11 reasons to be a manager

The reason for writing this post was the great reflection of TheR author about the pitfalls of re-profiling from a programmer / engineer / just a techie to a manager. The author of the post promised to write his own list of reasons why sometimes it is still worth doing it, but almost half a year has passed and the list never appeared, so I’ll tell you about my vision of the problem.

My career started at the very beginning of the 2000s, for 6 years I worked as a programmer and consultant at various levels, and about 5 years ago I completely reorganized into a manager. The decision to leave the purely technical field, like many, I was impressed by the illusions that managers have a lot more money, more opportunities to make decisions, etc. As TheR wrotein the post mentioned above, many of my assumptions about working as a manager turned out to be an illusion, but there are still a number of obvious (and not so) goodies in this profession. I hope that these two posts about the pros and cons of such a reprofiling will help someone from Khabrovchan make an informed decision about the further development of their career.

My personal list of the benefits of being a manager looks something like this. The points are arranged rather chaotically, for each reader the importance of this or that point will be higher or lower, maybe I missed something, so I will be glad if one of the former techies, and now the Habr managers, will help me to supplement it.

  1. The ability to influence the product
    When I worked as an ordinary programmer, I was terribly depressed by the inability to make decisions on the product. Some features seemed ridiculous and absolutely unnecessary to me, while others were extremely lacking, but, naturally, it was not me who made the decision. I had to dig from the fence to lunch. When I became Project Manager, the situation did not change much for me - there is always a Product Manager, a marketing department, “product shareholders”, etc. However, already from the Product Manager level (the next step after the project) you have a real opportunity to shape the product the way you see it. Of course, there are still people above you in the hierarchy who intervene in the process, but most decisions on features and their packaging are made at the level of products and manager programs. Unlike a lone programmer who implements only a small part of the functionality, Products really can say that "this is their brainchild." Each feature is plagued by thousands of meetings, dragged through hundreds of bugs and finally implemented in production according to your plan and under your strict guidance.
    In small companies, such decisions are already made at the PM level, in the big ones, where I mainly worked, product formation is the level of Product Manager - Program Manager.

  2. Horizontal career development
    As a rule, a programmer does not change his field of activity so often. If you surf the web, 90 chances out of 100 that you will be making websites in the same way at your next job / position. If you write for microcontrollers in C, it is extremely unlikely that you will be called to make mobile applications. It is difficult to change not only the stack of technologies with which you work, but also the industry. An accounting software developer is not needed for people doing a geo-targeted startup. At some point, the monotony begins to bother, as if you are in a glass cage. Virtually the solution is simple - learn a couple of new technologies and change jobs, but in practice the lack of experience in these technologies will not allow you to count on a position better than Junior Developer.
    Managers are both easier and more complex at the same time. Product Manager can easily be reorganized into a marketer or sales, although he, of course, cannot usually become a financier. In any case, the set of areas in the direction of which you can move much wider. Not to mention that no industry and virtually no product is closed to PM, even if he has not enough experience.

  3. Money, money, money ...
    Yes, there really is more money. Not as much as it seemed when I was a programmer, but still the difference is palpable and moving in the opposite direction (manager -> techie) is extremely difficult, even despite the fact that there is a desire to do something with your hands. The difference in money is especially noticeable for those who go into consulting or sales. Virtually, the salary of a consultant or sales is not limited by anything - know yourself sell projects / products, but get a percentage. In practice, salaries, of course, are limited, but in any case, the average lazy sales gets 30% -50% more than PM and twice or three times more than the usual developer. Ce la vie.

  4. Personal growth and development of communication skills
    Work as a manager really develops a personality. 10 years ago I was a classic nerd-introvert, shy in unfamiliar companies and having a social circle of 3 people. Moving to managers, I began to meet 10-15 new people a week, I had to regularly speak to an absolutely unfamiliar audience, at many meetings I became the “face of the company” to customers, I simply did not have the opportunity to be closed. One way or another, Soft skills develop - i.e. communication skills, behavioral skills in an unfamiliar environment, conflict resolution and difficult negotiation skills. The biggest test for me was my first dismissal of a subordinate, who was nice to me as a person, but absolutely not happy as a worker. Such an experience is invaluable in real life, you learn to interact with people,

  5. New acquaintances
    During these 5 years I met more interesting and outstanding people than, perhaps, in my entire previous life. Interaction with customers, partners, top management, outstanding developers allows you to constantly meet new interesting people. The working circle of a programmer is usually limited to his unit. Occasionally, by two or three managers. Well, maybe someone else you meet at the corporate party (girls from accounting, how can you do without them). As I said above, becoming a manager you constantly meet new people. The circle of acquaintances just explodes. If you work for a sufficiently large and branded company, you will have the opportunity to meet really significant people who have achieved a lot in life and who are able to share interesting stories or give good advice from their experience.

