A Day in the Life of 29 Engineering Managers

Built In Staff
April 16, 2020
Updated: May 27, 2020
Built In Staff
April 16, 2020
Updated: May 27, 2020

For most engineers, a typical work day might look like the following: coffee, code, coffee, code, lunch. After a few years, one might hope to move up the career ladder. And for some engineers, a position in management could be the next rung. 

But engineering managers aren’t just senior-level coders or developers. There are a multitude of other skills necessary for being a successful people manager, including soft skills like clear communication and conflict resolution. So how do engineers learn to cultivate traits like empathy and mentorship in a tech-heavy job? 

What is an Engineering Manager?

Engineering managers are most often responsible for keeping projects on track, solving technical issues that arise, communicating with other teams and acting as an overall leader for the team.

For HPR’s Director of Engineering Christopher J. Pendleton, it all comes down to experience and balance.

“A good engineering manager must know the technology well and be an expert in the jobs that the teammates are performing,” Pendleton said. “This job is a balancing act between when to get involved and when to step back.”

Engineering managers across the country are challenged to find new ways to motivate their team and provide resources to optimize their engineers’ skills. According to The Predictive Index Lead Software Engineer Shaun Avery, it’s crucial for managers to champion their team members internally and externally, celebrating their victories and making sure no win goes unnoticed. For more on the pathway to becoming an engineering manager, read what our 29 experts wrote, below. 

 

HPR

Christopher J. Pendleton

DIRECTOR OF ENGINEERING

HPR exemplifies the motto, “for engineers, by engineers.” The company builds software, hardware and networking technology that is used in stock markets worldwide. But high-stakes clients can lead to high-pressure tasks. Director of Engineering Christopher J. Pendleton focuses on training his team in best practices so engineers are confident in delivering a high-quality product. 

 

How did you become an engineering manager?

I studied computer science and physics in college and started my career as a software engineer in a medical device startup. I got hooked on developing software that impacted people’s lives. By continually improving my coding skills, I started to master the process and began to take on leadership opportunities. I became a tech lead and organized peer design reviews and training sessions. Engineers looked to me for guidance in their code and career paths. I became more valuable to the organization in this new role than I was as an individual contributor. 

I work to remove obstacles blocking the engineers from achieving their tasks.”

 

What are your job responsibilities?

I lead a team of 12 engineers in complex technical projects involving high-performance hardware and software. This requires careful management of project logistics to consistently deliver working systems on time. I train my team in engineering best practices to ensure a high-quality product. A typical day includes negotiating requirements with demanding clients and pushing us toward project milestones. I like to minimize team meetings, but I do run daily agile-like stand-ups to promote team communication. I work to remove obstacles blocking the engineers from achieving their tasks and look for opportunities to advance them toward their career goals. 

 

What makes a good engineering manager?

A good engineering manager must know the technology well and be an expert in the jobs that team members are performing. You then are credible, can transition into a strong mentor and create a cohesive, successful team that works well together. 

This job is a balancing act between when to get involved and when to step back, finding projects that feed into an employee’s strengths and help them grow. At HPR, decisiveness and an execution mindset are especially important. My success is measured on the impact I have in meeting our project’s objectives with engineers that are happy, motivated and growing.

 

Predictive Index

Shaun Avery

LEAD SOFTWARE ENGINEER

Working at The Predictive Index gives Lead Software Engineer Shaun Avery many resources for managing his team. By using scientific assessments, management training and consultation from behavioral experts, The Predictive Index helps businesses overcome workplace challenges. Avery implements those resources internally and uses them to mentor his team. 

 

How did you become an engineering manager?

I’ve been programming professionally since graduating college. Even back then I was taking on leadership roles during group projects. For most of my career, I’ve been really focused on learning and being the best programmer I could be. A lot of time was spent learning from my mentors and doing lots of reading to be able to implement best practices and adhere to proper usage of design patterns. I always tried to ensure I wrote clean unit-testable code.

I found myself not only enjoying programming, but loving helping others in their own technical career paths. I eventually became a mentor, a role I coveted so much. I realized I wanted to make a career out of knowledge-sharing, helping others discover and cultivate their own talents.

Being able to communicate technical direction to both technical and non-technical stakeholders is a must.”

 

What are your job responsibilities? 

I’m currently responsible for managing, mentoring and coaching a group of four very bright and engaged engineers. My top priority is ensuring they have what they need to succeed in delivering high-quality working software by the end of each two-week sprint. This includes providing constructive feedback in their pull requests and helping solve software implementation problems.

I also lead technical solution designs with the entire team and am a sounding board for anything tech-related. I work closely with our team’s product manager and designer to refine stories, come up with roadmaps and attend meetings with stakeholders. Every once in a while, I get the opportunity to scratch that programming itch by committing code. It’s usually small tasks that aren’t deadline-driven, but are tasks I can take off my team’s plate so they can focus on providing value to our clients.

 

What makes a good engineering manager?

Building trust. You need to build psychological safety and trust on both sides of the relationship through conversation and open feedback. Once both parties have trust in each other, everything else will fall into place.

Being able to communicate technical direction to both technical and non-technical stakeholders is a must. You need to have the technical chops to be able to design solutions and provide technical guidance to your team, as well as be able to articulate reasons and timelines to product managers and other stakeholders that aren’t in the details each day.

Lastly, it’s important to have fun! Bringing a sense of humor and camaraderie to the team allows for good relationships and communication to flourish. Make sure to champion your team internally and externally by celebrating their victories.

 

Bullhorn

Tanvi Gadre

SOFTWARE DEVELOPMENT MANAGER

Bullhorn provides recruiting software to more than 10,000 staffing companies. To manage her direct reports, Software Development Manager Tanvi Gadre is passionate about their success and career development. Creating clear processes doesn’t hurt either.

 

Tell us briefly about your professional background. How did you become an engineering manager? 

I joined Bullhorn as an entry-level software developer in 2013. Over time, I gained a lot of core product knowledge and learned how to tackle different challenges that we face every day. The people I work with truly inspired me to strive harder and solve problems by utilizing interdepartmental communication. 

 

What makes a good engineering manager? 

Passion for seeing your team members be successful in their roles, as well as a knack for developing stable and scalable processes for more efficient execution of R&D goals.

I occasionally have small pockets throughout the day where I get to return to my roots and assist with the actual coding.” 

 

What are your job responsibilities? 

My typical day consists of several meetings, which can involve helping to unblock my teams on their daily tasks, holding one-on-ones with my reports where we discuss current work or career paths, and working closely with the product team to discuss roadmaps. 

