How to be manager?

Lyft 0xabc0de
Feb 4 132 Comments

Just starting my 30s, the whole engineering thing is very nice and dandy however
- I have realized how much more effectiveness there is in assigning work to others and helping them follow through,
- Starting to feel the sde job fatigue. Writing code and managing stakeholders anyways while keeping systems running is kinda exhausting, especially on multiple projects.
- Want more money/status/influence on product, and over a career it's likely to come from being a manager,

I realize this is not an overnight change but those who have done eng -> mgr, share insights please!

Tc 350

comments

Want to comment? LOG IN or SIGN UP
TOP 132 Comments
  • Facebook 🚗meep
    I went from IC to technical/team lead to managing the same team and then on from there.

    One of the best books on this is "The Manager's Path" by Camille Fournier.
    Feb 4 6
    • Facebook 한국
      Yeah it seems the easiest way is to establish yourself on a team and move to management in the same team
      Feb 4
    • eBay laserpntr
      Does team lead normal lead to manager? What if you want to stay IC?
      Feb 10
    • Venmo lveQ78
      +1 to The Manager’s Path. A great read that helped me start off on the right path
      Feb 10
    • Walmart.com byebyWMT
      Wow . 83 likes . How many have you folks read it ?
      Feb 12
    • Dropbox jLgb07
      It is indeed a good book. It’s not bullshit advice. It’s written by a SWE for other SWEs on how to switch from IC to EM.
      Feb 12
  • New / Mgmt VSwf01
    Management and engineering are very different but sort of similar. You will go from programming computers to people. Computers are more predictable than people.
    Feb 4 2
    • Facebook / Eng wTPk48
      This a million times
      Feb 10
    • Microsoft SSwM14
      I disagree : we go from programming to programming ourselves to work work well with people to deliver cumulative results
      Feb 11
  • Pinterest qJSV23
    I too am interested in this. TC 420
    Feb 4 4
    • Groupon glad
      Why do you guys (you and OP) need to post the TC for these questions?
      Feb 11
    • Bloomberg tday
      I guess it's a Bloomberg thing, "TC or GTFO"
      Feb 11
    • Lyft d83jq
      @glad you’re probably new to blind. Every post used to have TC or GTFO so people post it now preemptively
      Feb 11
    • Groupon glad
      TC 1M and GTFO
      Feb 11
  • Amazon mxstar
    Be a manager because you love coaching and helping other grow in career and strategy for company. Lot of time will be spent on those and prioritization as well as hiring. Don't do because of other reasons as that will make u unsatisfied and possibly a bad manager and there are tons already. Cheers!
    Feb 4 3
    • Snapchat bgf95
      +1 on this. Lots of managers focus too much on tasks and deliverables like IC's, but often times don't think too much what is the best they can do to develop a team.
      My last manager was fantastic because he was firm, fair and 100% unselfish.
      Feb 10
    • Moody's nightSun
      Absolutely echo this. While few managers become managers because they like to coach and help others develope their careers.
      Selfish managers who only care about getting their own tail covered may seem to deliver work in the short run, but damage the organization in the long run.
      Hope the managers' manager can identify those who have a balance in delivering work and developing people's careers.

      Btw, how do people think of High Output Management by Andy Grove?
      Feb 10
    • Magic Leap / Eng ohnorandom
      There is management and there is a leadership. Ideally managers are also leaders, but their underlying job is the ensure what needs to be done gets done when it needs to be done. Leadership is the quality of having and projecting a vision, inspiring others to work towards that's vision, and maintaining the motivation of that team.
      Feb 10
  • Oracle fatalflaw
    If you're asking, you're not ready yet. Take some more time until it is a natural transition. Managers who don't have the acumen and 'go by the book' can ruin careers and lives. Bad ones don't listen to feedback. Think about this.
    Feb 4 7
    • Snapchat zvrY67
      -1, those who are lucky might get it right naturally, but others would need advices/books to help them get back to the right track
      Feb 10
    • Oracle fatalflaw
      The ones who get it only from books can never be independent or confident. They'll manage, but they'll never get very good at it. Unfortunately, the industry is filled with such people creating false role-models that we don't need!
      Feb 10
    • Snapchat zvrY67
      Nope, only your falsy assumption get it only from books. Human being read book and practice the learning in reality
      Feb 10
    • Oracle fatalflaw
      Okay, I wish you, and the people you manage, the best. Good luck!
      Feb 11
    • Microsoft yQKE82
      Books are great and can help you a little but honestly with experience. If you want to become manager then you need to swim with the sharks. You need to get a manager opportunity and learn as you grow. You need to be willing to take feedback and improve. And be frankly honest with your team. This is a first time for me being a manager, if you have any feedback for me, happy to listen. I may not do everything right but hopefully with feedback and iterations you can improve and become best version of your self and best version of a manger.
      Feb 12
  • Adobe j1ra
    While on books, one that I would recommend - even if one I read well after becoming a manager - is What Got You Here Won't Get You There.
    Feb 4 3
    • UPS Ufgk43
      A better one is Somehow In Manage by Michael Scott
      Feb 10
    • Microsoft Wahh28
      Somehow *I Manage
      Feb 10
    • Target djvsu7h
      🤷🏻‍♂️
      Feb 16
  • Microsoft DuAl11
    1) you will make less money as a level 1 manager than many of your directs.
    2) it’s about your team and not you. Don’t try to be a player/coach. It doesn’t work.
    3) When you get to a point where you are happier for a promotion for one of your direct reports than when you get promoted,you will be someone who people want to work for.
    4) great managers remove blockers and clear a path for their team. If teammates are complaining about a process that isn’t productive, fix it at the root source even if you have to ruffle leadership feathers.
    Feb 10 1
    • Cisco hrEq06
      Right on!!!
      Feb 10
  • Sprint / Product
    ifTW74

    Sprint Product

    BIO
    Tech project program manager
    ifTW74more
    You must be able to step outside of your own personality style to lead effectively. The Golden Rule is wrong most of the time. Treat people as they want to be treated..not necessarily how you want to be treated. Study Ken Blanchard's Situational Leadership theory to understand how and when to apply "directing" vs "coaching". You must be able to do both. Understand that you will be the servant to your team.
    Feb 4 3
    • Sprint / Product
      ifTW74

      Sprint Product

      BIO
      Tech project program manager
      ifTW74more
      Most engineer types suck as managers (it's how we are wired) so you have an uphill battle to greatness.
      Feb 4
    • Oracle / R&D lHEA77
      >The Golden Rule is wrong most of the time. Treat people as they want to be treated..not necessarily how you want to be treated.

