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Individual Contributor or Manager: Navigating Your Career
Here’s the question everyone has in mind:
Is it wise to stay in an Individual Contributor (IC) role for long?
Or should you move into a managerial position?
The IC's Dilemma
Many folks come across this vital career crossroads.
The natural career path and next step to IC would be management.
But is that the only route to success?
The Benefits of Staying an IC
If you love hands-on, customer-facing work, remaining an IC has its merits:
Tech Expert: As an IC, you can become a technical expert, valued for your know-how.
Flexibility: You have more freedom in how you tackle your tasks.
Decent Money: Surprisingly, ICs can earn as much as, if not more than, managers, especially in roles rewarding high performance.
Stability: ICs might have better job security (although there is no such thing as job security - see all the layoffs) since middle managers are the first to get the axe during tough times.
Personal Joy: If you genuinely enjoy customer interactions, staying an IC could be very fulfilling.
“Love The CS Cafe! It’s my source of inspiration.”
—Shannon, Premium subscriber.
The Managerial Path
On the other side, management roles offer:
Leadership Skills: Managers get more leadership experience.
Bigger Picture: They are often involved in high-level discussions and strategy.
Career Progression: Managers can climb the corporate ladder faster.
Team Building: They get to build and lead teams, accelerating their professional growth.
A Middle Ground
You can also negotiate for a title that reflects your experience without becoming a full-time manager.
What to Consider
When deciding, think about:
Happiness: Do what makes you happy. Job satisfaction is critical.
Company Culture: See if your organization values and supports ICs.
Financial Goals: Consider your income and lifestyle goals.
Networking: Build a strong professional network for guidance and support.
And That’s it.
One thing I always say is:
On your current job, you should either learn or earn.
Having both is better. But if it’s neither, quit.
Stay tuned for more career insights in future editions.
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