Journey from developer to manager
This site is where I share my thoughts on technology and software/web/application development. I am Jim McMullen, and I have been in this business for almost 30 years. I have messed up plenty of times over those years, and I have learned a few things along the way.
I have two degrees, but neither is in programming, computer science, information technology, or anything remotely related. I became a programmer by accident — I worked for a small company and when my boss needed someone to create a database, I was the only one there with any computer experience at all. My experience was as a USER of computers, albeit a power-user. My boss bought a copy of Paradox. I bought a couple of textbooks. And away I went onto a path that would move me into a development career.
You might say I embraced my inner geek — it had been trying to get out for years, but I had been beating it back in favor of more “cool” career choices. What a waste of time. I should have listened up front and gotten my CS degree. But since I didn’t, I learned a good bit of what I know through sometimes-painful experience and helpful advice from books, web sites like Stack Overflow, and training classes.
I spent the first 15 years as a full-stack web and database developer. I gradually moved into leading teams of onshore and offshore developers/QA analysts, network engineers, and others. I do less coding and more managing. And I’m not complaining about that – I wanted the new challenges.
The thing is, leading technology teams is not a natural thing for most developers. We are used to diving deep into a problem and leaving the strategic thinking to someone else. Now that I am that “someone else”, I’ve added new skills and knowledge to my toolset.
I’d like to share some of what I have learned with others who may be taking this journey, too.