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Do you prefer a non technical manager or a manager that thinks they understand what you are doing?

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  • 2
    Depending on what you mean by 'thinks', but probably the second one.

    Even if the manager doesn't understand all the quirks, but gets the overall scope of what you do, that's the manager who will know that your work is not just touch of the magic, and it's done.
  • 1
    Agree, this depends highly on the specifics. For example, I'd prefer a non-technical manager who realizes he doesn't know shit over a manager who played with QuickBASIC in the eighties and now believes he can tell me "this isn't hard, you can do it in a day" or something.
  • 3
    The latter, I've had both and the ones that don't have technical knowledge will often ask you to do something that doesn't make sense.

    One manager asked me to write Unit Tests using JUnit for a third party application and I ended up getting in trouble because that's not possible if I don't have the source code.

    The other manager can actually help with technical issues and can filter the BS. If a manager isn't technical then they can't really do their job. The manager is the filter and you're the coffee pot. If they don't filter out the grounds, then you get everything and you don't have the title to filter it out.
  • 2
    @SonByrne "If a manager isn't technical then they can't really do their job"

    While a manager with a technical background may help, saying they can't do their job without it goes too far. Technical details aren't the manager's job, it's yours as the dev. You're literally the hired expert for them.

    In any case managers need to trust their experts. Managers demanding nonsense against their expert's assessment is a separate issue, and even an independent one: I've had managers with a technical background give absolute bullshit orders.
  • 2
    @VaderNT I was just going off of the assumption that when he said non-technical he mean't 'zero technical knowledge'.

    I understand what you mean about hiring and having experts that you listen to under your management, but in most cases not everyone is an expert and it seems like a lot of non-technical managers act like they have technical knowledge that the don't.

    Those with even a little technical background seem to better understand that they don't know everything and are more likely to listen to their experts.

    In my situation, I was in an entry level role and my manager just didn't believe me at that point. It basically got to the point where all of my 1 on 1s were just this person finding problems with everything I did.
  • 0
    @SonByrne very true. When their job includes bringing new devs up to speed, managers better know their stuff.
    Personally, I'd prefers devs teach devs, but that's not always possible.

    And your manager sounds like an ass, technical background or not. I had one of these, too. Always finding something to gripe about, under the guise of "I just want to help you grow".
  • 0
    I prefer a technical manager when implementing projects with the assumption they can help glue together the team better because they understand the progression of the project. But they don't necessarily have to be technical if they can trust what the experts say and help defend it against the client. Sometimes you get a manager who doesn't pushback with client requests and it's just depressing because the experts get the burden to do the work.
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