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You are a professional with a considerable amount of experience looking for your next role. However, you are still deciding the type of role you would want to go for. Based on your experience and skills, do you want to go for a technical role or opt for a management role? In this article, we will help you understand the difference between these two and decide which role will suit you better.
Technical roles require you to hold specific technical skills, knowledge, and expertise to perform functions. These could be junior or senior level roles where you serve as an expert in your domain. For example, a financial analyst, HR specialist, or junior software engineer are all technical roles in different industries.
For a management role, it is your leadership and decision-making skills that help you succeed. These roles do not always include directly working on technical aspects of the business unless required. Rather, these mainly involve leading people and making decisions based on data and resources. Roles like Engineering Manager, HR Manager, or Director of Finance fall in this category.
In the next part of the article, we will list a few aspects that will help you decide which role should fit you better.
1. People vs. Tasks
One of the most significant factors that will help you decide is your interest in working with people. In a management role, you will manage and lead people. This would mean helping your teamwork on tasks and accomplishing goals instead of working on the technical aspects of a project. As a technical person, you will be responsible for working directly on the technical tasks with other members of your team or alone. In a nutshell, management roles are people-focused whereas technical roles are task-oriented.
For example, a software engineer works on technical tasks such as developing Java applications. On the contrary, an engineering manager will lead the team and ensure all the resources are available to the members. Thus, if you are confused about the type of role you should take up next in your career, we recommend considering your preferences and identifying what suits you better in terms of people and tasks.
2. Do you have the right skills?
Transitioning from a technical role to a management role is not easy. Not everyone who moves to a managerial position succeeds. Hence, this affects the productivity of employees and the overall goals of the organization. In fact, according to a study, about 65% of employees prefer a better boss to a pay rise. Some of the common management skills you need to have are:
- Communication and Interpersonal skills
- Decision-making and Problem-solving
- Planning and Organizing
- Strategic Thinking and Project Management
- Mentoring and Coaching
- Commercial Awareness
For a technical role, your skills are job-specific, and excelling at these gives you a competitive edge. Thus, it is up to you to decide if you are ready for a management position. Otherwise, you can stay in your current technical role to grow as a subject-matter expert in your domain. This would mean continually updating your skills and knowledge to align with industry best practices. If you are interested in moving to a management position, but the above-mentioned qualities don’t come naturally to you, you still have a chance to enhance your skills and lead a team effectively. In this scenario, we would recommend the following to you:
- seek professional help
- read books and blogs on leadership
- improve and rely on your self-awareness and reflection skills
3. Alignment with long-term goals
Before deciding your target role type, we would encourage you to think about what the role would bring for you. Where do you see yourself in that role 5 or 10 years down the line? Is this where you would like to be? If you have chosen the management type, do you see yourself reaching the c-suite in a couple of years? Will that bring you satisfaction and happiness?
On the other note, if you chose the technical path, would you be able to keep up with the technology and new industry standards? Do you see yourself being able to compete with the younger generation of employees with upgraded skills and knowledge? Making an informed decision will help you succeed in your career, whether you are in a technical role or a management role. Considering the future aspects of your role will help you decide if your current move is right for you or not.
Deciding for a technical or management career can be challenging. However, if you use the right resources and seek professional help if required, you will be able to determine what is right for you. Whether it is a management role or a technical role, make sure to use your skills and knowledge to their full potential to make a difference to people around you.