      I like this thought.
      Feb 10
    • CallisonRTKL / Other wshvp
      That’s the Platinum Rule: Do unto others as they want to ...
      Feb 10
  • Facebook FbkEr
    To all people who are discouraging OP from becoming manager - you all are dumb !!
    Like it or not - managers would always make more money than ICs generally. Getting promoted to E8 is 1000 times tougher than getting to D position. D’s make 1 mill+ an year. Most of the D’s or M2 at FB I know these days are coming from Tier 2-Tier 3 companies. With experience, everyone can do Manager’s job(a lot of mediocre ICs has become Ms) , but same is not true for E7-E8 role.
    Feb 10 4
    • Oracle fatalflaw
      It's a shame that mediocre ICs can become managers. It reflects poorly on the higher ranked managers. Bad managers ruin careers and lives, and also impact the company in the long run. The millions they make are a fang anomaly, and while individuals may want the millions, it should not be the reason that the industry should encourage people becoming managers.
      Feb 10
    • Same at Uber. You can have the IQ of a rock, but if you managed to become a “senior manager” at yahoo or some other tier 2 company, Uber will hire you as an L7/L8 to manage PhD ICs from Stanford. It’s a joke.
      Feb 11
    • Facebook FbkEr
      For some reason - the guys who made it being a manager (hook or by crook), discourages everyone else to try their route. THIS IS THE HARD TRUTH- Only way to make a lot of money in our industry is to move into management. If you are not good at it, work harder and get better. Even incompetent one’s get to jump companies every 2 years before their bullshit gets called out.
      Feb 11
    • Oracle fatalflaw
      You cannot... should not... become a team captain if you don't have the chops. There's nothing about discouraging anyone. If you have experience working with poor managers, or the wrong person becoming the captain of your favorite sports team, you'd know. Higher compensation should be the result, not the reason, for becoming a manager. While "hook or crook" methods may be the reality or "hard truth," it's tremendously irresponsible to support them.
      Feb 11
  • SpaceX / Eng plokjimnb
    Don't expect more money. For most fields managers make more, but as IC can make fucktons in this tech bubble, management is more of a lateral move.
    Feb 4 7
    • Airbnb Cvjk
      VPs can make 1.5-3m. I don't see any ICs getting that. even 12+ yoe Googlers who left for a top offer somewhere else are capping out at 600k/yr
      Feb 10
    • Uber $ROPE
      I bet you Jeff Dean or any of the ICT8-9s at Google are within spitting distance.
      Feb 11
    • Command Alkon user2222
      Management isn't worth it in IT. Especially if you don't like politics and bickering .
      Feb 11
    • Evernote bakbak🐔
      To be fair if you are making a move to make more money, I think that’s a clear sign you don’t understand what it means to be a manager.
      Feb 11
    • Lyft d83jq
      Jeff Dean is an outlier. I’m sure he makes 8+ figures.
      Feb 11
  • Walmart.com ToKL28
    Your biggest challenge is hiring, retaining and motivating engeneers, who get pitched about two times a day on LinkedIn.

    Imagine you hired someone and rely on them to do the job. Evening before their start day, you get the email letting you know they got another offer.
    Even more, people are ghosting jobs. They simply don't show up or stop showing up. Yet you still need to deliver. Plus your reputation gets hit if you lose people.
    Once one guy is gone, he will pull a couple more the best ones.

    You will need to know how to navigate promotions, get salary raises and all of this. Say you failed to get a promotion for a high performer. Next he does leetcode for 3 month instead of doing the job and leaves. Say you got him promotion, another guy gets jealous and leaves.
    Feb 10 5
    • VMware kjrp10
      Don't show up ?
      That's just immature and I can only wish those people to spend a lot of time on unimpoloyment
      Feb 10
    • Walmart.com ToKL28
      Do you realize that they don't show up because they already got another job. Yes, this is immature, but that's the reality.
      Feb 10
    • VMware BobbleHat
      It happens.
      Feb 11
    • Walmart.com ToKL28
      More often than one can expect
      Feb 11
    • VMware kjrp10
      I'm sorry
      I still find it unfathomable for this to happen.
      Have basic manners to send a text / email.
      We had this happen once in our team, we tried calling the person, no answer.
      We wanted to file a police report, worried that something may have happened
      Feb 11
  • Microsoft newyorkhky
    Have managed for about 20 years. When I first moved to lead a team, I had little management experience. Read books, HR policy manuals, etc. and pretty sure I sucked.

    Took me a few years to understand partnering with your employees, having their backs, working hard to get them more money/rewards (and not giving a shit if they made more than me but knowing it was better for the team if they did), managing/leading to clarity and structure, prioritizing people’s WLB and family, being transparent and honest (sometimes in very tough ways) and just generally caring were all key. A book will tell you the what; it’ll never show you the how (or prepare you for people’s reactions, games and politics).