We start with short-term sprint goals before turning to long-term planning. I also work with code rollouts and assist in ensuring that releases go out in a timely and accurate fashion. I occasionally have small pockets throughout the day where I get to return to my roots and assist with the actual coding. 

 

Markforged

Bennett Wilson

MECHANICAL ENGINEERING MANAGER

Mechanical Engineering Manager Bennett Wilson started as a CAD specialist before taking on leadership opportunities. Instead of solely focusing on 3D printing at Markforged, he now divides his time into project and people management as well. While no day is the same depending on development cycles, he makes time to ensure he’s providing a safe environment for team members to make mistakes and learn.

 

Tell us briefly about your professional background. How did you become an engineering manager?

For as long as I can recall, I’ve wanted to be a mechanical engineer. I’ve always been a huge CAD (computer-aided design) nerd. Throughout college, I was the go-to CAD guy, and I ended up handling a lot of the systems integration efforts in my group projects. After school, I spent a few years in the robotics space continuing my role as the “CAD guy,” and eventually led the mechanical design efforts of specific subsystems and products. I arrived at Markforged with that same systems-integration mindset and have had the pleasure of watching the team grow from 30 to more than 300 over the past four years. During that time, I’ve had the opportunity to take on additional project management and technical leadership roles.

A good engineering manager creates clarity and gives their team the room to grow and achieve their goals.” 

 

What are your job responsibilities? 

I’ve collected an assortment of responsibilities during my time at Markforged and wear several hats in my role as an engineering manager. I’d split them up into three general categories: technical contribution, project management and people management. I like to start my days early to collect my thoughts and make sure I’m fully prepared for any one-on-ones or meetings I might be leading that day.  

This is also my preferred time for putting my head down and cranking through any specific technical work I have on my plate. The details of the rest of my day can change quite a bit depending on where we are in the current development cycle, but the engineering problems we’re focused on solving are cross-functional by definition and require close collaboration between teams. In broad strokes, the remainder of my day is spent ensuring we have clear direction and alignment between team members. This could mean designing experiments, holding design reviews, reviewing test results or clarifying priorities with the team.

 

What makes a good engineering manager?

A good engineering manager creates clarity and gives their team the room required to grow in their careers and achieve their goals. They are able to explain why something is being done, why you should care about it, how it advances company goals and how it plugs into your personal goals. A good engineering manager will also provide the coverage required for their team to make healthy mistakes. This means trusting one’s team with the autonomy required to succeed and excel in their roles. It also means lending their experience and expertise as required. I’ve always found that the best way to learn is by making mistakes. Doing so in a safe environment provides an excellent mechanism for growth.

 

Dispatch

Winston Wan

ENGINEERING TEAM LEAD

Simplifying home service logistics is no easy task, which is why most engineers at Dispatch wear more than one hat. Engineering Team Lead Winston Wan doubles as a team lead and manager, contributing to the engineering projects while ensuring his team feels supported. He said over-communication and flexibility allow his team to “row together.”

 

Tell us briefly about your professional background. How did you become an engineering manager?

Before coming to Dispatch, I was a full-stack developer for a combined seven years with three different companies. I had the fortunate experience of starting after college at a company with several thousand employees, then moved to a company with around 1,200 employees. Most recently, I joined a company as the 10th employee. Exposure to a wide variety of engineering organizations helped me adapt to the fast-paced culture at Dispatch, and gave me some good perspective on how to be a good team player. I think my willingness to communicate across teams and take initiative when necessary helped the team decide to make me a new manager when the opportunity arose.

 

What are your job responsibilities? 

At Dispatch, we have a number of team leads who double as engineering managers for their respective small teams. We continue to spend most of our hours as individual contributors, but have the added responsibility of making sure our team members feel supported, have direction in terms of sprint goals, understand the business initiatives behind those sprint goals and are learning the skills they need to deliver on those goals. A typical day starts with a stand-up, then I might review some code reviews that have been submitted over the last day. There might be one meeting to sync with the other team leads, or a meeting to plan the next project. For the most part, I am able to spend the majority of the day as a code contributor. I usually end my day with code reviews and follow-ups on conversations, so my teammates can stay as unblocked as possible.

Part of being a manager is being a conduit for information.”

 

What makes a good engineering manager?

Due to the ever-changing landscape of an engineering team at a startup, communication and flexibility are two qualities that I'd specifically identify in good engineering managers. Part of being a manager is being a conduit for information, so clear and powerful communication is important to make sure the team is rowing together. 

Secondly, flexibility is critical in a fast-paced environment because technologies, patterns and even business decisions that might once have been true can quickly fall out of date. The ability to adapt and see different points of view helps teams align, focus and stay effective.

 

WhiteSource

Yossi Weinberg

RESEARCH AND DEVELOPMENT MANAGER

WhiteSource allows companies to develop software faster by harnessing the power of open source. After four years with the company, Research and Development Manager Yossi Weinberg moved into a management position. In this role, he focuses on high-level problems while still remaining deeply technical. He said it’s imperative to know how to manage challenges and offer solutions. 

 

Tell us briefly about your professional background. How did you become an engineering manager?

I started in QA with a desire to become a developer, and within a year I managed to do exactly that. After working for three years as a developer and growing my skills along with the company, I was promoted to a manager. I am about to start my fourth year as such.

You need to think high-level while still being technical.” 

 

What are your job responsibilities? 

A typical day as an engineering manager involves keeping track of all the projects and their priorities to make sure that the most important tasks are moving forward. I also plan ahead for the entire team to ensure everyone has enough load but not too much. Sitting with the team to help them overcome obstacles is another key responsibility. Finally, I contain emergencies and sometimes even do hands-on tasks.

 

What makes a good engineering manager?

To be a good engineering manager, you need to think high-level while still being technical. You also need to take responsibility and manage problem-solving while always looking for ways to prevent the same problems from happening again by setting defined workflows in place. You need to plan for the future, yet know when to let go.

 

RetailMeNot

Ani Chan

ENGINEERING MANAGER

Ani Chan found herself an engineering manager at RetailMeNot based on her love of iOS programming and an opportunity to move into management. Chan went from debugging code to debugging a team of engineers, applying the same development principles of problem-solving and feedback to people management. 

 

How did you become an engineering manager?

After graduating from college with my computer science degree, I jumped into the Austin startup scene as a full-stack software engineer before making the move to RetailMeNot. I worked on a number of our back-end systems during the past five years before finding a passion for iOS development. 

