Elliott Chen logo single outlinedElliott Chen logo solidElliott Chen logo text

About Engineering Manager

by Elliott Chen, an observer

I used to firmly believe that a manager had to be a tech whiz, no questions asked. But you know what? My perspective has shifted, and I've got a juicy explanation for you.

Most of us engineers, and I count myself among them, tend to be introverted folks. Being introverted can shape how we act and think. So, when engineers climb up the ladder to become managers, those introverted tendencies often stick around, and that can lead to quite a few headaches.

Picture this: you're steering the ship with a team of more than ten engineers in a big corporation. Here's the catch: you're going to bump into both tech-savvy and tech-not-so-savvy managers on your journey. That raises a burning question: who should get the captain's hat and lead the team? The truth is, finding someone who's a champ in both tech wizardry and bossing people around is as rare as finding a unicorn.

Now, here's where it gets spicy. In the corporate circus, technical skills might not always be the star of the show. Instead, having rock-solid people skills and the knack for dealing with the not-so-glamorous parts of management could be the real show-stealer.

So, here's the controversial twist: a top-notch engineering manager might just be someone willing to roll up their sleeves and dive into the nitty-gritty stuff that engineers usually avoid. It's not just about knowing your tech stuff; it's about being a wizard at smoothing out team issues and building those all-important connections.

Take, for instance, a team leader who's brilliant at coding but can't communicate to save their life. They might write code that's a work of art, but if they can't explain it or work with others, it's like composing a masterpiece and keeping it locked in a vault. In the long run, the manager who can rally the troops, even if they're not the tech guru, might be the one who leads the team to victory.


Indeed, in the real world, the most crucial aspect of a manager's role is their ability to deliver on their promises.

More articles

ui = f(data)(state)

What UI means to when functional programming comes in.

Read more

Consistently bad is better than inconsistently good

Ultimately, the quintessential quality that defines a stellar engineer is unquestionably consistency.

Read more

Let’s talk.

My location

  • Elliott Chen | Studio
    Pudong APT #213
    Shanghai, China