4 min read

The Essential Transition: From Developer to Manager

In the software development industry, the career transition from being a skilled software developer to a high-impact manager is a huge opportunity for engineer.
Developers and managers are complementary roles
Architectural and engineering managers

The transition from being a skilled software developer to a high-impact manager can often feel like a Herculean task. As a software engineer, you are deeply entrenched in the intricate world of code, creating products that drive business value. But to truly progress and influence your organization's direction, it is imperative to understand the bigger picture. This understanding is best possessed by those who stand at the crossroads of technical execution and strategic leadership. They are your managers - the critical link that bridges the gap between actual developers and top-level leadership. So how do you transition to become one of them?

Table of contents:


I'm talking about transition to Engineering Management, transition to Product Management will be covered in next articles.

The Full Picture Perspective

To grow in your career and contribute significantly, you need to see the full picture of how your organization works. It's like playing a game or a simulation game for developers. The individual tasks are like different levels of the game. You master one level - coding - and then move on to the next. But to truly excel, you need to understand how all these levels work together to create a coherent whole.

Becoming a Tech Lead

The first step on your journey from developer to manager is often becoming a Tech Lead. This position requires a mix of technical expertise and leadership skills. The goal isn't just to create excellent code but to lead a team in doing so.

As a Tech Lead, you're not just a participant in the game anymore; you're also responsible for guiding others through it. You're the one who helps other players navigate the complexities of the manager game, improving their own skills while contributing to the team's overall success.

Embracing the Management Challenge

Stepping into management is like starting a new career development game. It's a new set of challenges and a new set of skills to learn. It's also a shift in perspective. As a manager, you're not just thinking about the code; you're thinking about the people who write the code.

This team lead game involves a lot of talking and a lot of listening. Managers need to communicate effectively with everyone, from the developers on their team to the top leadership. They need to understand everyone's concerns, ideas, and goals and then bring all these elements together into a cohesive strategy. The aim is to manage not just projects but people and processes.

Stepping Up to Software Management

Here are some practical steps that will help significantly increase your chances on the path to becoming a manager.

  1. Find an Engineer to Mentor: Start by mentoring a junior engineer or even a peer. Make sure to communicate this desire to your leadership so they are aware of your initiative and can support you. Just start helping others - no other skills needed.
  2. Take Responsibility for a Small Project: Volunteer to lead a small project. Leading a project will give you experience in coordinating with other developers and managing tasks and deadlines.
  3. Lead Meetings: Find an opportunity to lead a meeting, whether it's a stand-up, a sprint planning session, or a technical review. Prepare an agenda, facilitate discussion, and ensure everyone's voice is heard.
  4. Take Meeting Notes: If no one else is doing it, take the initiative to write down important points during meetings and send them out to the team afterward. This shows your commitment to keeping the team aligned and informed.
  5. Dive Deeper into Your Ticket Management Tool: If your organization uses a tool like JIRA, become an expert in it. Then listen carefully, there are always issues in process that you will be able to fix.
  6. Document Work: If there were established guidelines or processes, make sure to document them. Even if that was done by someone. Some people will be ok to delegate documentation.


Seeing the full picture of your organization's operations and understanding how every piece fits together is crucial for your growth and the company's success. The more levels you unlock, the more of the bigger picture you see, and the more effectively you can contribute to your organization's success.

Remember, your journey doesn't stop at becoming a software manager. The game goes on. The challenges get bigger, the projects get more complex, and the picture gets fuller. So keep learning, keep growing, and keep playing the game.

Mitrapunk on Steam
Manage software development in tech giants such as Apple or Facebook. Figure out how to get promoted by choosing standout features, negotiating architecture solutions, and crafting impeccable code. Work overtime to outpace peers in the career race, but also avoid burnout.
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About the Author

With 18 years of software development experience and the past 4 years dedicated to management in the big tech industry, I bring a unique perspective to the table. My passion lies in design systems, AI, and I am deeply committed to creating efficient and elegant solutions. Through my writing, I strive to provide readers with accurate and up-to-date insights into the ever-evolving world of technology.