what happens over time in your present job. How will you feel in 10 years when many of your coworkers are no longer there? You might end up being the "old man" of the department and your peers will all be much younger than you with very different interests. Where do you want to be financially in 10, 20 or 30 years from now? How do you plan on getting there in your present job? What happens when you top out in your job grade range? What other promotions would be likely?

The best advice I can give you is to think it though and talk to someone in managment in your area of technology and ask them questions about their job; the good and the bad. Then look inward and see if you want to do what it takes.

Good luck.
__________________
Work? I don't have time to work....I'm retired.
SteveR is offline   Reply With Quote
Re: From technical to management position
Old 07-11-2006, 07:18 PM   #7
 
Posts: n/a
Re: From technical to management position

Quote:
Originally Posted by Aaron
Iíd like to get some career advice from the group. Iím in a technical position, similar to a database analyst. I really enjoy the technical parts of the job and solving the various problems that come up. However, Iím pretty close to the top of the pay scale in my industry and canít expect much more than standard cost of living increases.

The next logical step would be into management, but then I would be doing almost nothing technical (which I really enjoy), and Iíd just be managing people and projects and coordinating activities.

Iím definitely an introvert and not a natural born leader so I was just wondering what others have done in similar situations, especially since there are so many current and former engineers, programmers, and other tech people on the board. Has anybody regretted going into management that was previously in a tech position?

Iím pretty sure I wouldnít be as happy if I gave up doing the technical stuff, but I would very easily make 50 - 60% more if I was a manager, which is very hard to pass up.

Aaron
Well, if you actually got 50-60% more it might be worth it. I did it for about 20% more and it totally sucked. In eight years i had lost my technical edge, was listening to complaining clients and employees all day and had just about zero job satisfaction. I went back to the technical group and was happy. But not as happy as I am now to be out of the rat race entirely. 8)

__________________
  Reply With Quote
Re: From technical to management position
Old 07-11-2006, 09:13 PM   #8
Give me a museum and I'll fill it. (Picasso)
Give me a forum ...
 
Join Date: Sep 2005
Location: Northern IL
Posts: 18,264
Re: From technical to management position

Another option is to stay on the technical path, but get super-knowledgeable in a specific area that is important in your line of work. To the point that you are a recognized 'expert' and people come to you for your expertise.

That can put you in a valuable position, more so than the other tech guys that are just 'good' at their jobs. You might be able to swing a salary close to the management guys, but still be happy.

Just a thought. - ERD50
__________________
ERD50 is offline   Reply With Quote
Re: From technical to management position
Old 07-11-2006, 09:41 PM   #9
Recycles dryer sheets
 
Join Date: Oct 2003
Posts: 175
Re: From technical to management position

I know the money part is very attractive (but would you make 50% more right away or maybe 10 years down the road?). It sound like you would not enjoy that type of job though. If you do not enjoy people and managing people be fair to them and do NOT become a manager. I have had more bad than good managers and they really put a huge mark on how you (do not) enjoy work. If I were a manager, I think I would go nuts with the performance reviews, meetings, slackers and planning vacation schedules and more of that type of stuff. Also, if you get laid off from the high paying manager job several years down the road - will you still have any technical skills left to land you a new job?
Vicky
__________________
vic is offline   Reply With Quote
Re: From technical to management position
Old 07-11-2006, 10:07 PM   #10
Recycles dryer sheets
bearkeley's Avatar
 
Join Date: Aug 2005
Posts: 170
Re: From technical to management position

Great posts all -- here's an HR perspective...

This is a big challenge for a lot of folks. * Your heart has to be into it when you do it, otherwise, you will fail (I've fired a number of techies who couldn't make it as a manager - sometimes because they weren't cut out for it, but mostly because they really were not fully bought into the idea). * *

You don't have to be an extrovert to be a great manager. * Leadership abilities will definitely help, but did you know that this is a learned behavior at the executive level? *

Also, a lot of IT folks have a bad image of what management is like - I have seen a lot of strong techies who also became great managers. * *However, if you're not ready to get into it now, be careful. * It's got to be right for you AT THE RIGHT TIME in your life - not just career. * *Take the advice of others and find out more about the job / responsibilities if you haven't done so. * *

50% - 60% more as a manager versus a techie? * * I really find that hard to believe. *That may very well be true where you're working, but that is definitely not the case in the rest of the world. * *You could have the potential to make that much more over time (ie., once you become a CTO, etc) but definitely not as a Manager, or even a Director for most organizations. * *

If you like what you're doing now, think about moving to a larger organization where you can specialize in a specific technology (ie., engineer route with a focus on sql, etc). * You can also look into poject management type of responsibilities. * You will defnitely be technical in this role too.

If money is truly important to you, consider being a consultant -- not as stable, but since you're on this site, the flexibility to work part of the year and still get paid a lot a few years from now might be of interest...good luck!

