I feel like I am in a point in my career path where I need to start thinking more long term. Up until now I have been known as the technical guy who can figure out anything. I am the person who gets thrown onto the toughest projects and always completes the task.

While this has been a lot of fun, I find myself bored quickly and the technical side no longer challenges me. I am starting to get more interested in the Leadership roles.

I was wondering if anyone with a technical background who changed into a leadership role could summarize the different challenges and aspects to both sides. Also, what skill sets would be beneficial in a leadership role that someone in a technical role may not require.

  • This can be better answered in Workplace IMHO Dec 30, 2014 at 16:56
  • Quite possible but I believe there would be better answers from the QA here at SQA than the developers at Workplace would give. QA offers a broader range of career paths than development offers, thus it being asked here.
    – Paul Muir
    Dec 30, 2014 at 18:02
  • This question sort of reminds me of this article by a developer at Spotify about how the career ladder is designed to getting people out of Technical roles and into Management roles - as if that's the only / best option: hakkalabs.co/articles/climbing-cto-ladder-fall-2 Jan 8, 2015 at 17:13

3 Answers 3


When we think about leadership then it is really interesting and important role in any company. Leader can help to grow company business , client , profit by doing great leadership and work.

I am QA and I have been analyzing since last some years that in most of companies there are leader available but mainly 2 types of leaders :

  1 - Technical Leader
  2 - Non-Technical Leader

1 - Technical Leader

As per my experience I prefer technical leaders because they have always basic understanding of programming , software , latest technologies so they can guide very well to team , can help to team if they stuck in anything and a lot more.

Some technical leader have very good command over specific technology , For ex : Java so they can lead all JAVA team and projects very well.

There is one more thing about technical team leader I would like to specify is they can understand and estimate project management , project development time estimation , project design time etc. Project may be a web design , development or software development or any.

So there are lots of benefit of technical leader.

2 - Non-Technical Leader

There are many people available who have done their master in management so they are capable of being team leader. Also they have really very good skill to manage team , projects , clients and a lot more. But when technical things comes during job then they are lacking. Even some experienced leader also have technical knowledge lacking.

So in non-technical team lead role there will be always some mismatch in estimate project management , project development time estimation , project design time etc. Project may be a web design , development or software development or any. And at end either team get dissatisfied or client/company.

So I am not saying that non-technical leader are not capable but it is beneficial in some stage if they have technical knowledge.

@PaulDonny - It is good that you are technical so this thing will help you a lot more in leadership also. I believe that leadership role is totally diff. than technical role but technical knowledge is very important part in leadership.

According to me a good leader should have following skills :

1 - Team management 2 - Long term thinking 3 - Objective must be high 4 - Goal setting 5 - Team motivation 6 - Never think only for personal growth , think about team and company growth also 7 - Co-operative nature 8 - Detailed analysis skill

"Leadership is not about what you are , Leadership is about what you want to be".


For your question "what skill sets would be beneficial in a leadership role that someone in a technical role may not require." Answer is "People management" every lead should have this skill.

Leadership/Management role also a challenging as like Technical Role. In Technical role mostly we will learn new technologies, make ourself up-to-date and works towards our goal, but in Leadership/Management role we need educate or make our team mates to learn the latest technologies and monitor the progress of our team work. Leaders should also have technical, so that they can predicate the workload and resource needed to completed the given work within the project delivery date.

Simply say, person with technical skills and People management skills is a good leader


Things a leadership role requires but a technical role may not require?

  • Diplomacy
  • PR
  • Negotiation
  • Deception
  • Discipline

Ymmv, but in my experience in leadership roles the most important things are:

  • Leading an effective productive team
  • Being perceived as leading an effective productive team

Based on the technical acumen you describe, it doesn't sound like you'll struggle with providing technical mentorship to your team. So that leaves the PR side of things.

What it comes down to is that people are too busy to closely examine details. That's how good people and teams wind up unappreciated. The hardest part of leadership is constantly maintaining the aura excellence.

That workplaces are often littered with worthless managers that excel at the perception part of the job makes it all that much harder for someone actually doing good work to compete for recognition.

That being said, you may find it unsavory to constantly manage expectations rather than relying on reasonable and rational people to come the natural and logical conclusion that a team is effective. (as a QA I would cite that as the biggest culture shock).

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