Some, perhaps many, network engineers seek to be managers. The idea is that control over the technical situation would lead to a better network, and so if you want the network to be made in your image, then you should run the show.
Maybe that’s your story. Maybe you’re later in your career, and your reasons for wanting to be a manager are a little different. Whatever your situation, I can tell you from experience that taking on a management role is a complex decision, and the role is probably not what you think it is if you’ve never done it before.
Today on Packet Pushers we’re going to talk about what it means to move into management, the differences between technical lead roles and full-blown management roles, whether the management position actually gives you some control over the organization’s technical direction, management mistakes, people problems, and lots of other topics.
Joining us to share her experiences is Amy Arnold. Amy is a senior network engineer with a hybrid role of technical lead and formal manager in the public sector. You can follow her on Twitter or check out her blog here.
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1. Our management backgrounds:
- Technical Services Manager for small VAR
- Network Operations Manager for state government
- Network Architecture Manager for financial services
- Technical Lead/Manager in the public sector
2. Management questions to reflect on:
- Does being a manager mean having control of the network’s technical direction?
- How hard is it for you to delegate, and why?
- How much of the job is managing humans, and how much is technical leadership?
- How much control over finances do you have?
- Compared to being an engineer, what did you like the most about management? Dislike?
- What social skills were lacking in the management role that you didn’t miss in a pure engineering role?
- Compare how a comprehension of business is important to engineers vs. managers
- Did you ever feel a loss of identity or credibility in a management role?
- Now that you’ve been a manager, do you better empathize with other managers?
- Tell us the story of your biggest screw-up as a manager
3. Advice to engineers:
- How can engineers perform better for their managers?
- Should an engineer seek to be a manager?
- How can an engineer prepare to be a manager?
- What can an engineer do to demonstrate they are ready for a management role?
Amyengineer: Amy’s blog