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I'm trying to find the right career path for me - continue pursuing as an individual contributer or pursue the path of management within the company. Potential for a third option but does not exist yet. Has anyone gone through this decision and what steps did you take to determine your path?

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I went through that decision process. Basically, I decided that I wanted to try management, and I was given the opportunity to test out my skills by being a team lead or PM, depending on the project. It gave a break from the technical work, and I could try "getting work done through others." There is a point where you make a decision that you're ok without doing the technical work but leading the technical people. Or you won't be and you'll stay technicall. It's a very personal choice. If you choose management, it doesn't mean you aren't good at the technical work. It's just an evolution on what your priorities are.

Hopefully this helps.

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This helps! Thank you for sharing your experience!

I recently did but I may have been in a different boat. Essentially I had to pick if I wanted to level up as an IC or as a manager, I went the IC route mostly because I wanted to improve my foundations as a PM before managing others where I’d be doing a lot of coaching on how to PM.

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That being said, managing product managers is definitely different than managing an engineering team and there are portions of enablement and coaching that I get to do in my role already, so I wasn’t too caught up on that.

Hmm, yes, management becomes more about mentorship and guidance and strategy than pure project/product oversight. If you want to lean into the direction of people and the bigger picture, management is a solid path. But it comes with more and more of a burden for the wellbeing of more people...

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That's really good insight, thank you for sharing! I do care about the wellbeing of my peers, but I could see it being a burden in situations

Moving up into management gets me farther from the actual engineering work that I like to do. There's a lot more BD involved and general oversight. If you like the really technical details of your job, it can be a good path to zero in on being an IC that's highly skilled and highly desired for what you do, and not having to deal with the added responsiblity. If you enjoy that responsiblity, that's a totally different story.

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Thank you for sharing! I do like the technical side, but the small amount of mentorship I've done I really enjoyed. Thank you for your insight!

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