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​How to Become a Lead Software Engineer

  • Publish Date: Posted almost 3 years ago
  • Author: Jon Armstrong

Engineers tend to look at every goal as a problem with a solution. Their careers are not an exception to that.

Many software engineers aspire to a stable, respected position as a project leader or manager. So what's the plan for how to get there? Read on to find out.

1. Be a lifelong learner

You learn things you use, so immerse yourself in info relevant to what you're working on. You can build up transferable knowledge throughout your career this way.

It can be hard to make time for learning when you have a busy schedule, but make use of resources your company offers – and if you feel like you're being discouraged from developing yourself, start looking for a better job.

2. Focus on creating the most value in the least time

Ask yourself what the biggest contributions you can make are, and then ask which ones you can make the quickest. This buys the whole project time by moving the needle farther faster. What you want to avoid is sinking a lot of time into things that don't add a lot of value.

3. Think about the problem for a while before you think about the solution

Einstein said that if he had an hour to solve a problem, he'd spend 55 minutes thinking about the problem and only 5 thinking about solutions.The reason for this is that the best solutions come about when you really understand the problem.

If you're working on a deadline, you probably don't have time to go back and re-do things because you tried a half-baked idea. Think through all your options before you start building stuff.

4. Validate your ideas with the group early on

Have discussions with others working on the same project about your solution ideas, so that your pull requests don't end up throwing a wrench in the big picture.

5. Become a leader in the things you're passionate about

You do get software engineers who are brimming with entrepreneurial ambitions or dream of being in a management role, but just as many are in the business because they simply love to code and care about writing good software.

6. Have a vision

Leadership isn't actually about charisma and political glad-handing, it's about taking a hard look at yourself and asking "What's holding me back?" If you model that kind of honest pursuit of a goal for the people around you, they'll naturally get on board.

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