Why do Programmers wish to become managers?

Tony Davis in his blog asks  why do many programmers wish to transition into management rather than continuing on the programming path.

There are three main reasons these reasons are pretty resistant to any change, because they ultimately are about humans not just about programmers

  • Programmers would like some control over their lives. Even as a Tech Lead, in most organisations you don’t have much control over the technology, applications, processes or general working environment in the organisation. The exception is obviously in small product development shops, but in a small outfit you generally have a lot more say even if you are just the receptionist. 
  • Programming is intensive work with lots of overnighters, crazy schedules and stress. As you get older the body’s abilities to consistently go at full tilt reduces. This is true not just of programmers but financial market traders and mathematicians. Full-time Programming, with a few exceptions, is a young man’s game.
  • Third and most importantly is that programming is eventually doing, cranking out code, fixing bugs, ensuring that the focus is on the right control when user presses tab. There is little time for reflection, understanding or appreciating the bigger picture. As we grow older we want those things in our life.

Most people may not be suited for architect level roles and so then the natual progression is to become a manager.


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