Getting started as an engineering manager

Written on May 30, 2023

When my daughter was 2 years old, we would read a book titled Twinkle, Twinkle, Little Star. The book was a picture book version of the nursery rhyme.

And each time I started reading, she would giggle, cover my mouth and yell, “I could do it”–signaling to me that she could “sing” it herself.

She then proceeded to recite a few words in the book until she was wrong. I would then correct her and then she would continue after gaining enough confidence to continue on her own.

For which she would again place her little hand over my mouth and yell, “I could do it”, before proceeding to “read” from the book.

I like to believe, her (over?)confidence comes from me.

Being able to run into situations before fully knowing all the things that are required of the situation.

That’s how I got started as an engineering manager.

I saw what a good manager looked like and then when an opportunity arose to become a manager myself, I took the chance. No classes or track into management, I just jumped right in.

I didn’t worry about all the details that being a manager might entail. I knew enough of what a good manager looked like and thought, I could do it too.

Did I always succeed?

Of course not. Just like my daughter, I knew enough, then I’d slur or hum the areas I didn’t know, until I was corrected and had the confidence again to keep on going.

If you’ve been considering becoming a manager and an opportunity presents itself, you might be more ready than you believe.

An attitude towards, “I can do it” and giving it your best shot is all you need to get started.

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