Three Career Paths Software Developers Might Want to Pursue

Not every senior developer is reduced out to be a supervisor. In truth, many aren’t. That’s not a dig at developers. Rather, it’s a recognition of the function’s nature.

Many programmers pick out the sector because they need to be character individuals, no longer managers. Even those interested in mentoring others — say, as a software program architect or lead developer — might not need to be a developer manager.

Yet, either with the aid of external or inner pressures, Pinnacle software builders are often pressured into leadership roles they do not want. Sometimes, they worry about plateauing if they don’t move into management. In other instances, IT leaders push the pass on the way to convey in much less luxurious replacements with similar abilities.

Three Career Paths Software Developers Might Want to Pursue 1

Regardless of the motive, the result is equal: unhappy leaders, disaffected direct reports, and less effective product development groups.

As a programmer through change and a mentor to Yeti’s junior builders, this trouble hits near home. I’ve visible programmer friends grudgingly accept management responsibilities and regret it. They fell quick of expectations because the “promotion” felt like something they ought to do instead of something they have been passionate about.

These buddies observed a professional course that’s acquainted with many software builders. Initially, they have been improved to challenge development leads, which would sound like a senior developer function. But rather than continuing to hone their coding talents (as they notion they had been doing), they determined themselves continuously checking on teammates and providing undertaking updates to superiors. Success, previously based on their very own competencies and motivation, all at once required them to extract effort from their peers.


Too regularly, that will become a vicious cycle. With much less time to code, they get less in their own paintings done. With fewer paintings to show, their experience of cost suffers, which causes them to work even tougher to stabilize their personal challenges with the group’s ones. Eventually, they either revert again to being a character contributor, stop completely, or learn to see their group’s fulfillment as a yardstick for their personality.

That’s a cycle developer without control goals who do not want to warfare thru. Yes, some aspire to tackle it; however, control, in reality, isn’t always proper for plenty of technical team individuals. It’s the responsibility of IT leaders to nurture them alongside something professional path — including nontraditional options — they’ll have in thoughts.

Software developer profession paths

What, precisely, can developers do when they are prepared to transport up? In my enjoy, they tend to gravitate toward one of the following top-degree technical or management roles:

Software architect. This role is commonly the cease recreation for technically centered developers. Although titles range via organization, it entails making vital software structure alternatives for the team.

Software architects frequently mentor junior builders. However, they do not have direct reviews. They are serious hassle solvers, many with a decade or more specialized software know-how or generalized revel in numerous one-of-a-kind stacks.

To help software builders pursuing this professional route, encourage them to live up-to-date with new technologies. Even specialists ought to showcase some knowledge of the entire software program development stack, or even generalists ought to have in-depth knowledge of one or extra popular languages.

Lead developer. Sometimes referred to as a development manager, this function is for builders with strong time management and interpersonal capabilities. Lead builders are a type of bridge between non-technical and technical group individuals. They delegate paintings to direct reviews while maintaining verbal exchange strains open with company leaders.

Try assigning fascinated builders small, self-controlled projects. Can they keep themselves accountable to cut-off dates? If they are successful, hand them assignments that require delegation. Can they really talk with others? How do they compare direct reports’ overall performance?

Depending on the business enterprise, this position will be completely management, or it may be an aggregate of control and coding. Regardless, the ones pursuing it want to consider that human beings’ control requires a fantastic one-of-a-kind ability set than coding does.

Senior technical undertaking supervisor. While now not common because of the prior two, developers with sturdy, useful resource planning and budgeting capabilities can ascend to this position. Technical mission managers work closely with stakeholders and worried groups to hold the venture heading in the right direction and on finances. Candidates ought to be enthusiastic, green, prepared, layout-minded, and able to thrive beneath the strain.

How can trendy managers prepare developers for technical venture control? With cautious oversight, allow them to plan tasks, allocate assets, and control timelines. Encourage interested employees to shadow an assignment manager, who’ll in all likelihood recognize their technical expertise.

One of the hardest — yet maximum worthwhile — parts of control is helping direct reports find out their futures. Inform builders of their alternatives, study their competencies, and suggest paths they are probably perfect for. But something you do, don’t push them. That’s how people grow to be in roles they do not want, and, in the long run, it is how technical teams topple over.


Troublemaker. Wannabe music fanatic. Beer aficionado. Devoted food junkie. Twitter fan. Freelance thinker.Won several awards for analyzing sheep in Cuba. Spent 2002-2009 promoting action figures in the UK. What gets me going now is getting to know pond scum in the UK. Won several awards for investing in toy soldiers on the black market. Spent several months getting my feet wet with spit-takes in Gainesville, FL. Spent 2002-2009 testing the market for tobacco in the aftermarket.