The domain of development is filled with career growth opportunities. You might get to a point in your life where you’ll get to manage a small team of developers or maybe your company’s whole department. You might ask yourself then if there will still be time to do what puts you in this place at first: coding? All of these concerns are legitimate, and you’ll have to ask yourself some questions to find out if you are meant to be a manager.

I am going to go out on a limb right off the bat and say something that is not likely to be the answer you, who came across this article, want to hear. If you don’t like management, your career path is going to be limited. If what you like to do is code, you are really good at it and you don’t want to stop, then your career path is on a single trajectory: developer/engineer and then senior developer/engineer. But you know what? That’s ok! The industry needs amazing developers who are code-focused!

After some time, as an important asset to your team, others will recognize how good you are, then their inclination will tend towards putting you in a position where you can share your work experience to others. In other words, they will want you to mentor and/or direct. It is hard to take on that added responsibility without taking on some form of management. If you are an architect and responsible for a system’s design, and if you want that design to be successfully implemented, you will need to lead and manage others. If you become a founder of a start-up and you become successful, then chances are at some point you will need to hire someone to help, and then you will need to manage them. If you become a CTO, then there is no way in hell you will be able to not manage.

That being said, I don’t think this question can be answered without understanding what it is about management you don’t like. Do you not like managing personnel? Do you not like the idea of coding not being your primary responsibility? Do you not like the burden of responsibility for something’s success?

The answer to that underlying question will help point you in the right direction. in other words, a way we should all be thinking about the work we do, is: what does your ideal job look like? Forget about titles for a second, forget about the company you work for, just focus on your day-to-day life, and those things that will make you truly happy and thrive. Then work to create that position at the place you work, or at a company you build yourself.

The Final Words

Many companies don’t value talented, experienced developers as highly as managers, and will never reward them to the same level. This is not the sort of company developers like you should be working for. Other (usually more tech-focused) companies will value their developers more, and staying in technology should not limit your career in terms of reward and status.