Since I was a kid I was technically oriented. I liked to show off too and I didn´t have a problem to accept responsibilities. I did a software development career until my 30th birthday and then switched to management. For me it was a great choice but are you the right type for this work?
Pro – Future
I think that most of the developers are wondering if they will be able to keep the level of their programming skills even after they are 40 or older. I think this is not such an issue, there will always be a lot of code to maintain however some guys are really scared of their future.
Anyway this is absolutely not a problem for a manager or a person working with humans in general. On contrary, the skills concerning handling people are improving as person matures and gains experiences. There is nothing like human behavior changing every two years from the scratch. Of course, if you are technical manager you still need to keep up to date with the technology that your team uses, however there is a big difference between understanding what your team is doing and talking about and actually programming in that technology which is much harder.
Pro – Overview
And the list goes on. I love to have an overview what is going on in the company I work for. I admit that sometimes I would rather not to know, however the diversity of projects, people and processes allow you to learn something new every day. I guess it´s a question of being detail oriented or have the desire to know what´s going on around you.
Pro – Money?
Money are of course a motivator although from my experience, middle managers have usually similar salaries to their senior direct reports. So if you are top star developer and you are paid appropriately, money should not be a big motivation for a career change. If you really have a talent for managing people, it is more than probable that your talents for developing software is not as high. And I´m not saying that managers are bad developers, however usually not the top stars.
Pro – Knowhow for future business
You gain a lot of experience for future entrepreneurship. If you plan to start a company ever in the future, your managerial skills and experiences will be much more important than technical skills…and will probably decide if you are going to succeed or fail miserably. You don´t need to be technical guru to start a company, even Steve Jobs had his Wozniak, but you need to be able to lead the team. Maybe the only exception is Elon Musk, the visionary and micromanager that has a tight control in his companies and in addition to that he is interested in every technical detail his companies work on. I very much recommend Elon Musk´s biography from Ashlee Vance by the way, however I absolutely don´t recommend his style, keep it reserved for genius visionaries willing to work 120 hours per week.
Pro – People skills
Skill of handling people, skill of remaining calm in stressful situations, conflict resolution, can you imagine any better skillset for surviving the family life with several small kids, pregnant wife, mortgage, troublesome relatives, flat reconstruction and 10+ hours work day all in one? You definitely need to work on this skillset as a manager otherwise your career will be pretty short. And it comes handy at home too where your kid’s respect to you as a superior is doubtful.
Pro – Contacts
Contacts are another big pro. As a developer you know mainly your boss and members of your team. If the department you are member of is moderate size, you know most of the people from your department. As a manager you encounter a huge amount of people. From directors, other middle managers to specialist of many different departments. Your contact list is going to grow rapidly and the contacts can get handy in the future…for example if you are going to set up a personal agency 😊 Or looking for a new job of course..
Pro – Doing good
You hear a lot of stories from the personal life. Therefore, after some time you become some kind of psychologist to the people and if you are doing your job well you can really help people in the personal matters. Sometimes it´s pretty important, the psychological problems are on the rise and the number of IT people that have this kind of problems is huge (if you get to know it). These people usually don´t go to the specialist and you can really help them if you come to their problems sensitively.