Becoming an Engineering Manager

Like many others, I began my career as a Junior Engineer, moved after several years to being a Mid-Level Engineer and then Senior Engineer. As the scope of my role grew, I started mentoring my teammates and really enjoyed sharing my experience and knowledge of software best practices. I also had the opportunity to mentor undergrads during their placement year at university.

Within this small firm, I progressed to Team Lead – which meant that I was still writing code but had the added responsibilities of mentoring the team of engineers, keeping track of the project delivery and dealing with a lot of aspects of the project management process.

At this point in my career, I joined Compare the Market as a Senior Software Engineer. From the moment I joined the company, I got to know the framework of the software services and all the systems, and I was tasked with mentoring a Junior Engineer straight out of uni. Once again, I really enjoyed being able to guide and influence the success of others.

As the team grew and the engineers matured in their skills and abilities, I moved more into a role of looking at what we were being asked to create and providing solutions to achieve these goals. This meant that I was having to share these solutions with both the stakeholders and the engineers, and here I had to hone my communication skills with the ability to deliver to different audiences.

As part of the role, I’d also be challenged with looking at future projects and building these into the architecture of the services. This would often be in collaboration with other teams within the company, so I needed to take their needs into consideration too.

But after a while, you have to think to yourself, what next?

For me, the next logical step was either Staff Engineer, where I’d grow my technical scope to impact a wider part of the company, or Engineering Manager, where I could transition my influence from an individual level to a team level.

Both roles appealed to my nature but when it came down to it, the fundamental question remained, ‘What makes me want to come to work in the morning?’. I really enjoy working in a team, building a strong culture and team spirit, having the opportunity to create a new feature and iterate on it with others whilst helping people to grow and fulfil their potential.

“When the opportunity to become an Engineering Manager within the company arose, I applied for the position and all of the skills I’d honed as an engineer were needed in the role – communication, problem-solving, big-picture thinking, collaboration, mentoring and delegation.”

Michael Kitchen

Engineering Manager | Tech

And now, here I am! I have more meetings in my day than ever before, but I still have the sense of achievement when the engineers complete a new feature that is delivered to the customers. I am proud when an engineer feels that they have improved, and I am happy to be leading a team of people that want to make things better for our customers every day.


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