During my first year as an Engineering Manager, one of the things I struggled with the most was the growing pain of not having enough time to keep up with all the technical aspects. Even more so, I had no time to write code and play with systems like I was used to when I was an individual contributor.
Reflecting on it today, I recognize that these were all natural feelings. However, I still remember that period as particularly stressful, and it took me quite some time to make the mental switch from being someone who was building things to someone who was leading and managing people who were building things.
But in the end, after many years, did I manage to stay technical? And for you, as an engineer growing into leadership positions, should you stay technical? Should you still write code or be hands-on?
I frequently receive these kinds of questions from other engineers or first-time EMs who are struggling with similar issues. While many have written and still write about this topic, I always see two factions: