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Do You Want to Be the Next Pointy Haired Boss?

04.17.2008
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Over the weekend, Andrew Tokeley brought up an interesting point. If you ask most developers about their goals as a developer, most would like to be the team lead on a project. Is it really all gumdrops and candy canes? Before you jump at the next opportunity to be the new pointy haired boss, be sure to take a look at Andrew's breakdown of what you'll spend your time on.

As a developer, you get to spend most of your time happily writing code, maybe you get to listen to music, and in general you don't get too many interruptions. The pay might be lower, but you're happy and you're doing what you love. Your daily breakdown might look something like this graph:

As you can see, he left out time for browsing DZone, Slashdot, and others. This developer was very productive. Unfortunately, as Andrew explains, most developer get that itch. The itch to advance, to climb the corporate ladder. Maybe you're unhappy with how projects get managed and you think you can do better. The next time there's an opening, you apply for the job and become the new project manager (team lead, lead developer, etc.).

That's when you notice that your day has changed. It's a frankenstein of a day: more time in meetings, less code, more interruptions, less time reading DZone. You're probably starting to get the picture now! Andrew's blog has a more in depth break down of the PM's day.

I've heard stories about developers who became project managers, then went back to being a developer. Is this a common thing? Have you made the leap and been happy with the change? How does that compare with this article?

References
Reference: http://andrewtokeley.net/archive/2008/04/12/do-you-really-want-to-be-a-development-team-leader.aspx

Comments

Jeroen Wenting replied on Fri, 2008/04/18 - 1:37am

I've seen more coders move from project management to architecture or customer account management functions than back to coding.

Less hassle than project management, better pay than coding.

Subhash Chandran replied on Wed, 2008/04/23 - 2:17am

Stormy Peters replied on Mon, 2008/04/28 - 6:06pm

I always say "all good developers get promoted to management". And it's crazy. While someone might be both a great developer and a great manager, a great developer does not make a great manager. And if you are a great developer, you probably love your job. Chances are you won't love your job as manager.

I think the recognition that great developers get when participating in open source will maybe help them stay developers. (They don't have to be promoted to be important.)

Stormy

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