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My employer has an "apprentice manager" position specifically for engineer ICs who want to transition into management. It's a 3-6 month program where you get training and coaching, and you have a dotted-line reporting relationship where you have some unofficial direct reports to practice on, and at the end of it, you can decide to either move into the management role or go back to your IC role if you decide you don't like it.

I don't know how common this kind of program is, but I went through it and found it really effective. I was able to build the skill set I needed while having an "out" if it turned out I didn't like management; the company gained an effective manager after training me; and my direct reports didn't have to suffer too much during my incompetent phase because they still had a "real" manager supporting them while I was transitioning.

If you can get an IC position at a company with a program like this (or at least a strong track-record of promoting managers from within), you might have more opportunities to move into management. But no matter what, it won't just "happen" -- you'll need your direct manager's support to get the opportunities as they arise, so you'll need to have an ongoing "here's where I want to go, let's make a plan to get me there" conversation with your manager.






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