What Does It Take For A Programmer To Get Into Managerial Level

Creating line after line of code and seeing it all turn into software capable of doing so much has to be one of the most fulfilling aspects of being a programmer. As a programmer, you are the producer. And like every profession, on the other end of the spectrum are leaders, that is the management.

Team building

How do you transition into management as a programmer? Managing a team may very well  be what will catapult you into the next level of success and growth in your career, and here are some pointers to help you as you get into management

1. Is It For You?

Even before you make the transition, carefully consider if it is indeed for you. Understand your new role in the management and what every day will look like for you. What aspects do you find most enjoyable or exciting about being a manager? What elements would you rather avoid if possible? Can you handle the extra responsibility? Are you a risk-taker? Will you be able to handle and cope with the criticism that is often directed to decision-makers?

Spend time doing some introspection. The bottom line remains that, fear of the unknown notwithstanding, if you can see yourself building a vision, getting people behind it, and coordinating their efforts for a better outcome, management may be the right path for you.

2. Change Your Perspective

After deciding that management is, indeed, a path you would like to pursue, you must start by changing your perspective. As a programmer, yours was to deliver software products in time and ensure that they met set standards. You have specific tasks to do with this end goal in mind.

As a manager, you will need a complete mind shift so that you can focus on the bigger picture and vision for the business, which includes not only the end-users or clients but also other stakeholders. You have to recognize that your role has changed and fully immerse yourself in what is expected of you as a manager.

Yours will be to find strategies to help your team do their work better and improve the business. Encourage your developers to learn new languages and take advantage of discounts such as those provided by G.I Bill management. Do your best to ensure that your programming team has access to different resources that will help them do their job.

3. Trust Your Team

Are you still trying to be a part-time programmer, while being a full-time manager? That’s what happens when you don’t trust your team’s abilities and try to micromanage every task and every team member. Bear in mind that you can only do so much, and there are downsides to being all over your team as they do their work.

What you should do, instead, is to trust in the abilities and give direction, as is required of a manager, but give them the space to execute your plans. Don’t jump in to fix a broken code or application bug; that is why you have a team of developers and engineers under you. Show your team that you have confidence in what they can do, and they will feel empowered and do much more and better.

4. Work On Your Relationship With Your Team

A relationship-based approach to leadership is one of the best and most effective approaches that you can adopt as a manager. Be deliberate and make the effort to build a relationship that goes beyond issuing directives and getting feedback with the programmers and other team members under you.

Communication is key to this relationship-based approach. Get to know your team’s expectations and the challenges that they face on a daily basis. You should also communicate your expectations and what it is that you can do for your team. Have an open-door policy in place, and make it known that you are willing and open to listen to and address any concerns your team may have.

5. Find A Mentor

Did you walk with a mentor as a programmer? Someone who inspired you to get into programming and helped you through the challenges that come with the turf? Being a manager is no different. Identify leaders in your industry that you resonate with and wish to emulate. Perhaps someone who, like yourself, was once a programmer and has now successfully transitioned into management?

Observe and learn from them from a distance. The better if you can approach these leaders and build a relationship with them. You will have a dependable person to turn to for advice in addition to being able to leverage their networks.

You will almost certainly miss writing and running code and everything about programming. But you will also get to know and experience what it means to be a business leader and decision-maker. With the highlighted pointers and more, the transition can be a smooth one.

About Mohit Tater

Mohit is the co-founder and editor of Entrepreneurship Life, a place where entrepreneurs, start-ups, and business owners can find wide ranging information, advice, resources, and tools for starting, running, and growing their businesses.

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