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I am 23, just got my first real job and this has been on my mind as well. Although its early (I have been programming unprofessionally for 10 years),what track I want to go Senior or Principal based on the author's definition. Do I want to be the one who knows the tech stack from the back of my hand or managing people to move the overall goals of the company. Although the author says both roles involves people, at the end of the day the only way to become a better engineer is working on hard problems in the trenches. So the more you manage people the more you lose time "crafting" your skill. It's based on the individual pref, but right now I am at that crossroads.

Software is so big and complex today that very little is built as a sole engineer. You may not realize it yet, but you will always be managing people even if you're not their manager. How you convey your ideas, accept their ideas, and work together to solve hard problems is often more important than raw technical knowledge after a certain level.

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