Why would companies ever hire a manager from a non-tech background, at least for managing engineers? After reading @IAmNotARobot's latest rant I just have to ask because it makes absolutely no sense to me. Surely non-tech people should be reserved for managing non-tech roles like sales, HR, and maaaaybe team leads, right? How can you manage someone if you don't understand anything of what they do?

  • 5
    I think it is generally a bad idea that any manager of any type not having experience doing the grunt work ... but it also depends on what we imagine that manager is doing. Also doing grunt work doesn't mean that 5 minutes after you stop doing it that you don't go completely stupid (seen that happen).

    I've been in situations where non technical managers did a good job, BUT it takes some special skills on their part in terms of self control, and the technical aspects of their role were delegated to others.

    It really depends on the org, in some orgs the 'manager' really is just managing humans and deadlines / not the arbiter of technical decisions.... in such cases it 'can' work.

    I also feel the need to note that I've seen departments turn into absolute trash when they INSISTED that the managers be promoted from the technical staff too.... good coders turned into absolute shit managers.... there's no sure thing the other way... sadly.
  • 3
    @N00bPancakes Totally agree, all these bad manager stories are always about overstepping boundaries, either by not delegating decisions you're clueless about or trying to micromanage everything.

    And yeah, insisting on promoting engineers who aren't cut out for management also sounds stupid. My current company has a mix of promoted-from-engineer and hired-directly managers, but I haven't run into a single one that has final say over anything technical that doesn't have at least a bachelor's in the field.
  • 0
    You can manage if you don't understand it.

    But you'll need to admit that you have no clue and be open about it.

    Form a quorum of 3 people, listen to them, moderate instead of manage, don't push your own agenda.

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