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By Andy Warren,
One of the challenges of our profession is moving people into management.
Often when a vacancy appears we promote the person who has been there the
longest, or the person with the strongest skills. In fact it happens so often
it's hard for me to call it an invalid strategy, but how effective it is depends
a lot on the manager that will be managing the new manager! The other piece to
the challenge is that many people want/try to move into management for a lot of
wrong reasons. Together those two problems often cause the stereotype of the
pointy eared manager to be all too true. This article is my take on how you can
decide if moving to management is right for you, and if you do want to pursue
that path, some steps you can take to get ready now.
Before we start, consider this; managing is a career of it's own. When you
become a manager all your technical skills don't become worthless, but they
become secondary to a whole set of new skills that you must acquire. I'm sure
many will disagree, but I prefer to work for a good manager with lesser
technical skills than a poor manager with great technical skills. I like
working for a manager that shields me from distractions, helps me with my
career, in general just makes being a manager look effortless. Managers get paid
to set direction, hire and retain staff, make decisions (to some degree),
accomplish goals, and to act as good stewards of the company resources. Nothing
in there requires them to be the alpha coder/DBA! I'm not suggesting you give up
your technical skills when you become a manager, but the truth is they will
atrophy over time if you insist on being a good manager because you put time
into the things that matter most and low level technical skills don't have the
same return on time investment they used to.
Let's start with the bad reasons for becoming a manager:
So, are there good reasons? Of course!
Before you decide that you want to be a manager, consider some hard lessons
you're going to have to accept:
So I haven't talked you out of being a manager? Good! We need good managers
in our profession and if you've come this far without ranting at me, you might
well make it! The truth is you're going to have to learn a lot of lessons the
hard way, but I'll share some tips from my various times managing:
Finally, even if you try management and ultimately decide to return to being
a DBA or developer, don't count that as a failure. I guarantee it will make you
a better employee and will give you a better appreciation for the relative
simplicity of just having to worry about what you need to get done. I look
forward to your comments.
I blog once a week or so at
SQL Server, SQL user groups, and related topics. I hope you'll visit and comment
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