Transition from development to management roles

By ashokdiggavi ashokdiggavi Points: 30 | Level: Starter | Status: [Member]
Posted on: 1/11/2011 6:16:56 PM | Views: 4815 | Points: 30
Hello Sir,

I have around 10 years of development experience mostly on Microsoft technologies. I also used to be team lead back home in India. Now its been few years in US working as contractor. I seriously want to pursue a goal to successfully transition to management type of roles. I mean be able to take up more challeneging roles. I have a plan of getting PMP certifications too.
Please advise the steps to transition to management roles while currently performing the job as a senior developer.
I am looking towards something that helps gain experience in performing management type activities so that i can confidently mention in my resume as skills/strengths.

Hope you understand the situation i am trying to explain.

Please let me know if you need anymore info before you come up with a best approach.


Sainath's Advice on Monday, January 24, 2011 :

First & foremost, your long term career direction should be crystal clear to you - in this case I assume it is to take up managerial roles. It is like your pole star, or magnetic compass against which you keep checking your direction so that you do not go off-track. Once this is clear, it becomes necessary that you analyze every job opportunity whether it takes you at least 1 step closer to your long term career direction.

Many people give more value to on site opportunities, higher salary,etc at the cost of role, sometimes growing in salary but shrinking in role. Not that these factors are not important, but to succeed in the long term requires some careful analysis and planning. These things work in the short term but after 10 yrs you should not suddenly feel that you have not made any "real" progress.And your role has nothing to do with your designation.

Your "market value" or monetary value in the job market is a  direct function of your "real value". For managerial positions, you are only as good as the size of the problems you have solved consistently. Projects are plagued with problems - people problems, client problems, technology problems, etc.A good project manager is one who steers the project to completion in rough weather.

Management is a by-product of leadership, and taking up a leadership role does not require you to have the corresponding designation in hand. In fact, many times it is after you have taken up leadership responsibilities and proven your mettle that you are actually given the designation. This is good for you - as in this manner you will know the ground realities before taking up higher posts.

So how does this impact you - as an experienced senior developer, there is nothing to stop you from seeking higher responsibilities. Higher responsibilities could be :
  1. Handling the tougher parts of the project
  2. Mentoring junior team members
  3. Transitioning new team members
  4. Taking initiative - coming to the forefront when the project lands into trouble.
  5. Always asking the immediate line manager for tougher assignments
You should reach the point in the project where it is you who is always called upon to handle the toughest problems.Trust me, this is the best training ground.Irrespective of whatever is your current designation, your role will begin to expand out of sheer personal initiative and your "Real value" will shoot up. Over a period of time, you will grow in confidence.Eventually you will reach a point where even if you try for a higher role outside your current organization you will get it since your interview posture will be very strong as you have already experienced most of the scenarios.Along the way, you can also complete the PMP and other supporting qualifications which will increase your chances in the market. This is what you need to do.

The law of harvest says that - first you sow, then you reap, and in that order. And also there is a time lag from sowing to reaping.So be patient and take consistent action, results will eventually follow.

Sainath Sherigar,

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