Should Software Engineering Managers Code?

I recently started reading the best-seller book “The Making Of A Manager” by Julie’s Zhuo and I’m still in the early chapters where the role of an engineering manager is being discussed & defined, and the discussion pretty much indirectly touches on a classic question: “should engineering managers write code?”

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What is The Role of a Software Engineering Manager?

There are plenty of definitions out there regarding the role of the software engineering manager, but the most accurate one I found is in Julie Zhuo’s book “The Making of a Manager”:

Your job, as a manager, is to get better outcomes from a group of people working together.

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What is Eventual Consistency?

Eventual Consistency is a term used when talking about distributed databases. So a distributed database is one where there are several nodes (basically computers) that are responsible for handling database requests from clients (read or write). It often has a leader-follower form, in the sense that one node is a master node and other nodes are slave nodes. The master node receives the requests from the clients and forwards them to the slaves.

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Lessons From a Senior Staff Engineer at Split

Lessons from Joy Ebertz, a Senior Staff Engineer at Split:

  • There is a mental change when moving from a junior to a senior. You don’t see problems as somebody’s else problem, you see all problems as yours. You don’t assume that somebody else will fix them.
  • When the above happens, then you need to be picky about which problem to solve. That is done with prioritization and impact.
  • Delegation is important to help grow others.
  • Your job is to make all of engineering efficient, be it through process, technology, architecture or whatever.
  • We often focus on fixing our weaknesses but forget that it can be easier to amplify our strengths and make them superpowers.
  • All promotion cases are written as good cases, so a promotion committee won’t be looking at negatives and what is being said, but rather on what was not said.
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