As an engineer, I’ve always had an interest in the broader product, focusing on software and organizational processes. When there was a need for an engineering manager on the iOS team, I knew the skills I’d honed in those areas applied to the job. The rest is history.

The same tactics for debugging software apply to debugging teams and projects.”

 

What are your responsibilities on a typical day? 

Every day starts with a daily standup where I’m looking for ways to enable my team to do their jobs with the least amount of friction as possible. But that standup is the only constant in my routine most days.

Sometimes, I’m working with the engineers who report to me in one-on-one meetings, discussing daily items and coaching them through their next career hurdles. Other days, I’m working cross-functionally to set the broader strategy and roadmap for the RetailMeNot app. Some days, I’m sitting with other engineers to review upcoming architecture decisions to assess any dependencies or risk. Or I’m putting on my project manager hat to organize the work we’re planning for the upcoming sprint. Being a manager requires the ability to adapt constantly and manage your time carefully.

 

What makes a good engineering manager?

I don’t think there’s one mold for being a good engineering manager. Having employees who possess diverse strengths means having diverse management styles, all of which are equally effective. However, there are two specific things I value in my job and that I’ve valued in other managers. 

The first is understanding that there is a difference between management and leadership. You can be a manager without being a leader and be a leader without being a manager. The difference is that people need to willingly follow you as a leader. I believe great managers have to be great leaders first and foremost, and that comes from building trust and genuine connections with their teams.

The second is actually something we’re all familiar with as engineers: debugging. A lot of the same tactics for debugging software apply to debugging teams and projects; ask the right questions, challenge your assumptions, think creatively, eliminate possible factors that could be contributing to a bug, add feedback loops, and then assess feedback. The best engineering managers have carried this contributor skill into their leadership careers.

 

Medici

Raleigh Schickel

SENIOR ENGINEERING MANAGER

Schickel worked his way through the engineering leadership ranks at a logistics company before becoming a senior engineering manager at Medici. Experience and mentorship taught him the value of creating a culture of trust within his team by getting to know the people he leads, and managing them without an ego. 

 

How did you become an engineering manager?

My first jobs were at a grocery store and a restaurant, and I found myself in management at both places. My next role was with a local defense contractor and after 10 years, I wanted a change. I ended up at the University of Texas at Austin and graduated with a computer science degree. 

My first software engineering role was with uShip and I had direct reports within a year. I was interested in the role partially because I really like helping and teaching people. I also thought it would allow me to be valuable to the organization while I grew as an engineer. I’m thankful to have had great mentors in Nick Parker and Andy Michaelis to help me navigate those early days.

Having patience is important because people don’t have unit tests.”

 

What are your responsibilities on a typical day? 

I wear lots of hats in my role. In the mornings, I act as a scrum master for a feature team and as a product manager on a more technical team. After stand-ups, I have a few one-on-ones with remote team members. The afternoons bring one-on-ones with local team members — walking if the weather is nice — and taking action on anything the team needs from me. If there is time, I focus on strategic things such as quarterly goals, impactful technical initiatives or how to help the team at large be even better.

 

What makes a good engineering manager?

Build trust. Get to know team members as individuals. Treat them as equals. They’ll return that trust with their best work. Don’t have an ego. A management role is about the team, not the leader. Give praise and take blame. When things go well, it’s because of the work of the team. When things don’t go smoothly, managers should shoulder the blame as their leader.

A manager should always be coaching. People have lots of choices as to where they work. Helping people do the best work of their career and preparing them for their next role, even if it’s at another company, is a differentiator. And having patience is important because people don’t have unit tests.

 

Nielsen Global Connect

Vamsidhar Guntamukkala

VP OF TECHNOLOGY

Part of leading any successful team means ensuring that direct reports feel valued and heard, which motivates them to do their best work. By listening closely and establishing trust, Guntamukkala said managers are able to build a work environment where team members feel safe speaking up and sharing ideas.

 

How did you become an engineering manager?

I joined Nielsen in the summer of 2012 as a software engineer. Prior to becoming vice president of technology, I worked in several engineering roles, such as software lead and principal architect until the summer of 2016. Then I was handpicked for a two-year program in Nielsen geared toward establishing a center of excellence. Once the program ended, I became a director of technology and was promoted to VP in February 2020.

 

What are your responsibilities on a typical day? 

A typical day starts with me joining the daily 15-minute stand-ups for a couple of my teams. However, I cannot join stand-ups for all my teams every day, so I have a “scrum of scrums” call with my leads. I get a report of what was accomplished the day before and what will be worked on that day, as well as notice of any blockers that the team is facing so that I can help unblock them.

For an hour each day, I meet with the core platform architecture team and we try to come up with end-to-end technical solutions for critical program initiatives. 

I try to block a two-hour time window to work solo each day. I will sometimes write performance reviews, work on action items from my one-on-ones, do code reviews, find opportunities to improve processes and read up on best practices. I also attend the tech and product manager program review call with the leadership team where we discuss the status of various programs, key risks and call outs. 

 

What makes a good engineering manager?

Building trust within the team is essential for success, which a good engineering manager can create by showing emotional intelligence and making themselves readily available for questions. Leaders should form personal connections that promote open and honest communication both within the team and with the manager. It is important to listen to anyone and everyone. Employees should be encouraged by managers to bring their insights, experiences and opinions to the table. If the manager has to veto a call or make a different decision, it is important to explain the reasons behind it in order to ensure the trust in the team is intact. 

It is also important to treat the engineers the way they would want to be treated and not the way you would want to be treated. Some of your staff may excel when given specific instructions and tasks, while others may be more free-spirited and enjoy being left to accomplish tasks on their own. Efficient managers should understand these differences and manage their staff accordingly. 

 

Clearcover

Joey Sabani

ENGINEERING MANAGER

Sabani got a taste for leadership working as a restauranteur while attending college. After that experience, he learned the importance of encouraging his team members to chase their goals. 

 

How did you become an engineering manager?

Prior to joining Clearcover, I consulted at organizations to help them build and scale their engineering organizations. The work really embodied parts of personal and organizational growth that I always sought in my career. Eventually, it shaped my understanding of the organizational needs within engineering. 

I’ve worked as a manager throughout my career but not always in engineering. While at university, I opened a restaurant and ran it for a year while maintaining a full credit workload. I learned a lot about building and managing a business that are applicable to any industry. That experience was the turning point that eventually led me down the path to becoming an engineering manager.

 

What are your responsibilities on a typical day? 

