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Most engineers are faced with the choice to switch to management at some point in their careers. Changing to Engineering Management (EM) or sticking with an Individual Contributor (IC) role feels like a black-and-white decision, and people often feel pressure to pick one or the other. Instead, there is a less well-known hybrid role at many companies: the Tech Lead Manager (TLM) role.1
The responsibilities of the TLM role can be fuzzy and include a mix of people management, technical leadership, and individual contributions. Let’s take a look at common EM and IC responsibilities:
Also sometimes ambiguously referred to as “Staff Engineering Manager”. ↩