Manager Who Codes vs Developer Team Lead

Personal branding is deceptively effective in many cases.

The difference is skills between a manager who codes and a developer team lead is negligible.  In many cases you could say they are job titles that describe the same role in a company and yet from a HR and status point of view they are very different.

If you’re getting hired into a position having presented yourself as management material with the bonus of having technical skills then you get lobbed easy questions in a relaxed setting (usually).  The hiring decision is based more on fuzzy “I liked her” type of gut reactions than any type of objective assessment of skills.  With this initial staging you are more likely to be treated as an equal with other “higher status” management employees.  And any technical skills you have will be treated as a bonus.

Brand yourself as a developer with team lead experience and you will get a barrage of technical questions.  A high stress examination of how well you know obscure algorithms, or specific programming language APIs. In this case any holes in your knowledge will be assessed as negatives.

The difference in hiring practices between these two roles is night and day.

With this admittedly specific and anecdotal comparison it would be interesting to see just how real and widespread this effect can be.

In my experience there seems to be a causal relation between what you internally believe your self worth to be, and the employment positions you get.  A strong personal brand comes out naturally when you have the confidence to tackle a “higher status” role.

If there’s a lesson here it’s this:

Position yourself for the future you want to have and there’s a better chance you’ll get it.