My schedule is driven by my responsibilities, so my day-to-day routine changes frequently. I’m an advisor for technical practices and responsibilities within the engineering group as a whole. I work closely with the technical leads of our engineering teams and ensure we are working to build the right thing, the right way, while also pushing our business objectives forward. At Clearcover, this collaboration means building a modern tech stack and designing digital experiences to deliver convenient, reliable and affordable car insurance.

 

What makes a good engineering manager?

In my opinion, good leadership comes by empowering reports to do their job to the best of their ability. Organizations focus on hiring smart, dedicated people and an engineering manager should help expose and highlight those strengths. Managers should continuously work with their team to improve anything that needs development. A good engineering lead exists to help members of their team achieve their professional and personal goals.

 

Reverb

Kyle Crum

DIRECTOR OF ENGINEERING

A major component of any leader’s role is ensuring their direct reports are set up for success by providing them with the resources and departmental connections they need to reach their goals. However, what’s just as important is making sure reports aren’t overburdened with work and can go home at a decent time. Crum keeps these two ideas in mind as he not only opens channels for his team to collaborate with other departments, but also prioritizes giving employees a healthy work-life balance.

 

How did you become an engineering manager?

A decade ago, I took a short break from technology and taught post-secondary students English and civics in Myanmar for just under two years. After getting back into the technology world, I missed the rewards of teaching, like supporting, coaching and advocating for others. 

As a musician, I joined Reverb because I saw an opportunity to work on a tech platform that was making a difference in the lives of musicians and business owners. When Reverb gave me the opportunity to transition from an individual contributor to a manager, it fit perfectly with my passion for developing people.

 

What are your responsibilities on a typical day? 

A typical day for me is primarily spent making sure that people are aligned, including teammates on the product and engineering teams and stakeholders across Reverb. Facilitating this alignment means keeping my ear to the ground and connecting the right people so they can collaborate. 

Another important element of my day is unblocking, which could mean pairing with someone on a technical issue or working through a roadblock with a product manager. The best parts of my day are my one-on-one meetings with team members where we talk through how they’re doing on a personal level and in what areas they may need help, support or advocacy.

 

What makes a good engineering manager? 

I was once told about a military leadership manual that says the job of a leader is two-fold: ensure the success of the mission and maintain the health of the troops. That’s how I view my job. 

First, I have to ensure that our team is productive and doing work that advances our mission to make the world more musical by making it easy to buy and sell musical instruments. Second, I have to make sure that our work environment is a healthy one that offers both a work-life balance and professional development opportunities. An engineering manager doesn’t want to have a team that performs well but feels burned out, and conversely, a team that feels great but isn’t doing their job. There’s a delicate balance that great managers help find and navigate.

 

Relativity

Courtnie Takata-Lee

SOFTWARE ENGINEERING MANAGER

Takata-Lee’s managerial path at Relativity took her from not knowing what a team’s function was, to eventually helping lead release management as a software engineering manager. When she isn’t coordinating product releases with her international team, she said her attention is focused on ensuring her direct reports are happy, empowered and motivated.

 

How did you become an engineering manager?

I spent the majority of my early years as a web developer. Midway through my career, I evolved into a business analyst and later a project manager, which utilized my people skills. At Relativity, I joined the release management team as a project manager. I hadn’t heard of release management, but ended up loving the cadence and continuous improvement aspects of the work. This passion is what led me to manage the team.

 

What are your responsibilities on a typical day? 

I’m responsible for ensuring the delivery and quality of our RelativityOne releases by creating and enforcing deployment and development processes. My job is highly collaborative, so I spend most of my time in meetings with various departments in the organization like engineering, service delivery, content management and support.

My team consists of members in both Chicago and Krakow, Poland. So we sync on status updates and have brainstorming and design sessions in the mornings. When I’m not in meetings, I have one-on-ones with my direct reports and document processes.

 

What makes a good engineering manager?

Putting people first. Ensuring that my direct reports feel valuable, happy and productive is my top priority. It’s also important to give them the autonomy to make decisions and learn from their mistakes. Listen and ask good questions to guide people toward effective actions. It’s also imperative to stay calm through any situation, no matter how big or pressing the situation might be.

 

Cat Digital

Stan George

SOFTWARE ENGINEERING MANAGER

George has almost a decade of experience as an engineering manager, and he can trace his passion for engineering back to hacking old computer monitors to play Pac-Man. Since becoming a people manager at Cat Digital, George said he’s supported his team in a variety of ways, like buying literature to support their learning and implementing daily deadlines to help eliminate their roadblocks.

 

How did you become an engineering manager?

I have loved computers since I was a kid. I was hooked by “Pac-Man” and “Prince of Persia” PC games in middle school. The first computer I got was a used IBM PC XT. The monitor had neon green fonts, and I could not get video games to play on it. That’s where my career of hacking, debugging and troubleshooting began. 

I went on to get a bachelor and master's degree in computer science and I was OK at coding, but eventually people decided I was causing too much trouble and encouraged me to take a management role. I was reluctant at first, but I found I could have a larger impact on the projects that our teams take on as a manager.

 

What are some of the ways you support your team? 

I keep a list of any blockers my team has and work to resolve them before noon. In the afternoons, I have one-on-ones with my team members. I set up story-grooming sessions with product owners and work with product management to determine the priorities of features for the services I own. Hiring requires serious attention, so I also need to be on top of scheduling candidates, setting up interview panels and other related duties related. 

My main goal is to help engineers in their careers. I support the education of my team by buying them books, courses and sending them to conferences. I encourage engineers to write blogs and contribute to open-source projects, and urge them to learn as part of their core work responsibilities.

 

What makes a good engineering manager?

Being available and cheerful. The team should be comfortable approaching me with any kind of issue — like improving a process, getting rid of unnecessary ceremonies or something else — and know that I will address it. I believe a manager should be the first line of defense against bugs and conflicting priorities, and my team needs to know that I have their back. 

 

Jiobit

Makarand Karvekar

SYSTEMS SOFTWARE DIRECTOR

According to Karvekar, a director at Jiobit, getting to know employees better creates increased opportunities for mentorship and facilitating an engineer’s professional and personal growth,. 

“I constantly hone my active listening skills to identify the motivations of each member of my team,” Karvekar said.

 

How did you become an engineering manager?

I began my professional career working with cellular network technology at Motorola and later moved to the mobile division. As a result, I had the unique opportunity to be involved in the rise of today’s advanced mobile phone technology, like the Motorola Razr and Android-based devices. As I expanded my engineering expertise, I also developed an interest in leading teams. So I decided to pursue a part-time engineering management degree through Northwestern. The program gave me exposure to the startup world and after 16 years at Motorola, I joined the embedded engineering team at Jiobit three years ago. 

