Developer Career Path: To Become a Team Lead or Stay a Developer?

Developer Career Path: To Become a Team Lead or Stay a Developer?

For a developer, becoming a team leader can be a trap or open up opportunities for creating software. Two years ago, when I was a developer, ... by Oleg Sklyarov, Fullstack Developer at Skyeng company

For a developer, becoming a team leader can be a trap or open up opportunities for creating software. Two years ago, when I was a developer, I was thinking, “I want to be a team leader. It’s so cool, he’s in charge of everything and gets more money. It’s the next step after a senior.” Back then, no one could tell me how wrong I was. I had to find it out myself.

I Got to Be a Team Leader — Twice

I’m naturally very organized. Whatever I do, I try to put things in order, create systems and processes. So I’ve always been inclined to take on more responsibilities than just coding. My first startup job, let’s call it T, was complete chaos in terms of development processes.

Now I probably wouldn’t work in a place like that, but at the time, I enjoyed the vibe. Just imagine it — numerous clients and a team leader who set tasks to the developers in person (and often privately). We would often miss deadlines and had to work late. Once, my boss called and asked me to come back to work at 8 p.m. to finish one feature — all because the deadline was “the next morning.” But at T, we were a family.

We also did everything ourselves — or at least tried to. I’ll never forget how I had to install Ubuntu on a rack server that we got from one of our investors. When I would turn it on, it sounded like a helicopter taking off!

At T, I became a CTO and managed a team of 10 people. So it was my first experience as a team leader.

Then I came to work at D — as a developer. And it was so different in every way when it came to processes.

They employed classic Scrum with sprints, burndown charts, demos, story points, planning, and backlog grooming. I was amazed by the quality of processes, but at first, I was just coding and minding my own business. Then I became friends with the Scrum master. I would ask him lots of questions, and he would willingly answer them and recommend good books.

My favorite was Scrum and XP from the Trenches by Henrik Kniberg. The process at D was based on its methods. As a result, both managers and sellers knew when to expect the result.

Then I joined Skyeng, also as a developer. Unlike my other jobs, it excels at continuous integration with features shipped every day. Within my team, we used a Kanban-like method.

We were also lucky to have our team leader, Petya. At our F2F meetings, we could discuss anything, from missing deadlines to setting up a task tracker. Sometimes I would just give feedback or he would give me advice.

That’s how Petya got to know I’d had some management experience at T and learned Scrum at D.

So one day, he offered me to host a stand-up.

software-development developer dev-team-leadership agile-software-development web-development mobile-app-development ios-development android-development

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