    I would never trade my time as a manager and leader. It has taught me a ton. I’m a better engineer and person because of it.
    Feb 11 2
    • Splunk KE94107
      A small minority of managers are like you. Back when I was a manager, I embraced the concepts you describe here. Still, it was a hugely stressful time because the people above me kept getting swapped out and their successors were often not very competent.
      Feb 11
    • Oracle / Design F6ax!j0
      You sound like an exception, and I wish more managers had your ethos and mentality.
      Feb 11
  • Oracle / Design F6ax!j0
    You’re not remotely ready to be a manager. Your reasoning is all wrong. You list wanting more status and money, when good managers prioritize the success of their team members. It ain’t about you, fucko. And it’s not that you couldn’t transition to a management role, it’s that you’d be a shitty one.
    Feb 10 2
    • PayPal hot4heels
      Hear. Hear. I was thinking the same thing when I read it. “Assign work”? OMG that would be a horrible team to work for.
      Feb 10
    • Oracle / Design F6ax!j0
      Right? Like what the fuck. I’m sure he could figure it out but still.
      Feb 10
  • Expedia tap2
    I made the transition awhile ago, and often wonder if it was the right choice. I really enjoy the strategy involved in leading an org, seeing the bigger picture and coaching others, however, I miss the sense of accomplishment in doing something myself, and find leading has a lot more variables, meaning something often needs fixing whereas IC work is more focused and under your control. Once you lead for too long, depending on how close you stay to the technical side of things, it can be hard to go back. I wouldn’t go to leadership for status or because you think it will be easier (In my experience it’s been harder because people are complex and unpredictable and not something you can control), but only if you are passionate about developing and advocating for others.
    Feb 10 1
    • Intel bxsnlns
      If your goal is to get away from coding, look at project management Managing people is all about bringing others up, to the point of letting them become your equal or even surpass you.
      Feb 10
  • Apple Share
    Couple of things to consider...
    1) in olden days becoming manager was the only path for career progression. These days you have mgmt (1,,2,3, Director, sr, vp) and Ic( levels that have salary pretty much matching mgmt- except May be vp)
    2) software/hardware is binary but peoples are not. There is a whole range of personalities you run into mgmt career and if you are not thick skin or in a bad env then it will really affect you (mentally)
    3) It might seem mgrs have lot of power but in reality they are very limited. At the end of the day you have to work around Hr policies and policies from top.
    4) mgmt in not easy: hiring, motivating, retaining, firing, managing up, down, across : all that along with continuing to deliver can be tough
    5) having said all that: one should definitely give it a try. Just keep your coding skills upto date so you can switch back anytime. Also be prepared to switch back and don’t see that as a failure. You will be happy that you tried and it may even turn our that you were meant to be a good manager
    Feb 10 0
  • Amazon reQY07y
    Don't become a manager to try to avoid work. Will not go well
    Feb 10 0
  • TribalScale sfUN21
    Something not being said here is that once you transition to manager, you will make mistakes. Is just part of the learning experience. Learning from those mistakes will help you grow.

    Be a manager because you want to help others grow and you really care about building a great culture. Remember that being manager you will be the last to get the praise but the first to get blamed.
    Feb 12 1
  • Twitter STMf58
    I'll highly recommend is being concise, confident and decisive. When it's a win, it's team, when it's a loss it's yours and you cover your team. Trust them with appropriate communication and transparency and they will trust you. Develope an active listening mindset and be empathetic. Know when it's appropriate to interact one on one vs in a group setting. You work with the team and for the team and not the other way round.
    Feb 15 0
  • This comment was deleted by original commenter.

    • Two Sigma oreo yum
      Agree with points 1-5. Disagree strongly on point 0. Most management books are bad, but the good ones are helpful to learn from. Engineering managers tend to not be great at managing, and books are a valuable way to be educated on things that your manager won’t be able to teach you. You have to experiment with the ideas from them as well so you get more experience.
      Feb 4
    • New / Mgmt VSwf01
      I disagree with one. You need to read tons, there see tons of great book on management. You have to read, extract the lessons that apply to you and your situation and execute.
      Feb 4
    • Facebook 🚗meep
      There are a lot of really bad or useless books on management too. I can see how someone thinks it's a waste of time if they've mostly come across the bad and previous generation ones.
      Feb 4
  • Remember, as a Manager, you are a “People” Manager FIRST. Everything else is second.

    Take care of your people and lead them. They will follow you.
    Feb 12 0