One of my friends who used to be my manager for some time once told a joke about me as a manger: “Pawel was a mediocre developer so we made him a manager.”
Basically, he was right.
I can’t say I was a great engineer. I can’t even say I was a candidate for one. This made my choice way easier. It was even easier when I realized I really like managing people. It makes me genuinely happy to see happy people and work done at the same time.
And yes, I sacrificed any technical expertise I had since I wasn’t able to catch up. I chose to spend any free time I had at work to learn to be a better manager than to keep my average technical skills.
This is the way it works. You can’t do both.
I’m happy with my choice. People I worked with in the past are willing to join me in my new teams so I guess I do a decent job as a people manager. I can’t say for sure what kind of engineer I would be but I believe I made the right decision.
When you make your own it would better be good since after some there’s no way back. The gap becomes too wide and you can’t just jump back.