 

What are your responsibilities on a typical day? 

On a typical day, I interact with other engineers and product managers to deliver projects on our roadmap and solve system issues as they arise. Additionally, I brainstorm design ideas and engineering issues with the team, review customer feedback to develop new feature ideas, and improve software quality with code reviews and automated testing. 

Mentorship is important to me and I try to instill ownership and purpose in everything the team does. But I don’t just leave all of the heavy lifting to them; I regularly contribute to technical tasks as well.

 

What makes a good engineering manager?

Having a strong technical background and the desire to be involved in deeply technical engineering discussions is must. But equally important is a manager’s ability to unlock a team’s full potential and to lead by example and with integrity and respect. I strongly believe that empathy is the key to this balance, and I constantly hone my active listening skills to identify the motivations of each member of my team. Aligning the needs of individuals with the goals of the team as a whole allows me to present effective solutions to problems.

 

Livly

Stephen Farr

SENIOR SOFTWARE ENGINEER AND SQUAD MANAGER

Listening goes a long way in ensuring that direct reports feel supported. Farr noted how important it was to him that his previous managers were attentive to his concerns when he was an engineer. And since becoming a manager at Livly, that is a practice he works to embody within his own team.

 

How did you become an engineering manager?

I’ve spent the majority of my career building Android and iOS applications for companies ranging from Fortune 500 to brand new startups with no users. After working on my first few apps, I got an opportunity to work as a tech lead for a large company. I discovered that I really enjoyed the mentoring and people aspect of the tech lead role as much, if not more, than the tech aspect. This experience eventually led to me moving into the role of engineering manager.

 

What are your responsibilities on a typical day? 

A typical day for me involves wearing a lot of different hats. On most days, I have my own individual contributor tasks to accomplish for our mobile projects. I also ensure that my team has everything they need to succeed, run our weekly one-on-ones and work with the product team to define the technical requirements for our upcoming tasks.

 

What makes a good engineering manager?

I believe a good engineering manager is someone who really listens to their direct reports and doesn’t just wait to talk. In my past, the best engineering managers I’ve had were the ones who listened to my concerns, validated them and worked with me to create a resolution strategy. It takes a lot of practice to break the habit of listening to respond instead of listening to understand.

 

Pampered Chef

Brian Hogan

SOFTWARE ENGINEERING MANAGER

Learning lessons and making mistakes are often a vital part of developing new skills. In Hogan’s early leadership career, he had to learn the importance of taking a people-first rather than a code-driven approach to leadership. Developing cultures of trust and teamwork among his reports was an essential part of how he evolved into the leader he is today at Pampered Chef.

 

How did you become an engineering manager?

When my manager at the time was suddenly asked to lead a project on a different team, we needed to backfill his role quickly. I was presented the opportunity to lead, but I was more of an experienced developer that was given authority and decision-making power than a leader. I struggled in the first several years. Over time, I realized the importance of relationships, collaboration and building trust with my teams. Only after that did I really start to become a true engineering manager.

 

What are some of the ways you support your team? 

My first priority on most days is attending our sprint ceremonies and any one-on-one meetings I have with my team. Besides being aware of what is generally going on, I need to identify where we are hitting roadblocks or facing problems so that I can help coordinate getting us past those issues. 

When all of the needs for my teams are met, I spend most of my time strategizing and looking forward. I define career development and training opportunities tailored toward each developer’s individual goals. 

 

What makes a good engineering manager?

Over the last couple of years, I have also come to appreciate the value of collaboration. We discuss options and figure out the best path forward as a team. That practice has been the most efficient way to get a lot of ideas on the table quickly and to agree on the best one. 

Continuous improvement and learning from mistakes are also important in being successful as an engineering manager. Leaders should strive for themselves and their teams to be better today than they were yesterday.

 

Church Community Builder

Trey Cucco

STAFF DEVELOPER AND MANAGER

Cucco spent around a decade as a developer before becoming a manager. His love of people drove him toward his current management position. For him, a team’s work environment makes a significant difference in how well they operate, and effective managers should ensure their developers feel supported, even when they make mistakes. 

 

Career path: I studied mathematics and computer science at the University of Houston. After graduating, I moved to Dallas and began my career as a professional software engineer. I worked in several disciplines, including web development. In 2012, I co-founded a startup that was acquired by Church Community Builder in 2015. As an extrovert who loves to see people grow, I was interested in management for a while but I was hesitant to move away from my familiar role as an engineer. However, a few months ago, the opportunity arose for me to try managing developers on a part-time basis.

 

A typical day: My primary responsibilities are technical leadership and people development. As a technical leader, I provide architectural oversight and direction and work closely with our product team to plan out future projects. I also serve as a manager for a handful of our development team members. My primary touchpoint with them is regular one-on-one meetings. We work together to identify where they want to grow then figure out how to achieve that growth.

 

Best skills for management: Managers play a large role in creating a safe and accepting environment that promotes developer growth.

Safety means that I can have an off day or make a mistake and still be supported. Being understood and accepted means I can focus on my job and not have to focus on managing my image. To provide these things, a manager must genuinely care about the people they serve. So, I would say the foundation of a good manager is empathy.

 

ezCater

Brian Krzeminski

ENGINEERING MANAGER

Being transparent is an important part of being a manager. Tapping into his decade of management experience, Krzeminski said engineers are more invested in their work when they know why they’re doing it. 

 

Career path: Since graduating from Missouri University of Science and Technology with a degree in computer science, I have been passionate about developing creative software solutions. My first job out of college was writing satellite communications. Then after graduating from the University of Denver with an MBA, I worked for a few larger companies and startups. I also started several of my own businesses.

Coming from the startup world, I learned how to create scrappy, scalable solutions that are adaptable to pivoting product direction. Being an engineering manager allows me to continue to be close to the code while also working with product stakeholders to ensure that the company’s vision is being met in a sustainable and scalable way.

 

A typical day: I make sure that the engineers in my squad have clear direction on their tasks and there are no impediments. I also write code or review pull requests daily. To support releases heading to production and to ensure there is work in the pipeline, I collaborate closely with my product manager and our design and research teams.

I cultivate the growth of individuals on my team by continually fostering an environment where people feel comfortable asking and answering questions. I meet regularly with the other engineering managers to share experiences and improve efficiencies across squads. These meetings are great opportunities to be an advocate for my team to a broader audience that can help the engineers with their career growth.