  6. Reducing the degree of professional deformation.
    As you know, IT specialists are used to reducing any problem to IT. There was even a recent post about this property of IT specialists . The degree of professional deformation of IT people can sometimes reach grotesque and ridiculous forms. I knew one person who spent 2 weeks developing his own system for collecting and recording money for birthday gifts for employees in a company of 10 people (hint: a sheet of paper and a pen would solve this problem in 2 minutes).
    Work as a manager (especially at least a little removed from pure IT) at least brings us back to reality and brings us closer to ordinary, unapproachable people. The constant need to plan resources and the desire to achieve a goal not in the most universal / technological way, but in the fastest and most inexpensive way, makes you evaluate tasks in a completely different way. This allows you to be more human, or something.

  7. Work for generalists
    A manager, as a rule, cannot afford to be a specialist. There are both negative and positive sides to this. Yes, relatively speaking, you don’t know the features of sharding implementation on Postgres, but you worked on 10 different projects using three dozen different competing technologies. You can always make a reasoned decision based on your own experience for a particular problem. The ideal manager becomes the so-called "T-shaped person", i.e. a person with sufficiently deep expertise in one or two areas (albeit less than that of a narrow specialist) and average knowledge in all related fields. In many ways, this is more difficult than being a narrow specialist, because you have to constantly keep abreast of a very large number of topics, from purely technological to completely humanitarian, but it is an indispensable condition to be a good manager. To solve problems in which the manager is not strong, he hires narrow specialists (the programmer would have to understand himself).

  8. Bosses are looking at me
    It is sad for techies, but for top management their work remains completely invisible. The higher the boss, the less he imagines what the techies are doing and the more blame he puts on them for the fakaps. The manager is much more visible to big bosses, the success of the project is his success. But the project’s fakap in large corporations is usually a fakap of executors (I don’t think so, but in practice bosses usually think that way). In this regard, the manager has a better chance of getting buns on top (although managers actually get more pendels than the techies).
    If you are lucky with the company, objective criteria for evaluating the usefulness of an employee will work in it. But I would not have hoped for it - during my career I have met only one such company, so most likely, as a techie you will receive fewer buns / bonuses / promotions than managers.

  9. Teach and Learn
    Again, this cannot be said to be a 100% rule, but in my experience, corporations are more willing to train their managers than their techies. In most companies where I worked, the maximum that was offered to the techie was to pass any exams on their own and then the company would pay for them. Well, maybe even sent to the conference. For managers, trainings were constantly held, expensive coaches were hired, salary increase programs for professional certification were introduced, etc. In addition, in many Western companies, the so-called knowledge share - i.e. a situation where you yourself are a coach / coach for your colleagues. In any case, the investment in staff, according to my feelings, is much higher for managers than for techies.

  10. Business trips. Thousands of them.
    In the first year of changing the profile of activity, I was on 8 business trips from 2 days to a month. Of these, 4 were in Western Europe and the United States. Over the past 5 years, I traveled all over Russia, far and wide, most of the CIS and many European countries. In one of the years I had 46 flights over the year. Yes, this is largely due to the specifics of the area in which I work, but in any case, business trips for managers are a much more frequent and familiar thing than for programmers. This will not be a plus for everyone, but I perceive it as a free (for me) opportunity to see the world. Again, the manager has much more chances to go to a conference away from the main office than the programmer, especially for foreign conferences.

  11. Planning to create your own business? Now twice as fast!
    Yes this is true. Work as a manager gives not only the necessary skills to create a successful business, but also the necessary acquaintances. A business cannot exist in a vacuum; it needs personnel, partners, customers. As a programmer, you will be able to independently solve the problem in the best case of only personnel (and that, only techies, but not everyone else), as for finding customers, attracting partners, marketing a product, etc. then most likely you will not be able to do this effectively due to the lack of the necessary skills and connections. Several years of PM experience, especially in combination with sales and marketing, will greatly simplify your life - there will be your contacts, there will be experience, there will be a better understanding of how to make a product out of a craft-on-the-knee, etc.

Instead of a conclusion
. Any profession has its pros and cons; it cannot be said that being a techie is definitely better or worse than being a manager. Unlike TheR, I never regret the decision to change my profession, but what I regret for sure is the lack of real information about what it means to be a programmer and what it means to be a manager. It would be great if somewhere there was a comparison, like on Yandex.market with the parameters of a particular profession, but so far it is not there - all I can do is present you my vision of the positive aspects, and it remains for you to judge. Good luck in your career and great professional achievements to you, Khabrovchane!

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