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If they did it on Facebook messenger like "FacePee" one day or another the world knows every babies pee history and not to mention the constant surveillance of the baby's diaper by Facebook to train it's AI for predicting when the baby is about to pee.
As a technical person, do you prefer to report to a technical or non-technical manager?
I have had good and bad experiences with both.
On the up, I appreciate the freedom and trust extended by good non-technical managers, as well as the guidance from good technical managers.
On the down, some non-technical managers try too hard to be involved in the detail and often make bad calls based on their insufficient understanding of a problem or situation. I found that technical managers, on the other hand, can be very authoritarian, really just giving commands, these are often the ones who have the highest staff turnover (among coders) as well.
From my experience, I prefer reporting to non-technical managers. I found that the technical know-how and guidance I used to seek from technical seniors is mostly available from any diverse group of peers and juniors, each with unique interests and strengths.
Whichever you prefer, I'd like to share this snippet:
...and ask for a moment of silence for the IT people who work for this company. It's a month-old interview with the "Chief Officer for Digital and IT" of SARS (South Africa's revenue collection services).
worst are the managers that believe they are technical by preceived right or/and rite....
- previously technical themselves (once were programmers) but not kept themselves updated,
- those that come from a different side (i.e once were operators now in charge of software dev)
- those that were never technical but have been in the job so long believe they know it all/seen it before
the last far too often in small companies - they are a part owner or relative / best friend of an owner... these are the jobs that sound good "warm, friendly company" but 100% dead ends. i.e. if your boss is the owner how can you ever get promoted or even a good increment/bonus [short of marrying the bosses daughter/son].
I've worked for some managers who knew programming, but not enough (anymore) to actually participate with the team.
Luckily, they understood their knowledge was outdated and they respected my technical superiority.
The plus is that they understood that a "small" change could take hours or even days.
They also knew how important it was to keep code maintainable and technical debt to a minimum, so you'd get some time to fix that now and then.
On occasion I could even ask them for their opinion on some technical problem and they'd come up with good ideas (or at least ideas that sparked the good ideas in me )
One of those managers also maintained legacy apps that he once wrote, which was cool, except...
He developed and tested on production environments, which wasn't such a big deal as you'd expect, except that I was in charge of keeping databases in sync, which is pretty much impossible if both are ahead of each other
Of course he kept doing that because he'd "always done it like that."
I currently have a non-technical manager (and a non-common sense manager at that) who just threw three extra developers in the team because we had to work faster (I've never got less work done than the past few weeks)...
The problem, however, was not that we had too few developers, but the constantly changing specs and priorities that he sets
who just threw three extra developers in the team because we had to work faster
Been there, work is not getting done fast enough, so they add more developers, juniors at that. Though I don't mind taking-on and onboarding new people, it had the opposite effect and made the team even less productive in the short run.
This is where having a technical manager pays off. Having been promoted from a Senior Engineer position into management I know enough to ask the team what they need to hit a deadline rather than assuming I know. I am also a vocal advocate for the guys that work with me as I know what having a useless manager is like.
One of the best things from my point of view though is that the teams that I work with are using a technology stack I am unfamiliar with, so while I can give broad direction or listen to technical discussions and make intelligent comments, I do not feel the need to put my oversized management paws into the code.