 

Best skills for management: One trait all leaders should have, regardless of title, is to lead by listening. Engineers should ask, “Why?” If they don’t understand “why” they are working on a task, then they won’t understand the importance of that task. An engineering manager with a strong technical acumen will understand the “why” and help communicate that to the engineers. 

A good engineering manager needs to let exciting projects pass onto the other engineers in the squad. And new managers need to understand that their success is measured at the team level and not with their individual contributions. Lastly, managers should learn from the different perspectives of each engineer to drive growth for the team and generate new, creative solutions for the business. 

 

SpotX

Kelly Morales

SENIOR DIRECTOR OF PROJECT MANAGEMENT

What good is a win if you can’t celebrate it? This idea is one Morales keeps top of mind in her role as a leader. She works to ensure that when her team works hard and is successful, they’re recognized and congratulated.

 

Career path: My professional career started with me taking tech support phone calls from frustrated customers. Although tough at first, this job gave me the chance to learn how the functional pieces of products worked together, and how a customer could be impacted if a product was not working as expected. That experience fueled my curiosity for creating technical products. I worked closely with engineering teams and I found that my real passion was in how all of these moving pieces fit together in order to successfully get a product out the door. So I made the jump into a product management role. 

 

A typical day: A typical day usually includes helping my team members with solving problems or brainstorming through their ideas. I motivate and support my project managers as they contribute to the progress of projects and act as point people to resolve issues.

I also look for ways to improve the processes the PM team uses throughout the project lifecycle, as well as operational improvements within the engineering department. This practice can include improving how we streamline estimating stories across 20 engineering teams or establishing project and engineering communication tactics to keep the business informed.

 

Best skills for management: Being a good engineering manager is about finding the balance between motivating and challenging your team members. Leaders should recognize opportunities for teachable moments but also celebrate victories. Management means honing in on the success of your people and the team as a whole, because recognizing their hard work will drive the ultimate success of the company.

 

CampMinder

Lazar Gintchin

VP OF ENGINEERING

“A manager cannot ignore the fact that people — with feelings and emotions — are not computers,” Gintchin said.

Leaders can’t be successful if they treat their employees like expendable gadgets. Building connections with devs is a key way managers can not only build trust within their teams, but also further motivate employees to deliver real value for the business.

 

Career path: I started my career as a software engineer. For the first 10 years, I did various forms of development: web applications, front end, monolithic systems and others. I also got involved heavily in architecture and systems design and spent a significant amount of time in release management. That work sparked my interest in understanding what makes a software team effective. 

From there, I moved into a hybrid role spanning team manager, enterprise architect and scrum master, while still writing code. That’s how my management career began. Slowly, I stopped writing code and today I focus full time on leading and managing others.

 

A typical day: I focus on a number of areas, including managing people, ensuring timely software delivery, providing overall technical vision and leadership, and nurturing a healthy and collaborative engineering culture. A typical day might include attending several team stand-ups, a few one-on-ones with direct reports, a lunchtime BBQ with the team, a meeting with a potential technology partner and some quiet time to think and plan.

 

Best skills for management: A good engineering manager understands both how the business and an engineering organization operate. They work toward helping the two work in harmony and in service of each other. A group of talented developers plus hard work does not necessarily equal value and their efforts need to be clearly channeled in the right direction. There is a difference between being busy and delivering real value, and a good engineering manager understands this and works toward achieving it.

An effective engineering manager genuinely cares about and makes an effort to connect with engineers, product owners and other stakeholders in a real way. A manager cannot ignore the fact that people — with feelings and emotions — are not computers.

 

Mersive

John Schwab

DIRECTOR OF QUALITY ENGINEERING

For Schwab, moving the engineering team forward means acting as a guiding hand versus the legs doing the work. And part of that guidance involves making sure the personal goals of each developer is understood and that they’re on a path to individual growth.

 

Career path: I started my career as an engineer with a startup designing and building computer numerical control equipment and software. I contributed to engineering tasks, managed the technical support department, supervised software engineers and eventually managed manufacturing operations. 

After moving on from this company after 11 years, I worked for a machine vision company in the Boston area. There, I straddled the fence between engineering machine vision components, building automation, program management and software development management. I eventually moved into an engineering manager role.

 

A typical day: I manage the quality engineering (QE) team as well as a “smokejumper” team that provides rapid response and fixes for escalations from customer issues. I start the day leading bug triage on issues. Then I go to the smokejumper standup where we review outstanding customer issues, discuss possible fixes and assign development tasks to get fast resolutions for our customers. 

I typically spend a few hours in one-on-one meetings with my team, working through tactical issues like release planning and collaborating on strategic QE tasks. If I’m lucky, occasionally I can get my hands dirty digging into a technical problem.

 

Best skills for management: A good engineering manager has to care about the wellbeing of their team members above all else. Managers need to spend time getting to know their employees, helping them advance to the next level professionally and aligning their goals and aspirations with the goals of the company. Since all engineers are different, a good manager needs to be able to understand the needs and strengths of their team members and meet them where they are to help them succeed. 

Engineering managers are still engineers at heart and love to solve problems, but they must be able to do this through others. If I do my job right, my team and company will accomplish their goals.

 

SevenFifty
SEVENFIFTY

SevenFifty

Engineering Manager Yitz Schaffer spends about 60 percent of his day focused on management tasks and the other 40 percent working on process roadmapping and writing code at SevenFifty. After noticing a lack of innovation among software departments at the smaller companies he worked at prior, he decided to pursue a career centered around leadership and strategy development.

 

Tell us briefly about your professional background. How did you become an engineering manager?

I spent five years as a librarian. I was responsible for a college library’s online services and from there transitioned to working as an engineer at small companies focused on software. Over the following few years, I came to see a frequently unmet need for excellence and innovation in how teams of people work together to create software products. So I began studying management. 

My current engineering manager role is a great fit for someone with an engineering background who wants to contribute to the development of the team and its processes.

A good engineering manager figures out ways to help employees find their own way forward.’’

 

What are your job responsibilities? 

In a typical day, I’ll have a weekly one-on-one with a direct report, speak to internal stakeholders about current and upcoming work, do maintenance work on our Ruby on Rails apps and coordinate with folks in our engineering leadership group on strategic initiatives that cut across the engineering teams. 

I use a Trello board to keep track of the many transient one-off issues that come up, as well as longer-running initiatives I’m involved with. The balance of hands-on versus management work varies a lot from day to day, but I average around 60 percent management. 

 

What makes a good engineering manager?