Good luck!
__________________
bearkeley is offline   Reply With Quote
Re: From technical to management position
Old 07-12-2006, 09:39 AM   #11
Dryer sheet aficionado
 
Join Date: Aug 2005
Posts: 40
Re: From technical to management position

Thanks guys, I appreciate the responses.* Iím 30, and still one of the younger ones in my group of lab rats, so I have some time before Iím considered the ďold guyĒ but I definitely want to avoid getting into that position.* I always like to know my next step and what direction and Iím heading.

There are definitely a few more things I could learn and probably pick up some certifications and additional training to specialize a bit more.* Thereís even an intermediate position between lab rat and manager that I might be more suited for Ė kind of a project manager/coordinator type position.* Iíll try and look into that position more.*

I advanced pretty quickly when I first started out so I think Iím just getting impatient and expected to keep moving at the same pace.* I never considered talking with other managers to see what itís really like, so Iíll definitely have to explore that idea.*
__________________
Aaron is offline   Reply With Quote
Re: From technical to management position
Old 07-12-2006, 07:04 PM   #12
 
Posts: n/a
Re: From technical to management position

Quote:
Originally Posted by bearkeley
Great posts all -- here's an HR perspective...

This is a big challenge for a lot of folks. Your heart has to be into it when you do it, otherwise, you will fail (I've fired a number of techies who couldn't make it as a manager - sometimes because they weren't cut out for it, but mostly because they really were not fully bought into the idea).

oooh! - You've fired the techies? - You mean you did upper Management's dirty work for them. - I've never worked at a company where HR made hiring and firing decisions of Technical Management.
__________________
  Reply With Quote
Re: From technical to management position
Old 07-13-2006, 12:59 PM   #13
Recycles dryer sheets
 
Join Date: Jun 2006
Posts: 473
Re: From technical to management position

Quote:
Originally Posted by Aaron
Thereís even an intermediate position between lab rat and manager that I might be more suited for Ė kind of a project manager/coordinator type position.* Iíll try and look into that position more.
That's pretty much what happened to me when I was 29-32. I found myself doing my usual technical stuff 80-90% of the time while semi-supervising one other employee at a time.

In my case, I found it to be not worth it. Of the three employees that I "serially managed", one was talented but a total jerk (to use a technical term), one was a nice and hard working guy who was unable to overcome his background and (what passed for) education, and the third one was a pleasure to work with.

I figured that one out of three was a poor batting average and went back to being a full time techie. Perhaps I gave up too soon, but oh well...
__________________
Scrooge is offline   Reply With Quote
Re: From technical to management position
Old 07-13-2006, 01:11 PM   #14
Recycles dryer sheets
 
Join Date: Jul 2006
Posts: 227
Re: From technical to management position

I think you also have to ask yourself if you truly like managing people versus working on your own. When you are a manager, you are held responsible for your group.

Do you like helping people with their problems?
Would you mind being emailed or called 10-20 times per day asking questions?

IMHO, managers that do it for the money are not very effective and the team can see it. It turns sour sometimes and people wonít respect the manager or work well for the person. If however you enjoy helping people grow, teaching them, listening to peoples personal problems and offering honest advice, then go for it.

I have had many leadership/management positions in the past 10 years and some have been life changing while others I want to forget. You learn from each experience though and bring it with to the next one.

A great book I read 7 years ago is ďThe 21 Irrefutable Laws of LeadershipĒ by John C. Maxwell. It explains in detail why some managers fail and others are great and what you can do to move towards the great side.

Lance
__________________
"Those who think it cannot be done, need to stay out of the way of those of us doing it."
PsyopRanger is offline   Reply With Quote
Re: From technical to management position
Old 07-13-2006, 01:31 PM   #15
Give me a museum and I'll fill it. (Picasso)
Give me a forum ...
brewer12345's Avatar
 
Join Date: Mar 2003
Posts: 16,391
Re: From technical to management position

I think Lance has a very good point: make sure you want to manage people.

I always viewed getting promoted to management as a pie-eating contest where the prize is more pie. Now I am getting hints from my employer that tehy would like me to become more of a teacher and manager. I am technically proficient at my job, but I've no idea how to manage people. Never found it interesting or attractive, and have no idea how to do it. Guess I will have to learn enough to fake my way through it.
__________________
"There are three kinds of men. The one that learns by reading. The few who learn by observation. The rest have to pee on the electric fence for themselves."



- Will Rogers
brewer12345 is offline   Reply With Quote
Re: From technical to management position
Old 07-13-2006, 01:48 PM   #16
Moderator Emeritus
Rich_by_the_Bay's Avatar
 
Join Date: Feb 2006
Location: San Francisco
Posts: 8,827
Re: From technical to management position

Aaron,

I'm senior in my career, and got increasingly into management by outlasting my enemies , actually by having a fairly level head and learning how to think in organization-mode. I now spend my time about 50:50 between management and other front-end activities.

