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Moving from IC to Management ladder

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Senior Software Engineer at Chimea year ago


I have 12+ years of experience and would like to move to management ladder. I have been working with my manager for over a year to get there.

Couple weeks ago I got to know that my manager is leaving the company. I am worried that with his departure all the effort I put in over the last one year would be wasted. My manager mentioned that he has recommended me as his potential replacement to his skip(Director) but he(manager) is not sure if the company will back-fill the position or not.

My departing manager gave me the following suggestions so that I stay on track with my career goals:

  • Have regular conversations with the skip(Director) and VP so that they know I am very much interested in moving to leadership positions
  • Keep HR folks in the loop too, so that they can spot/help me with any managerial positions opening up outside of my org(different team in the company)

I have monthly skip level 1:1 & have mentioned this interest of mine(moving to management ladder) to him.

I am not sure how frequently should I talk to VP & HR as well as how to bring this career aspiration of mine to their notice. Should I have monthly sync's with VP & HR personnel too?



(1 comment)
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    Tech Lead/Manager at Meta, Pinterest, Kosei
    a year ago

    This depends on the company, but based on my knowledge of Chime, I'd recommend focusing on conversations and relationships with the engineering leads: Directors and VPs. The Human Resources (HR) folks won't have much input on your candidacy for new manager positions.

    On the topic of working with eng leadership, I'd focus your effort on the people directly responsible for front-line manager position (the director, in this case). If you shoot too high and talk to the VP, they likely won't overrule the Director on their team. Especially given that you're very close to becoming a manager, and you've already made it known, I'd spend most of your effort keeping in regular touch with Eng Directors across the company.

    An Alternate Angle

    One more piece of advice around becoming a manager is to create scope. The premise of your question is that someone has to bestow upon you the manager title. However, in a high-growth company, two paths for management are very common:

    • A new project, feature, or workstream becomes important enough, and you are the person with the most context in that domain. So you naturally become the manager.
    • The existing manager gets promoted, leaves the company, or switches role. This actually happened in your case, but the doubt on whether the position will be backfilled is my last point...

    The Grim Reality of 2023

    Finally, I wanted to call out that it is significantly more challenging to transition into a management role today compared to a year ago. Since tech companies are not hiring as much, there's not as much opportunity for a new manager. Along with this, tech companies are shifting their priority to builders -- individual contributors instead of managers.

    With this context in mind, you should still try for the manager role if you're set on it, but hedge your bets appropriately.

Chime Financial is an American fintech company which provides fee-free mobile banking services that are provided by The Bancorp Bank or Stride Bank, N.A. Account-holders are issued Visa debit cards or credit cards and have access to an online banking system accessible through the company's website or via its mobile apps.
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