A good engineering manager figures out ways to help employees find their own way forward. They help the team identify and act on potential growth areas in software design and process and ensure a safe and equitable environment for all team members. Their feedback should increase reports’ awareness of the work, themselves and their effect on others.

 

Squarespace
SQUARESPACE

Squarespace

Engineering Manager Aldo Garcia would rather work through a problem with a direct report than chase down a bug. He said that his first couple of months at Squarespace were challenging, in part because he had to balance a growing team and learn new skills. Garcia has since been able to hone his leadership chops, helping his team most effectively support the business.

 

Tell us briefly about your professional background.

I currently manage four teams that build internal applications and data pipelines to help Squarespace be more efficient and data-informed. To me, helping a teammate through a problem is more rewarding than chasing a bug for hours. Growing up in Mexico, I had no idea software engineering, let alone engineering management (EM), was a profession. It wasn’t until high school, when I moved to California, that I started focusing on engineering. 

I attended Cornell and studied electrical and computer engineering. I quickly pivoted away from hardware and started my career as a software engineer at a startup. Joining Squarespace in 2016 and being part of the growth of the engineering team helped me develop leadership skills faster. I became an EM to help my team grow and focus on making company processes more efficient.  

 

What are your job responsibilities? 

I’ve been measuring my time in weeks since I can’t make much progress in a single day. I am responsible for guiding my team in the right direction and am accountable for delivering high-quality projects on time. Monday is a meeting-free day. I use it to plan my week, focus on long-term planning, dig into problems and work on important but not urgent tasks. 

I spend the rest of the week talking with my team in one-on-one meetings, gathering information from customers and stakeholders and working with the leadership team on department and culture goals. 

In between meetings, I look into our projects, read technical documents or chat with my co-workers. My colleagues and I really enjoy discussing a number of topics, including leadership. So, on Wednesday mornings, other EMs and I participate in a book club focused on leadership books. 

You can’t run unit tests on your team or try things out in staging.’’ 

 

What makes a good engineering manager?

You can’t run unit tests on your team or try things out in staging. So you have to be willing to get to know everyone on your team, understand what motivates them and help them grow by providing tailored feedback. 

In engineering, EMs have to continuously learn and adapt since the challenges change over time. A great EM simultaneously cares about people, equity among teammates, and creating an environment where dissent and feedback are cherished and openly discussed.

 

Resy
RESY

Resy

As CTO of Resy Network, it’s Julien Wormser’s job to support direct reports as they gain technical domain expertise and soft-skill development. The former startup co-founder came into the C-suite role circuitously, but with ample management experience.  

 

Tell us briefly about your professional background. 

I started my engineering career at a large tech company where I felt unfulfilled by the marginal impact my contributions were having. I moved on to found a restaurant technology company called Servy, my initial foray into management. Lessons were aplenty throughout my entrepreneurial journey, but none were as impactful as learning the impact and value that a single person can have on an organization. 

I took that appreciation with me when the company was acquired by Resy. At Resy, building best-in-class software and establishing strong relationships with engineers across the organization set me down the engineering management path. 

Excellent engineering managers must be strong communicators.’’ 

 

What are your job responsibilities?

As an engineering manager, my focus expands beyond the keyboard and is centered around making my team as successful as possible. A portion of my day is spent in meetings helping to shape product strategy and the technical direction for my team. 

Listening to each member of my team is the single most important thing I can do. When problems arise, it is my responsibility to help architect solutions and guide my team. Having an ear for procedural inefficiencies and solving problems makes me feel like I am working for my team just as much as they are working for me.

 

What makes a good engineering manager?

Like any team of engineers, a strong engineering manager must possess creativity and a willingness to learn in pursuit of the best solution to a problem. In addition to their technical domain expertise, excellent engineering managers must be strong communicators. Their ability to listen and diagnose both technical and operational challenges enables them to have the broadest positive impact. 

By challenging and empowering each team member, engineering managers foster professional growth, benefiting both the individual and the company. Ultimately, exemplary engineering managers act as their team’s champions, best positioning each employee for success.

 

Tempus
TEMPUS

Tempus

Will Bennett always had a hunch that he was meant for management. But after the Tempus Senior Director of Engineering filled out the “strengths finder” test offered by CliftonStrengths, he knew it was the right path for him. The test identified leadership strengths like “harmony,” a quality Bennett believes lends itself well to driving consensus within a team. Today, he uses both newfound learnings and personal experiences with previous managers to guide him.

 

Tell us briefly about your professional background. 

Every engineering manager remembers making the difficult decision to transition from an individual contributor (IC) to a manager. It’s scary to think about shifting away from the familiar world of programming (and the instant gratification it can sometimes bring) to the world of running a team and prioritizing deliverables. 

Early in my career, my first engineering manager recognized my ability to rally my team and help them release products. What I saw as getting work done, my manager saw as leadership ability. Years later, I jumped at the opportunity to become an engineering manager after my previous manager decided to move on to another role.

While it was scary to make this change at first, I felt good about the decision. I would be leading a team of my peers on an application in a tech stack that I was a subject matter expert in. I read as much as I could on what it would take to become a great manager. I grew my team, ability and role as a hands-on technical leader.

I haven’t looked back since. Managing a technical team has given me a different way to enjoy building software and applications. While I do miss being in the trenches coding every day, I’ve found the technical strategy and growing individuals more rewarding than I could have imagined.

 

What are your job responsibilities? 

It’s nearly impossible to describe a typical day. I plan meetings with the product team, speak to stakeholders and have one-on-ones with individual team members. Scrum ceremony meetings like daily stand-ups, sprint kickoffs and retrospectives allow us to successfully build applications. 

At architecture meetings, we weigh the pros and cons of different approaches to building out certain features. This is one of my favorite things to do, as I can help my team make smart decisions on how to move forward with a design based on personal experience.

Because most of this management work involves collaboration, it ultimately means that each day is filled with meetings, making it difficult to carve out time for myself and specific tasks. To get around this, I try to block off the mornings and evenings in my calendar. With that time in place, I make it a goal to wrap up everything that I set out to do in hopes that I’ll be ready for what’s ahead.

Engineering managers should always be learning.’’

 

What makes a good engineering manager?

Always be adapting and learning. When I first became an engineering manager, I tried to lead by example. Over time, as my team and responsibilities grew, my management style shifted to more of a “bring me solutions” approach. Owning multiple teams and platforms means that I need to rely more on my team to solve problems for themselves, as I’m not always readily available. This approach not only helps me do more, but also enables my team to grow. 

