It is a different role, and not merely a coder who tells people what to do. It has a different skill set, and some people will fail at / only muddle through it just like learning a new language or tool.
If you don't like dealing with people's problems, enjoy solving the problem at a detailed level and being quiet and working things out on your own, then management may not be for you.
There are companies that reward talented individual contributors as much as good managers, but they are rare. Also I would say that an individual contributor needs to be quite good to match a mediocre manager's salary, unfortunately -- but that's how the hierarchy is generally set up.
Could this actually explain why a lot of people don’t like their managers? Because they are just too damn inexperienced.
Re: knowing few staff or principal engs, my personal anecdotal observation (and other people have told me the same), is that many engineers don’t change their titles on LinkedIn, or say they are “staff eng” etc in public. In fact, for some people, the higher they go the more they downplay their title in public. Don’t have data to back this up, just anecdotal convos with some people I know.
I’d also like to think the culture is slowly changing, about feeling forced to get into people management to progress your career. But that could be wishful thinking!
that's exactly why! i've worked and had managers who were so green and bad at their job. the staff engineers that i worked with were older folk that really have been around the block and had better communication skills than the managers. it's all extremely backwards
> Clearly, the way to more money in the long run is the manager path even if you find it horrible.
Gotta break this down. How much more money would one need to make justify having a shitty time 40+ hours a week?
I would actually be okay with doing this, if it were an option. I believe it is not, due to how ageist tech hiring is.
If a team hits their metrics a good (super-) manager knows if it’s because of the manager or in spite of them, and vice versa.
What we really need is to train people to be better at identifying these organizational concerns, and set the right incentives, so that people choose to be Engineering Managers for the right reasons.
Edit: and to answer your question directly, in a healthy org, it’s definitely possible (and in fact in some very rare cases easier) to fire your manager than for them to fire you. Also depends on the level of trust you have built for yourself as in individual contributor.
What's hard about firing people? I actually don't know and would love to find out if you could share your thought
This is flipped on its head for things like abuse where the company could be liable for not responding to reports in a timely manner. Cross a line behavior-wise, and you can get fired quickly.
If you can do interesting work and use your team to help, it's great. The problem with management IMO is all the politics, "managing expectations" (I think this term must have been coined by some hardcore sociopath) and team quality.
You rarely have team of senior experts only so you can focus on doing great job. You have people underperforming, having issues with others etc. Also, employee personal agenda is often more or less different from company goals - it's a constant battle.