Today’s technical leaders are both masters of their craft and savvy business operators. They know how to manage their team, understand the business implications of their decisions, and effectively communicate with stakeholders. Understanding the dual role of technical manager can be challenging for those that have primarily held individual contributor roles throughout their career. These professionals must shift from thinking like an engineer to a leader who is concerned with company-wide strategies and best practices. With that in mind, here are six essential tips for advancing your career in technical management:
Build your network and show you care about the business
As a technical leader, you’re responsible for more than just the technology itself. You’re also accountable for the business outcomes associated with your team’s work. This means that you should be networking with non-technical stakeholders inside and outside of your organization. You should also make an effort to understand their business challenges and be able to communicate your team’s capabilities in a way that aligns with the business goals.
As a leader, you play a key role in your community by setting a positive example. You are an important role model for your employees and your community when you step up and lead.
You’ll also want to build relationships with your peers (technical and non-technical). This can help you understand what other teams are working on, and make sure that your team’s efforts are aligned with the company’s goals.
Networking is key — don’t be afraid to ask for help
As a technical leader, you have many responsibilities beyond just being a subject matter expert. While you should be able to effectively speak to your team’s work, you also need to understand the goals of other departments. This means that you should make an effort to network with other leaders across the company. You should also be willing to ask for help when needed. This can reduce the pressure of being expected to know everything. It can also help you better understand the business challenges your company is facing.
Learning to network is an art. It takes practice and persistence to learn the right ways to introduce yourself, make connections, and build your network.
Forget being awkward or feeling uncomfortable asking for help. You’re going to need it, and you’ll find that the people you ask are more than happy to help. You’ll build great relationships with these people, and they’ll be your greatest source of knowledge and experience. Don’t be afraid to ask for help when you need it.
Develop a technical leadership base
In order to advance your career in technical management, you’ll need to build a compelling base. This is essentially a collection of your experiences, achievements, and knowledge that can be used to justify your next position. You can start building a base early in your technical leadership career. Focus on developing a reputation for excellence, learning from your mistakes, and finding ways to systematically improve your team’s work. You can also contribute to industry groups or hold a leadership role within your company’s engineering community. This can help you build your reputation and make connections that can help you advance your career.
Building a reputation for excellence on the job market is one of the most difficult things to do. It takes dedication, dedication, and more dedication. It takes hard work, and even harder thinking. It takes figuring out what skills make you stand out, and which will keep you in the game.
Make strategic technology decisions
Becoming a good manager means making strategic technology decisions that will have a positive impact on the business. For example, making the right decisions with regard to technology platforms, data systems, and IT operations can help a company increase its productivity and efficiency, and make more strategic business decisions.
Effective leaders are strategic thinkers with a generalist background. They pay attention to the big picture – the strategy, vision, and mission of an organization – and are flexible enough to see multiple ways to achieve strategic goals.
As a technical leader, you’ll often be responsible for making technology decisions that affect your team’s work. This can include identifying what technical capabilities to focus on and which tools to use. It can also include making decisions about resourcing (i.e., how many people to assign to a project). By thinking strategically about your team’s technology needs, you can help them avoid becoming overly focused on the “what” at the expense of the “why.” This can help your team members better understand their work, and make them more valuable to the business. This is especially important when considering new technologies or tools. By taking the time to fully understand the capabilities of a tool and how it can assist your team, you can help avoid making hasty decisions that will negatively impact your work.
Coach and develop your team
As a technical leader, you’ll also want to help your team members advance their careers. You can do this by helping coach your team members through the interview process and providing career development opportunities. If you have strong relationships with your management team, they may be open to helping place your team members in the right positions. Alternatively, you can look to outside organizations and mentors to help your team members advance their careers.
Progressing from an engineer to a technical leader is both challenging and rewarding. Advancement can be an exciting time, but it can also be scary. As a new technical leader, you’ll be expected to come up with solutions to problems, manage your team and make decisions. You’ll have to balance your technical knowledge and skills with your leadership abilities. Being prepared is the best way to ensure success. By using these tips, you can put yourself in the best position to advance your career in technical management.