Engineering managers should always be learning. In the tech industry, new tools, processes and ideas are always popping up. If you don’t try to keep up and embrace some of these things, the industry has a good chance of passing you by. While I try to read up on my own, I also create the right forums for my team. 

This leads me to the most important managerial skill: cultivating listening skills. Listen to learn and understand each team member. Doing so builds trust and makes the team more effective as a whole.

 

Quantcast
QUANTCAST

Quantcast

In his role as senior engineering manager at Quantcast, Sean Kelly has received feedback that he used to ask team members for status updates too often. Since then, he’s worked with direct reports to find other ways to check in on project statuses: tickets, monitoring, deployment logs and PRs. This adjustment shows that Kelly trusts his engineers to perform.

 

Kelly’s professional background: I have a business school background and became an engineer at a small startup through necessity. The startup was acquired by Quantcast and I became a tech lead. I was excited to align a group of us toward a common goal. I realized that I enjoyed orchestrating the team's success more than writing code, so I worked with my boss to identify management expectations. I siphoned additional responsibilities while demonstrating I could still execute on my deliverables as an engineer. Eventually, a business need arose and I was assigned two direct reports.

His typical day: A typical day starts with some self-focused time to respond to dangling emails or Slack threads, read new design documents, review code and generally reflect on the state of the team. Later in the morning, I'll lead a daily stand-up to learn about status and blockers from team members. My focus is on helping team members remove friction. This may involve walking through a tricky piece of code or getting feedback from product managers to understand what to build next.

I offer coaching, mentoring and encouragement when they need it and fade to the background when they don’t.’’  

 

What makes a good engineering manager?

Right before I became an engineering manager, a veteran engineering manager told me, “You will only go as far as your team takes you.” I’ve taken these words to heart by trying to create an environment for team members to be successful. I offer coaching, mentoring and encouragement when they need it and fade to the background when they don’t. 

 

Zipwhip
ZIPWHIP

Zipwhip

At Zipwhip, Khang Nguyen holds a number of positions. He’s a software engineering manager and is on the onboarding and account management team. Nguyen came to Zipwhip after more than eight years leading developers at Texas Instruments. He considers good engineering managers people who allow their teams to make mistakes in safe spaces so that they can learn and move on. 

 

Nguyen’s professional background: I started my career as a software engineer at a semiconductor company developing online tools for circuit design. Our organization expanded rapidly and I was given the opportunity to lead a new team that was in formation. I’ve taken these skills to Zipwhip, where I am currently leading a team of engineers developing internal and customer-facing software applications.  

His typical day: I’m responsible for driving the development of new products and features from concept to production. This includes working with the product and marketing teams to determine requirements, overseeing project execution and delivering the results to customers. On a typical day, I dedicate time for one-on-one meetings with my team members, facilitate collaboration meetings with other teams, participate in technical discussions and plan ahead for future projects and growth opportunities.

Good engineering managers inspire their teams to become better.’’

 

What makes a good engineering manager?

Good engineering managers inspire their teams to become better. They facilitate continuous growth by giving them a safe space to make mistakes, learn and improve over time. They have genuine empathy for their team members. They care about their employees as human beings and create an environment that motivates them to perform at their highest potential. Engineers are hungry for clarity and want to know that their effort will produce clear and impactful results. Good engineering managers frequently think ahead to resolve potential roadblocks. They provide clarity regarding what it means to be successful.

 

Blink Health
BLINK HEALTH

Blink Health

When An An Tran made the transition from technical program manager to engineering manager at Amazon, it was easier than initially expected. She said that people became her projects and helping her team reach their personal goals became her milestones. As a current engineering manager at Blink Health, Tran trusts her team to deliver on commitments however they best see fit. 

Tran’s professional background: I started my career as a software engineer. I benefited from having strong technical program managers (TPM) as role models. Once I entered that role myself, I was able to lead teams and mentor junior engineers. I partnered with the engineering managers on my team to plan projects for career development and ensure direct reports had ample opportunities for growth. I was asked to formally manage at multiple points in my career, but I had aspirations of becoming a tech principal at Amazon. Once I reached principal TPM, I decided the time was right to take on a managerial role. 

Her typical day: A typical day at Blink Health starts with reviewing metrics from the day before and discussing what’s in store during stand-ups. Do our customers enjoy our product? What can we do to support them? Much of my day involves unblocking teammates and their projects, whiteboarding ideas and helping engineers come to design decisions. The rest is focused on thinking about how to make prices affordable and transparent to patients because the best medication is one they can afford. 

I like to foster an environment of continuous learning.’’  

 

What makes a good engineering manager? 

One of Blink Health’s first principles is “humans first.” Good engineering managers are active listeners, taking into account people’s strengths, motivators and interests to pair them with assignments that require them to stretch a little. I like to foster an environment of continuous learning. Being a good engineering manager means providing timely feedback and being candid with your team about both positive and negative issues. Don’t be afraid to show humility. Stand by your team and be fearless. 

 

Karat
KARAT

Karat

Wenholz comes to work every day ready to solve a problem he can relate to: improving subpar technical interviews. Wenholz said that successful engineering managers create a sense of purpose for their team, providing them with resources to align business and departmental goals. 

 

Wenholz’s professional background: I started my career at Amazon on a small team in reverse logistics. Then I went to Google to work on cloud products. During that time, I realized I wanted exposure to a wider range of software engineering experiences and started looking for opportunities at smaller companies. I had also just gone through Google’s interviewer training and was conducting a lot of technical interviews. Even at a company like Google, I saw how broken the interview process was. Karat’s mission to make technical interviews more predictive, fair and enjoyable really spoke to me. So I joined as a senior software engineer and transitioned into engineering manager about a year ago.

His typical day: My job is to make sure my team is successful. I spend time aligning our engineering projects with the company’s business goals. Then I work on removing any issues so my engineers can do what they do best. For example, we have a strong senior software engineer who likes digging into the hardest technical problems and does well without too much direction. So, we looked at our product roadmap and gave him a project spanning a couple of months. We set him up with the support he needed and then let him run with it. I was there to make sure he was properly resourced and to remove blockers as they came up.

I spend time aligning our engineering projects with the company’s business goals.’’  

 

What makes a good engineering manager?

Good engineering managers create a sense of purpose and mission for the team. Luckily at Karat, the mission is clear. Every engineer I know has experienced at least one terrible technical interview over their career, so we’re solving a problem we can all relate to. This helps keep the team excited about the work we’re doing. I also strive to get to know my team and build trust so I can map to the growth and opportunities they’re looking for.

 

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