Nowadays, in most IT production companies lies the building blocks called the in-house programmers (although some has been known to hire outside help to meet certain deadlines). They are basically chefs of the company, creating lines and lines of programming code to be later compiled and shipped as that company’s product to the masses. However, there are some individuals who lead the programming team and is in charge of progress reports, meeting with higher-ups, and especially managing the outline work and time tables of programmers to meet deadlines. Enter: project managers.
Project Managers , More Like: Slave Drivers (?)
As the name implies, a project manager manages the flow of a current project. They are team leaders, and also managers. They have good management skills. As Jon Jenkins, the head of Pinterest engineering said :
…What happens if you are on a project and you are under a ton of stress, the deadline is approaching, you don’t know if you are going to make it. If you’re instinct is to say “oh, i just need some time and I just code this maybe I can finish this off”, or to say “I’m going to have to figure out how to split up this work and parcel it among the team, maybe we can finish this off”. If you’re answer is the first one, I don’t think you have what it takes to become a good manager.
Yes, I know my quoting skill horrible, you can watch the full video about him in techcrunch’s video here.
Anyway, in order to become an exceptional project manager, we must be good managers, but we must also be able to connect and collaborate with a team of people, because that is also another job that a project manager must do.
Lets get to the point, should I become a programmer or a project manager?
As much as I like to play the zen master and give out good advice, that answer is up to you. Don’t get me wrong, there are numerous high paying programming jobs available out there if you are just willing to search for it. However, like what I experience in my Uni, being a programmer is not something everyone with a computer science degree can do. Some of my friends and colleagues, including myself, prefer jobs or project where we manage the team in a programming task.
But, that may be just my excuse of not being THAT much of an all-knowing, all-can-do, programmer. Or it may be the social part of me that prefers to collaborate, connect, and build teams to fight boss-level enemy-like jobs thrown at us…