You need to code

As a senior member of the team, its very easy to get into a comfort level and literally stop coding. Have seen many people do that.

Especially, in the kind of software industry we work in.. you’re encouraged to leave coding and get to the so-called ‘Next Level’. That means a raise in salary. That means a higher position. And yes.. that means people work for you.

There used to be a sugar mill in my village. Incidentally, it closed down few years back. It had a similar tradition. Your importance was measured by the number of people working under you. You were the boss to 10 people under you meant that you’ve achieved the greatest feat the village folks have ever achieved. I’ve seen tears in family’s eyes once their son was promoted to that level.

It kind of made sense there. Not completely, but some sense. The kind of work performed did not really need a great deal of creativity or thinking. It was a mundane job. Loading/Unloading a sugarcane truck. Moving the load to the machinery. and so on.. So if a person was very good, he’d be twice as productive as the regular guy. Frankly, it didn’t mean much. Twice as good.

But, you’re in a software industry. A good software engineer is many more times productive than a mediocre one. So if he’s not coding.. its a team’s loss.

One of the reason given is.. you need to get other people to work and help them get to speed.

Frankly, I’ve been long enough in this field to know that it just doesn’t work. You can’t really replace a good software engineer with 5 mediocre ones. The output will only be mediocre. Add the fact that, leading a team is not something that comes naturally to software guys. In fact, on the contrary, good software folks aren’t really preachy types. They prefer showing the stuff in practice.

The speed with which the world is moving, most of the technologies get outdated pretty soon. So there is no real fun in holding on to Dracula and angels. In few years you’d find yourself struggling to keep your job competing with young guns equipped with modern artillery.

One way out of it is office politics. No one loves it. But they don’t have a way out.

And of course, management in no way compares to the fun and excitement that programming brings to everyday life. Isn’t it.

So let go of the status quo. Get back to programming. Show them how its done.


4 thoughts on “You need to code

  1. Awesome post !!! You spoke my mind !!! I can be 50+ or 60+, and i would still love to do hard-core programming than ‘managing’ programmers.

  2. Pingback: You need to code
  3. It all started when there seemed to be a vacuum in middle management demanding a single person to be accountable for a particular assignment. Rather than hiring for that particular role, people preferred to raise ‘one’ who had significant tenure (believed to have better context).

    As you rightly pointed out the fact “doubling” is no good, unless we are convinced that we don’t develop mediocre product [or product in mediocre way :-)], perceiving the transition developer-to-manager as next level thing is a mere nth order stupidity

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