Couple of things:

1. Management skills can be learned by receptive individuals. At your age, I would definitely look for good inservice or degree-based training. Everything from conflict resolution to motivating team work to negotiating skills will help. Even things which may make you cringe at first (like role-playing drills) will help.

If you find yourself starting to find it interesting and challenging, you might enjoy the career shift. I think it was Harry Truman who said, "it's amazing how much you can get done if you don't care who gets the credit." That's how you have to look at management -- getting stuff done through others

2. You need the ability to not personalize things. Most people project personal motivation and intent on management decisions. If it gets to you too personally, you will be less happy. A level head, a bit of concerned detachment are really good assets to have.

It's not for everyone, and everyone likes to blame management for everything, but in the right hands with the right training, personality and experience it can be challenging and rewarding.

Hope this helps.
__________________
Rich
San Francisco Area
ESR'd March 2010. FIRE'd January 2011.

As if you didn't know..If the above message contains medical content, it's NOT intended as advice, and may not be accurate, applicable or sufficient. Don't rely on it for any purpose. Consult your own doctor for all medical advice.
Rich_by_the_Bay is offline   Reply With Quote
Re: From technical to management position
Old 07-13-2006, 02:01 PM   #17
Thinks s/he gets paid by the post
SteveR's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jul 2005
Posts: 2,803
Re: From technical to management position

I agree with Rich's comments and his list.

Management positions are not for everyone. You get crap from employees who second guess each decision you make and your own management who will always want it yesterday with as few people as possible and with no expenses.

The 80-20 rule applies. 80% of your problems will always come from 20% of your people. The 20% can be reshuffled but somehow new employees seem to fall into groups that closely fit the previous ones and the rule holds true. If you are unlucky enough to work in a very hostile environment in a very mismanaged company expect the rule to be different; everyone will be a source of problems.

The other part of the 80-20 rule is that 80 percent of the problems with the business are caused by mismanagement of the business by management.

Being a middle manager is a very tough way to make a living especially if you care about people and about the company. Your management and some of your people will make it very hard for you to do your job the way it should and could be done.

__________________
Work? I don't have time to work....I'm retired.
SteveR is offline   Reply With Quote
Re: From technical to management position
Old 07-13-2006, 02:36 PM   #18
Thinks s/he gets paid by the post
maddythebeagle's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jun 2005
Posts: 2,450
Re: From technical to management position

Wow, in my organization right now, being a middle manager looks to be the worst job...upper management or being a field engineer looks like the place to be... :P
__________________
- Hurry! to the cliffs of insanity!
maddythebeagle is offline   Reply With Quote
Re: From technical to management position
Old 07-13-2006, 03:25 PM   #19
Thinks s/he gets paid by the post
Bimmerbill's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jan 2006
Posts: 1,631
Re: From technical to management position

Doesn't middle management bear the brunt of layoffs a lot of the time?
__________________
Bimmerbill is offline   Reply With Quote
Re: From technical to management position
Old 07-13-2006, 04:33 PM   #20
Thinks s/he gets paid by the post
SteveR's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jul 2005
Posts: 2,803
Re: From technical to management position

Quote:
Originally Posted by Bimmerbill
Doesn't middle management bear the brunt of layoffs a lot of the time?
Middle mgt. seems to be hit more by upper management restructuring and "right sizing" of individual organizations. Layoffs, at least in the places I have worked, were usually at the worker-bee levels mostly but did sometimes include project staff too.

Upper management has been "flattening" the organizational struture in many companies for years. This creates fewer and fewer jobs for middle managers while stretching the organization very thin with respect to empoyee to supervisor ratios. I know several companies where there are over a hundred people reporting to a single supervisor on a manufacturing line. That is just too many people for one person to supervise. One of the aspects of organizational flattening is the thining of the reserve bench for likely candidate supervisors and managers. That requires a less exerienced person fill an open position or to hire someone from outside the company at great cost. Anyway, there is lots more to this iceburg but I will stop here for now.
__________________

__________________
Work? I don't have time to work....I'm retired.
SteveR is offline   Reply With Quote
Reply


Currently Active Users Viewing This Thread: 1 (0 members and 1 guests)
 
Thread Tools Search this Thread
Search this Thread:

Advanced Search
Display Modes

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are Off
Pingbacks are Off
Refbacks are Off


Similar Threads
Thread Thread Starter Forum Replies Last Post
Interview: Technical Interrogation cube_rat Young Dreamers 48 05-08-2006 07:21 AM
Gotta love technical senior management cube_rat Other topics 14 04-14-2006 06:37 PM
Any regret for getting into management or vice versa Spanky Life after FIRE 35 01-26-2006 10:08 PM
Change position in profile. TiogaRV Forum Admin 12 01-22-2006 03:25 PM

 

 
All times are GMT -6. The time now is 08:05 PM.
 
Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.8 Beta 1
Copyright ©2000 - 2017, vBulletin Solutions, Inc.