My last public speaking event was about building career paths for developers. I was talking on Krakow .NET Developers Group so on the audience there were mainly developers (more than 60%) and the rest were people from related positions. During the presentation I run a little poll with two questions:
1. What role you’re fulfilling now?
2. What role you’d like to fulfill 5 years from now?
Although I had some guesses where the results can go I was curious to see the answers. My guesses were:
• Most popular choices for developer will be team manager (most likely program manager) or architect.
• There will be very low number of developers who want to choose business path.
• There will be reasonably low percentage of developers who want to keep the position if 5 years of time.
The results have been a bit different. The most popular path of career for developers was a role of designer/architect chosen by one fourth of them. On the other hand only 6% wanted to choose vertical career path with team manager role as a goal.
25% of currently active developers wanted to stay with developer/lead developer role. That’s more than I expected, although I think less that it should be. I think there’s quite big, and still growing, number of positions for experienced developers, but that’s the subject for a separate post.
It was close to 20% of developers who want to go into consultancy path. None of them has chosen clearly business position, although project managers (13%) or analyst (6%) are positions joining both worlds: technical and business.
Including all who answered the poll definitely the architecture path is the most wanted with 31% choosing the role of designer or architect. And all of architects in the room wanted to stay on that position. I guess that’s another interesting thing to write about a bit more.
12% of people would like to establish their own company and I think it’s quite high percentage. Although people like Paul Graham strongly encourage you to start a startup I still think it requires guts to do that.
Another interesting thing is a list of positions which people want to keep. As I mentioned architects leads here, enjoying what they do. One third of team mangers and a quarter of developers are also on the list.
A thing which drawn my attention was that none of project managers wanted to keep position, although there were some fresh blood expecting to take over the project management role. I think that’s a confirmation of the fact that project management is hard work and it burns people out.
Generally most people expect to develop their careers – only a bit more than a quarter wanted to keep the same or similar role in 5 years from now. However, from my observations I see colleagues consciously managing their careers rather rarely. They either tend to sit safely wherever we are and wait for a miracle or make a lot of different incoherent decisions moving them anywhere but forward. The middle filled with those who plan their careers isn’t very numerous. That’s why I think the subject of the presentation was a good idea. How was the presentation itself I still don’t know – I haven’t received evaluation results yet.