#86 It’s Easy To Become a Technical Manager

by Steven Cerri on March 10, 2009

“You are worth gold!”

Hello everyone!

Two or three weeks ago I received this comment to one of my blog postings that read, in part, as follows:

“My question is how do I get back to a position of manager vs IC? (Individual Contributor)

When new managers came into play – change happened and because I had the safety of a paycheck I became and now am an IC.

However I am unhappy and I would like a suggestion on how I can get back to a manager position (title not important) but leading people is. Because I let the paycheck manage my career I am now working for an organization that is all I and no WE.

Your assistance and coaching is appreciated.”


I truly understand everything J is asking and experiencing. So I’m going to answer his question(s).

“It’s Easy To Become A Technical Managers—Honest It Is!”

Over the last several weeks I’ve been writing in my Ezines and blogs that young people are restless and they often want the world much sooner than many would think they deserve.

Often when I coach young engineers I give them advice as well as some sense of how much patience they ought to exercise.

What I often don’t say quite this way, is: Becoming a technical manger is probably one of the easiest things to do.

Now notice I didn’t say becoming a successful technical manger is one of the easiest things to do. I said becoming one is.

You are rare indeed!

Finding an engineer who can successfully manage and lead people is very difficult. It’s a very difficult combination to find in one person. And therefore, most organizations are so eager to find someone who can, that they are constantly trying to entice engineers to make the transition.

Unfortunately, most organizations don’t understand what is needed for the successful transition, so they just grab someone who is a decent engineer and who “seems” to have some aptitude for management and presto, he or she is a manager, or sort of.

I recently was published in Mechanical Engineering, the flagship magazine of the American Society of Mechanical Engineers (ASME). The article was titled “The 5 Myths” and lists the five myths that many organizations use to justify the selection of engineers to be managers.

Often the selection and transition process fails because the myths are just that, myths and they are false.

Companies and organizations are constantly trying to fit engineers into the management role before they are ready, and this often leads to problems.

All of this leads to the situation in which we often find ourselves, and that is, good technical managers are difficult to find.

So what does this have to do with J?

If you want to read more about this topic, you can get it in my Ezine at: Steven’s March 2, 2009 Ezine

Be well,

Steven Cerri

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