Transitioning from a technical position to a project management role is not a decision to be made lightly. Although the two fields are related, they have unique advantages, disadvantages, and responsibilities. If you do not consider all of them in advance while asking yourself some important questions, you could end up taking a position you regret.
Are You Prepared to Accept the Administrative Duties of Management?
You have the opportunity to move into management because you have proven that you have impressive technical abilities. When you make that move, you will have to deal with a whole new set of responsibilities. Managers have to take care of hiring, firing, and sometimes petty inter-office conflicts. They also have to spend a lot more time in meetings, planning budgets, and thinking about big picture goals rather than minute technical challenges. If you can adapt to this new set of responsibilities, you may thrive as a manager. But if you would rather think about coding than human resources, the step up may be a mistake.
Do You Understand the Limitations of Technical Careers?
It is expected that if you have a skilled technical mind, you will eventually be promoted into management. And as a manager, you will make more money, get better benefits, and be considered for positions higher up the food chain. There is nothing wrong with working in a technical field, and the compensation can be significant in some places, but you will forgo the short and long-term advantages that managers enjoy. Your personal career priorities will ultimately inform your position, but it is important to understand the consequences.
Where Do Your True Skills Lie?
Ask yourself: Are you a good people person that just happens to have technical skills, or are you a technical wiz that can tolerate the aspects of business that draw you away from the computer? Knowing what you are truly good at is the best way to chart your career path. You may be languishing in a technical position when you were born to lead. Conversely, your technical mind could be going to waste writing memos and trying to keep people motivated. Success and happiness in your work life are ultimately about being rewarded for what you are best at.
These questions can get you started, but you should think long and hard before you transition from one type of position to what may be its polar opposite. Access the employment resources available from The Squires Group, a staffing firm that is focused on helping technical employees like you make the right choices in your career.